Surrogacy is a third party member carrying a pregnancy for another

By Sarah Leavitt, Medical Research EditorLast modified: January 13, 2012


Surrogacy is an infertility treatment option whereby a woman carries and delivers a child for another person or couple.  Surrogacy involves an established agreement between all parties involved that the carrier of the child is not a legal parent of the child. As a result, surrogacy can be an extremely emotional process for all parties involved with the procedure. Patients considering surrogacy as a treatment option should be sure to discuss the emotional impact prior to undergoing treatment.

The surrogacy procedure is similar to the regular IVF procedure, depending on who provides the eggs and sperm. Surrogacy can either be traditional or gestational. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother uses her own eggs and is therefore genetically related to the child. The eggs are fertilized with the intended father’s sperm most often by means of intrauterine insemination (IUI). Traditional surrogacy is not a widely used as gestational surrogacy because of the legal ramifications around being a ‘genetic mother.’ With the development of IVF with ICSI Microinjection, a surrogate mother is not always genetically related to the unborn child.

Gestational surrogacy is when a man and woman provide their sperm and eggs to fertilize an embryo that is then implanted into the surrogate mother. As a result, the surrogate has no biological relation to the baby, but is merely carrying the pregnancy. Surrogacy with egg donation is another method in which donated eggs are fertilized with the father’s sperm and the surrogate mother holds no genetic relation to the child.

A surrogate mother can be a friend, a family member or a voluntary stranger. During the surrogacy procedure, the intended parents may provide their own eggs and sperm or, in cases of certain female fertility factors, donated sperm and/or eggs are used for fertilization.

Commercial surrogacy is the term applied to a surrogate mother who receives compensation for her service. Commercial surrogacy is illegal in many parts of the world. Most surrogate mothers do not receive compensation, which is altruism surrogacy.

Good candidates for surrogacy are women without a functioning uterus. Whether a female has a disease in which carrying a pregnancy could be life-threatening or she has experienced irreparable trauma, women with uterus problems may still produce genetic offspring by using surrogacy. Women who can provide their own eggs but do not have a womb to carry it can still have their own children with surrogacy.

Success rates for surrogacy range broadly, depending on the age of the couple providing the sperm and eggs as well as the age of the surrogate mother.

The legality of surrogacy differs around the world and within the United States. Different states have different laws on surrogacy.  Be sure to discuss legality issues with your doctor. Traveling for infertility treatments is becoming more and more popular as the costs and legality of treatments differ around the world.

Traditional Surrogacy

Traditional surrogacy is a method of surrogacy whereby the surrogate mother uses her own eggs to create an embryo and then carries the pregnancy to term. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is genetically related to the child. 

Gestational Surrogacy

Gestational surrogacy is a form of surrogacy whereby the intended parents provide their own sperm and eggs to create an embryo that is then carried to term by a surrogacy mother. Gestational surrogacy allows women who cannot successfully carry a pregnancy to still have their own children. 

Gay Surrogacy

Just like how surrogacy enables heterogeneous couples to have children, gay surrogacy grants the gift of children to same-sex couples. Male or female couples can use their sperm or eggs to mix with donated eggs or donated sperm for fertilization.

Surrogacy Procedure

The surrogacy procedure is an infertility treatment whereby one woman carries and delivers a child for the sake of another. Couples may provide their own eggs and sperm if healthy. Otherwise, donated sperm or eggs may be used. In some cases, the surrogate mother uses her own eggs for pregnancy. 

Surrogate Mothers

Surrogate mothers allow the infertility to have children of their own. Surrogate mothers must be in good physical shape and otherwise healthy in order to enter the surrogacy procedure.  Surrogate mothers should also be aware of the emotional aspects of their participation. 

Candidate For Surrogacy

A good candidate for surrogacy is someone who cannot successfully carry a pregnancy to term. A woman who has had her uterus removed or for other reasons may put her life at risk by becoming pregnant is a good candidate for surrogacy. Male couples are also good candidates for surrogacy. 

Surrogacy Laws

Whether or not a Surrogacy agreement will pass the courts of law depends on the State by State laws and International Laws. Most US states have wavering or unclear laws regarding Surrogacy Agreements as well as court rulings on individual cases.

Cost Of Surrogacy

The reality of affording Surrogacy is finding the impeccable stability of financially surviving the destitutions of the journey. Many individuals and couples endure incredible sacrifices that not only stretch pockets but deplete them to reach their dreams of parenthood. Surrogacy costs include the surrogate's compensation, clinic fees, medications, attorney fees, agency fees, maternity care, travel expenses and any other expense that transpire during pregnancy.

Surrogacy Vs Adoption

Adoption and surrogacy are both elite and extraordinarily attractive forms of building a family. One is not loftier than the other, nor is one right or wrong. The decision should be based on what is best for you and your family.

Intended Parents

When Intended Parents come to the realization that Surrogacy is their last option, they are fronting a whole new world. A Surrogacy journey should be ardently and understandingly rewarding from the very first stride. The challenges you will face along the journey of becoming parents will unavoidably surface. Intended Parents often times become both emotionally and financially strained, physically tired, and are not prepared for what should take place.

Egg Donation

Surrogacy with egg donation is a form of gestational surrogacy where neither the mother-to-be nor the surrogate mother is genetically related to the child. Surrogacy with egg donation usually makes it easier for the surrogate mother to give up the child after birth. 

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