Surrogacy

Learn about traditional and gestational surrogacy and more

For many women, traditional pregnancy is simply out of the question. Health conditions, scarred tissue or unusually-shaped reproductive organs can mean that a woman will not be able to carry a child or give birth. In these cases, surrogacy can be the best option—if all other treatments have failed, a woman can have her fertilized egg carried by another woman to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.

Traditional Surrogacy vs. Gestational Surrogacy

There are two different methods of surrogacy in use today, and each will present different challenges and legal arrangements. Traditional surrogacy involves artificial insemination of the surrogate's egg, which is relatively easy, painless and inexpensive. The chances of pregnancy can be very high for a fertile surrogate, who will monitor her own ovulation cycle and have inseminations administered at the most fertile point of her cycle. The drawback to traditional surrogacy will be the same as with egg donation: half of the baby's genes will come from the surrogate instead of from the intended mother.

SurrogacySource: flickr.com

The more recently developed gestational surgery allows the couple to provide their own fertilized egg to be cultivated and carried by the surrogate, and will be a much more involved process. Through in vitro fertilization, a couple can create an embryo from their own sperm and egg and have it transferred to the surrogate's uterus through a catheter.

The transfer of the embryos is the easy part; the preparation and precautions surrounding the transfer can be very complicated and time-consuming. For instance, the surrogate will need to take hormone injections to suppress her own ovulation, and will continue with various hormones and medications after the transfer to convince her body that it is pregnant.

The method of surrogacy you choose will depend on a number of factors. Surrogacy costs can be a large part of the decision, and you will find that the traditional procedure will be much more affordable than the IVF, hormone therapy and embryo transplant that come with the gestational surrogacy procedure.

Find a Surrogate

For most women, the best way to find a surrogate will be through a surrogacy agency, which keeps records of available surrogate mothers. Many of these surrogacy agencies are designed to help you through the entire process, while some women use an agency to find a suitable match and continue the process on their own. In either case, a reputable surrogacy agency will carefully screen prospective surrogate mothers, ensuring they have strong genetic backgrounds, are physically and psychologically capable of carrying a child and lead healthy lifestyles. Becoming a surrogate is an involved process, and eligibility requirements are strict; you will be able to meet and choose from many qualified individuals.

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