Gestational surrogacy

Gestational surrogacy

Surrogacy is the process in which a woman carries a child in her womb, which is not hers, and later after the birth of that child, hands it over to the parents who want a child of their own. Although traditional surrogacy was popular earlier, gestational surrogacy has gained popularity among intended parents who want to have a child biologically their own.

What is gestational surrogacy?

A woman rents out her uterus to produce a child, and the child is later handed over to its real parents, for whom it was the carrier. However, in surrogacy, the child does not have any genetic characteristics of the surrogate mother. Fertilization is done outside the womb using the egg and sperm of the couple wanting to have a child.

How is gestational surrogacy different from traditional surrogacy? 

Gestational surrogacy
Gestational surrogacy

For a long time, traditional surrogacy was where childless couples could enjoy the joys of parenthood. In an infertile couple, the partner who was fertile had intercourse with the other partner. As medical science improved, the process of sexual intercourse was replaced by in-vitro fertilization (IVF) .

In such cases, no matter who the child goes to, biologically, the child is a different combination of the original parent’s sperm and egg. In gestational surrogacy, only the uterus of the surrogate mother is used for the growth and development of the child . Once the embryo is formed, it is transferred to a surrogate mother, who will nurse the child for a full pregnancy.

Who can opt for gestational carrier? 

Although gestational carriers are primarily used by infertile couples, there are a number of situations where it may be chosen. Some common situations are as follows:

  • If a woman has had her uterus removed and cannot conceive a child biologically.
  • If due to some medical conditions, the uterus of a woman is not optimal for the development of the child.
  • If a woman has had repeated miscarriages or her body is unable to carry a child full time.
  • If pregnancy has failed despite multiple fertility treatments.
  • If the couple is same-sex or a single man/woman wishing to become a parent.

Risks Involved in Gestational Surrogacy

Like any medical procedure, gestational surrogacy carries some risks which you should be fully aware of before opting for it.

  • Explain that in gestational surrogacy the eggs used for fertilization come from the mother, so the woman has to undergo a procedure to induce ovulation and retrieve the eggs from the body. This procedure also brings with it some risks. On the other hand, if donor eggs are being used, then such a process is not required.
  • The biggest risk in the gestational surrogacy process is the cost that comes with it. The carrier will not only be paid a fee for keeping the child for the entire duration of the pregnancy, but all medical expenses associated with it will also be borne by the intended parents. These include all the check-ups and tests that are required to monitor the child’s growth on a regular basis, but there are other expenses that may arise due to any complications or if surgery is required Can Because of which its cost can easily be much higher than expected.
  • One of the biggest risks associated with gestational surrogacy, or any type of surrogacy, is emotion. Before going ahead with the process, a number of contracts and legal documents will be signed stating that the child the surrogate mother will produce will be legally and rightfully the child of the intended parents. But, due to the timing of pregnancy and the process of delivery, the surrogate mother may develop an attachment towards the child and does not follow the conditions laid down in the paper. The loopholes in the law that exist in many places can create unforeseen complications in this regard, raising questions about the legal ownership of the child. Although it is not always the case, parents opting for this type of surrogacy are always worried about how to deal with such a situation, if it happens to them.
  • A surrogate herself puts herself at great health risk by carrying the child full-term. Sometimes ovulation needs to be artificially induced for the embryo to be able to successfully implant in the uterus. Doing so qualifies for additional compensation for the surrogate but is not always the case. Even if a family member or friend agrees to be a surrogate, the intended parents should also be aware of the risks she would be taking and should be taken care of accordingly. She goes.

How can you start? 

If you have made the decision to go ahead with gestational surrogacy, it is time to understand how to get started.

1. Finding a Willing Gestational Carrier 

This is a process that can take a long time. Some would-be parents choose to ask those closest to them, including friends and family, if they would be willing to be a surrogate for their child. There are also some private agencies that can find the right surrogate for you based on various parameters. A good surrogate means that she has a successful history of previous delivery, is around the age of 20-40 and should be healthy with a good support system.

2. Seek counseling

The process and journey of gestational surrogacy looks simple and straightforward on paper. However, most parents are completely unaware of the emotional impact that goes with it. Once you have chosen a surrogate, it is a good idea to have a general consultation with a fertility specialist, who will walk you through the different phases and help you with the different situations that may arise. At this stage any emotional questions or finding out the perspective of the relationship can be discussed freely.

3. Get a medical evaluation of the sperm and egg 

Parents who will be using their own sperm and eggs are required to undergo a genetic and medical evaluation. Whereas in the case of a donor, the screening is usually done beforehand. The evaluation ensures that both the sperm and egg are in a condition that is sufficient for successful IVF, as well as that no medical problems are present that could affect the gestational surrogate.

