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A Complete Guide to Surrogacy


Surrogate is a misunderstood term and when people refer to a “surrogate,” they intend to refer to a woman who carries a pregnancy for another person. However, the proper term is a gestational carrier

The person or couple trying to have a baby with the help of gestational carriers are called intended parents.


What is the difference between traditional Surrogate and Gestational Surrogate?

In Traditional Surrogacy, the surrogate’s egg is used making her the biological mother of the child she carries. The egg is fertilized using sperm from the intended father or a donor using intrauterine insemination.


In Gestational Surrogacy, the surrogate has no biological link with the baby. The embryo is created using an egg from the intended mother or a donor and sperm are taken from the intended father or a donor using in vitro fertilization. Once the egg is fertilized in the laboratory, the embryo is then transferred to the surrogate.


When do you need Surrogacy? 

  • Medical problems with the uterus
  • Prior hysterectomy
  • Unexplained repeated miscarriages, not resolved by other treatment
  • Repeated embryo implantation failures during IVF treatment
  • Medical conditions that make pregnancy life-threatening to the mother or baby, including severe heart disease, lupus, history of breast cancer, severe kidney disease, cystic fibrous, severe diabetes.


Finding a Surrogate:

surrogate mother

You can ask a friend or family member to be your surrogate mother but it involves several family issues and its somewhat controversial. Sometimes raises legal parental issues or can use a Surrogate agency. Some people look for independent carriers — that is, looking for a gestational carrier (that is not known to you) without the help of an agency. 


The Surrogacy Process in India

In the Gestational Surrogacy process in India, there are three possibilities for the conception of the child.


  1. Using egg and sperm from the intended parents. In this, both intended parents would be genetically related to the child.
  2. Using either egg or sperm from one intended parent, in combination with donor egg or sperm. Here, one intended parent would be genetically connected to the baby.
  3. Using both donor egg and donor sperm. In this situation, the intended parents would not be genetically related to the child. Using donor embryo. This would not lead to genetic relation to the baby.


After all the legal procedures of finding a gestational carrier and deciding of fees is done the actual process begins where,

  • The gestational carrier and the intended mother have their cycles put in sync with birth control pills and then hormonal injections. Once the treatment cycle begins, the intended mother will go through the IVF treatment.


  • In the meantime, the gestational carrier will take hormones to help prepare her uterus for embryo transfer.


  • The intended father will provide a semen sample to the clinic and the retrieved egg will be combined with the sperm. ANy resulting embryos will be observed for a few days.  


  • Then, three to five days after the retrieval, some embryos will be transferred to the gestational carrier's uterus. 

  • If the cycle is successful, once a heartbeat has been detected, the gestational carrier will be cared for by her regular doctor. The communication between the gestational carrier and intended parents can be direct or through a mediator depending on the kind of arrangement agreed to before the process.


  • When the gestational carrier is verified to be in labor. The hospital should be told about the surrogacy arrangement beforehand, so proper communication and access can be provided for all involved.


  • After childbirth occurs, the parents should get to hold the baby soon after birth. In some arrangements, the gestational carrier agrees to provide pumped breast milk for the baby for a certain period of time.


  • The attorney should arrange the parental rights or pre-birth order paperwork before birth, and it should be available at the time of the baby’s birth. This will help get the intended parents' names on the birth certificate, instead of the gestational carrier's name.


  • If the IVF cycle will not be successful and several cycles will be attempted. It's also possible for the IVF cycle to be canceled midway for medical reasons, because of no embryos to be viable, for the gestational carrier not become pregnant even with viable embryos, or for the gestational carrier may miscarry.


All of these situations should be discussed prior to the contracts being signed, to be sure the gestational carrier and intended parents agree on how to handle the situations.


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