Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman carries a baby for another couple. The couple in question may face several infertility related issues and therefore seek the help of another woman (gestational surrogate) who undergoes the embryo transfer process and carries the pregnancy to term for them. Gestational surrogacy is possible with the intended mother’s egg or with an egg donor and the treatment is combined with IVF/ICSI. From the medical perspective, the process is very similar to egg donation or recipient treatment cycles. In this medical procedure, a fertilized egg is implanted in the woman who carries it to full term. This is a process that must be done with full consent and proper information of all the parties involved.
There are two main types of surrogacy in practice, traditional and gestational surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy uses the surrogate’s own eggs for the fertilization process. This means that the surrogate will be genetically related to the child that she gives up. Gestational surrogacy uses the adoptive mother’s eggs. This way the baby and surrogate are not genetically related. Gestational surrogacy is preferred because it prevents legal complications from arising in the future.
In almost all cases, the gestational surrogate is always known by the couple and is never anonymous like in the case of an egg or sperm donation. The intended parents of the child will also be involved with the pregnancy right from the time of pregnancy till taking over parental responsibilities after delivery. All gestational surrogates must undergo intensive screening procedures such as blood tests, medical evaluation, uterine evaluation, genetic screening and psychological screening. If everything goes as planned, surrogacy is a medically low risk procedure with a high success rate.