4. Medical checkup of the surrogate 

If your surrogate was arranged by a private agency, they will most likely have all her medical details or may have recently done so themselves. In any case, it is highly advisable to get a medical test done to rule out any problems related to the surrogate’s health or constitution. On the other hand, if the carrier is married, then her partner also needs to undergo a medical checkup as well as a psychological assessment test to understand the effect of surrogacy.

5. Clearing all legal matters 

A legal agreement is necessary for the benefit of both the intended parents and the surrogate. Each party is advised to have its own lawyer, who can look into the details of the settlement and reach a final decision that is acceptable to both. All aspects of finance, transfer of rights, legal possession of the child before delivery and many other points are kept clear in the legal contract.

Process of Gestational Surrogacy

An easy way to look at gestational surrogacy is to think of the surrogate mother as an oven and the child as food cooked by someone else. This explains a mental thought process related to the ownership of the child.

Once the surrogate is selected and the legalities are in place, there are a number of other procedures to go through. Blood tests and ultrasounds are done regularly for continuous monitoring of the surrogate. In addition, a variety of hormones are injected into the surrogate so that the body prepares itself to go into pregnancy mode. This continues for about a month until the doctor decides that the hormones have been successfully absorbed by the body.

If the body is ready and after successful fertilization an embryo has been formed, this is the beginning of an important part of the process. Embryos are transferred into the surrogate’s womb using a technique that involves the use of an ultrasound-guided catheter. It enters the woman’s body through the cervix and implants the embryo in the uterus. Even after that the hormone injections continue and blood levels are checked regularly to look for signs of pregnancy.

In some unfortunate cases, the embryo may fail to develop. In such a case, all medical procedures are immediately stopped and the surrogate has to go through a period cycle. After that, if both parties agree, the process is tried to start again with a different embryo.

How does gestational surrogacy work? 

Gestational surrogacy can be done in a number of ways, depending on whether the egg or embryo is present.

1. How It Works With Fresh Eggs

  • Period cycles are matched so that the time to retrieve your eggs and prepare your embryos is in sync with the surrogate’s uterus to be ready to accept the embryo.
  • Egg production is enhanced by using gonadotropin drugs.
  • Once the eggs are mature, they are retrieved and fertilized using the required sperms.
  • When fertilization is done, the embryos are transferred to the surrogate.

2. How does it work with frozen eggs?

  • The surrogate is already on advanced medical procedures that are necessary to prepare her uterus for implantation.
  • After the time is up, the frozen eggs are thawed and fertilization is initiated using suitable sperms.
  • These fertilized embryos are then transferred to the prepared uterus.

3. How does it work with frozen embryos?

  • It’s very similar to preparing frozen eggs, only the waiting time is even shorter.
  • Since the embryo is already prepared, once the surrogate has access to a prepared uterus, the embryo is thawed and inserted inside the surrogate for implantation.

How long does the process of gestational surrogacy take? 

Finding a willing surrogate can take several months to a year or more. For medical procedures, approximately 3-4 IVF cycles, each lasting 4-6 weeks, are required for a successful pregnancy.

Gestational Surrogacy Success Rate

Surrogacy success rates using one’s own eggs start at 51 percent for women up to age 34 and then decrease to 10 percent for women over age 43. If frozen eggs are used instead, the success rate increases slightly.

What are the benefits of gestational surrogacy? 

Some of the advantages of gestational surrogacy are given below,

  • Everyone from infertile parents to gay couples can enjoy the joys of parenthood with it.
  • The child has the same genetic characteristics as its original parents, making it biologically their own.
  • This helps in creating a strong bond with the surrogate and helps in transferring the child easily as the child is not biologically related to her.

What are the drawbacks of gestational surrogacy? 

There are some drawbacks of gestational surrogacy like,

  • The option of using your own eggs may make it necessary to have the fertility treatment necessary for successful fertilization.
  • The intended mother of a child finds it difficult to come to terms with other women enjoying the process of pregnancy for the sake of their child.
  • The legal issues involved are very high and the cost in such cases is also very high.

How much does gestational surrogacy cost?

The money involved in this process varies from person to person and agency to agency, plus all the medical expenses, can range from 15 lakhs to 40 lakhs or more.

Gestational surrogacy is one of the best ways to have your own biological child naturally. With the right measures and by following the right medical precautions, gestational surrogacy not only allows you to have a good relationship with the surrogate and ensure proper development of the child, but you can also become a happy parent of a child who is yours.