Infertility Fast Facts
Couples approximately in the United States, or 10 percent of all couples of childbearing age, have difficulty conceiving.
Gestational Carriers and Surrogacy
Agestational carrier is a woman who carries a pregnancy for someone who cannot carry a pregnancy herself. For instance, some women are born without a uterus, so they might consider the use of a gestational carrier to have the families they desire. Women who have had a hysterectomy but still want to have a biological child would need to use a gestational carrier to achieve a live birth. Uterine abnormalities and recurrent pregnancy losses can also be indications where a couple might consider a gestational carrier.
Although the terms gestational carrier and surrogate are often used interchangeably, they mean very different things. A surrogate not only carries the pregnancy, but also donates her eggs as part of the process. A gestational carrier only carries the baby to delivery and has no biological connection. With a gestational carrier one or both of the intended parents can use their genetic material, sperm and eggs to create the embryo.
IVF, in vitro fertilization, is used to achieve pregnancy with a gestational carrier cycle. The intended parent eggs are retrieved and combined with sperm just as in a conventional IVF cycle, but the resulting embryos are then transferred into the gestational carrier’s uterus. If either of the intended parents cannot produce viable eggs or healthy sperm, a gestational carrier cycle can also be combined with a donor egg and/or donor sperm cycle.
When choosing a gestational carrier, couples can consider someone they know such as family member or close friend, or they can use an agency to find the right person. These agencies specialize in finding qualified candidates to become gestational carriers and can work with you to help you select a good match.
After you have found a gestational carrier, she will need a full evaluation, including blood work to ensure the gestational carrier has no communicable or infectious diseases. She will also need a consultation with Dr. Brown to discuss medical history; he will also perform a complete physical exam, as well as a uterine cavity evaluation to confirm that the gestational carrier’s uterus is in perfect condition to carry a baby. The intended parents will also need to complete an infectious disease screening and then meet with Dr. Brown to make sure that we have an updated medical history.
As part of the process, the gestational carrier will undergo a psychological evaluation so that she understands the risks involved in carrying a baby for someone else as well as the implications this decision may have on the carrier’s life. To facilitate a positive relationship between the gestational carrier and the intended parents, it is helpful to have honest discussion and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Before proceeding with a gestational carrier cycle, you will need to schedule a legal consultation. Look for an attorney with experience in these types of situations so that your lawyer can cover every detail and protect your rights.
After the preliminary testing and steps are completed, your nurse will coordinate your cycle and the gestational carrier’s cycle so that the carrier’s uterus is ready in time for the embryo transfer.