Surrogacy: What You Need to Know

New father who used surrogacy to achieve parenthood.

Surrogacy: What You Need to Know

Use of a gestational carrier (GC), sometimes called surrogacy,  utilizes in vitro fertilization (IVF) for couples or individuals who are unable to carry a pregnancy or carry a pregnancy safely to term.

Intended parents use their own sperm and eggs (or donated sperm and eggs) to create an embryo that is transferred to the GC’s uterus. The resulting child is genetically related to the intended parents (or donors) and is not genetically related to the gestational carrier.

Benefits of Using a Gestational Carrier Surrogate

  • A GC allows those who would otherwise be unable to carry a pregnancy to have (potentially) biological children and experience parenthood from the earliest stages.
  • In many cases, using a gestational carrier allows one or both parents to be biologically/genetically related to their child.
  • Often when using a gestational carrier, the intended parents can be involved and present during prenatal visits, ultrasounds and at the delivery.

Who Should Use Surrogacy?

There are many considerations when deciding to use a GC. Women who are unable to safely carry a pregnancy to term may opt to use a gestational carrier, often due to conditions such as:

  • Congenital anomalies of the uterus
  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Severe intra-uterine adhesions
  • Following hysterectomy, such as for uterine/cervical cancer
  • Other medical condition(s) that make pregnancy dangerous for the mother or baby

Other candidates for using a gestational carrier include:

  • LGBTQ+ couples or individuals who do not have a uterus to achieve pregnancy, such as a gay male couple or transgender woman
  • Single men
  • Women of advanced maternal age who carry high obstetric risks
  • Those who have experienced several unsuccessful cycles of IVF due to likely uterine factor or other circumstances

Legal and Emotional Concerns of Surrogacy

Partnering with a gestational carrier involves considerable legal issues that require appropriate documentation regarding parenting rights. Those wishing to have a child using a gestational carrier should seek advice from lawyers who are experienced in third-party reproduction.

Traditional surrogacy carries even more of a legal risk than using a gestational carrier because the surrogate is genetically related to the child. Many states have outlawed the use of traditional surrogates. While traditional surrogacy is still legal in the state of California, due to the legal complexity, gestational carriers are still preferred, and used exclusively at FSMG.

Using a gestational carrier can be emotionally and psychologically challenging for both the intended parents and the woman carrying their child(ren). Counseling by professionals who are experienced in providing support can be greatly beneficial.

Connect with the team at FSMG today to learn more.

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