Understanding How Surrogacy Works
THE SURROGACY JOURNEY
Bringing a child into the world is a deeply personal and meaningful experience. However, for various reasons, some couples or individuals may face challenges in conceiving or carrying a pregnancy themselves. In such cases, surrogacy can be an option that brings hope and fulfillment. Surrogacy is a complex process that involves a team of professionals, legal considerations, and profound emotional connections.
WHAT IS SURROGACY?
Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman, known as the surrogate or gestational carrier, carries a pregnancy on behalf of intended parents or individuals. The intended parents, who may be a heterosexual couple, same-sex couple, or an individual, may opt for surrogacy when they are unable to conceive a child naturally or carry a pregnancy to term due to medical conditions.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRADITIONAL SURROGACY AND GESTATIONAL SURROGACY?
There are two primary types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy.
Traditional Surrogacy: In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is genetically related to the child she carries. The process involves the artificial insemination of the surrogate’s eggs with the intended father’s sperm or donor sperm. As a result, the surrogate contributes her own genetic material to the child.
Gestational Surrogacy: Gestational surrogacy is the more common form of surrogacy today. It involves the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF), where eggs are retrieved from the intended mother or an egg donor and fertilized with the intended father’s sperm or donor sperm in a laboratory. The resulting embryo is then transferred to the uterus of the gestational carrier, who has no genetic relationship to the child.
In Texas, couples are required to use a gestational carrier for surrogacy cycles, meaning the surrogate does not have a biological connection to the baby. Third-party surrogacy is a complex process, so finding an experienced fertility clinic to assist you is important. The fertility specialists at IVFMD are here to help answer your questions regarding finding the right surrogate and the use of donor sperm or donor eggs. We also compiled our recommended local partners: a selective group of egg banks, surrogacy agencies, sperm banks, and other medical professionals to bring you the best in fertility care.
THE SURROGACY PROCESS
Gestational surrogacy starts with cycle synchronization where we briefly synchronize the cycles of the donor and recipient using birth control pills. After synchronization, we prime the intended mother (or in some cases, an egg donor) for ovulation induction to produce multiple eggs. Simultaneously, we prepare the uterine lining of the gestational carrier with appropriate hormones to ready it for the implantation process. Eggs are then collected through the vagina under ultrasound guidance in the clinic using light IV sedation, and are subsequently combined with the father’s sperm or donor sperm in the lab to create the embryos. The eggs are cultured for 5 days before the resulting embryo(s) is/are ultimately transferred into the uterus of the surrogate for 9 months of safe keeping.
AFTER THE TRANSFER
Throughout the pregnancy, the surrogate will receive prenatal care from her obstetrician, and the intended parents may be actively involved in the process, attending appointments and offering support depending on the predetermined agreement. The surrogate will carry the pregnancy to term, and upon delivery, the child is legally transferred to the intended parents.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP
Surrogacy offers hope and an alternative path to parenthood for individuals and couples facing fertility challenges. Understanding how surrogacy works empowers prospective parents and surrogates to navigate the process with confidence and compassion. From finding the right surrogate to the use of donor sperm or donor eggs, the fertility specialists at IVFMD are here to help answer any questions you may have. Regardless of where you are on your surrogacy journey, we encourage you to contact us for more information.