Surrogacy has been around since the 1980s, but in the early years it was often shrouded in secrecy and legal red tape. These days, advances in medicine, law, and public awareness have allowed IVF surrogacy to become a routine option for many people who might otherwise never have the chance to have a baby who shares their genetic heritage.
IVF surrogacy uses a third party “gestational surrogate” to carry the pregnancy when a patient is unable to carry a baby to term herself
The main draw of IVF surrogacy for most couples is the ability to have a child who shares the genetics of both the mother and father, even when pregnancy is not possible for the woman
Choosing a surrogate is obviously a very important decision. Surrogates undergo strict screening to ensure that they are physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy enough to carry a pregnancy for a client couple without undue risk, generally the attributes of an ideal gestational surrogate include:
- Between the ages of 21 and 40
- Healthy lifestyle (no smoking, substance abuse problems, healthy diet, etc)
- Has had at least one successful pregnancy, preferably with no complications and an easy delivery
- Has passed medical and psychological tests
IVF surrogacy work?
At the beginning of the IVF surrogacy process, the biological/intended parents and the gestational surrogate will go through an assessment and laboratory tests with our Institute to make sure that you are all healthy and prepared both mentally and physically, and that there are no sexually transmitted diseases that could damage potential embryos or be given to the surrogate during the embryo transfer. From here the process is relatively simple:
- The biological mother (who is providing the eggs) and the gestational surrogate will take medication to synchronize their menstrual cycles.
- Once the cycles are synchronized, the egg provider will begin her IVF protocol to stimulate her ovaries for egg production.
- The egg provider will undergo an egg retrieval procedure.
- Her eggs will be taken to the lab and mixed with her partner’s (or donor) sperm and cultured for 3 to 5 days.
- At the same time, the gestational surrogate will begin taking supplemental progesterone to prepare her uterine lining for pregnancy.
- When the embryos are ready, one or more will be transferred to the surrogate’s uterus.
- In two weeks, the surrogate will take a pregnancy test to determine whether implantation was successful.
- If pregnancy occurs, the surrogate will be monitored by the IVF clinic until the pregnancy is 10 to 12 weeks along, at which point her care is transferred to an OB.
- When the pregnancy is complete, the surrogate delivers the baby.
- The baby goes home with its intended, biological parents.