Surrogacy has been a hot topic in Hollywood, but most infertile women or couples make the decision quietly and privately to use a surrogate. Often times this comes after a prolonged period of trying to conceive or after the diagnosis of the inability to carry a pregnancy to term. Examples of these diagnoses may include hysterectomy, endometriosis or anomaly that the woman is born with or acquired since birth.
Surrogates come in two forms, the traditional surrogate and the gestational surrogate. A traditional surrogate carries the embryo created with her own egg and either the sperm of a man. Sperm may come from the male partner of the prospective couple or a sperm donor. Traditional surrogacy is accomplished through intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization. Gestational surrogates carry the embryo of an egg and sperm from the “intended parents.” This can also include pregnancies with donor egg or sperm. Gestational surrogates are also called gestational carriers. These pregnancies are the result of an in vitro fertilization cycle.
Surrogates are generally compensated for carrying the pregnancy, along with all medical expenses. Costs associated with a surrogate are highly variable as there are legal expenses for a surrogate contract, surrogate fees, court filing fees for birth certificates, life and health insurance premiums for the surrogate, maternity clothing and child care for the surrogates own children to attend appointments all factor into the final cost. Egg or sperm donor costs and travel to the location of the surrogate should also be included.
Some intended parents choose international surrogacy as an alternative to domestic surrogates. This option comes with a unique set of circumstances including the distance of the surrogate, the current relationship with the intended parents’ home country and the surrogates country for visas and the regulations regarding importation of embryos to a foreign country if they were created during a previous IVF cycle.
Surrogates are generally found through fertility clinics, private surrogacy agencies, lawyers and online. Each agency may have a set of requirements the surrogate must meet to be considered. These may include the surrogate have prior successful pregnancies, are medically fit, understand the emotional risks associated with surrogacy and are not solely financially motivated.
If you would like help finding a fertility clinic that offers surrogacy in your area, please contact the Patient Care Coordinators at Fertility Authority for help!