Surrogacy for women with infertility of many types
Infertility can be devastating. For some women, experiencing pregnancy is an important part of their sense of self. Many infertile women have always imagined themselves being a mother. Many women feel a deep sense of sadness and loss at the inability to conceive or carry. Because of social pressures and norms in their communities, some women feel shame at not being able to have children. Infertility can affect marriages and partnerships too, especially when children were always a part of the plan. The emotional and financial stress of repeated rounds of fertility treatments such as IVF can strain even the strongest of relationships. Infertility can also be a lonely feeling, especially around holidays or when surrounding by friends or family members who have their own children.
While techniques such as In vitro fertilization (IVF) can be successfully used to treat many causes of infertility, there are other instances when a surrogate is needed.
Some of the reasons women turn to surrogacy include:
Uterine Factor Infertility
Many women have congenital structural abnormalities such as Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) Syndrome that prevent pregnancy. Some are born without a uterus, others have had their uterus surgically removed via a hysterectomy. Some women develop uterine scarring from medical procedures such as a past C-section or D&C procedure. Fibroids and polyps can also play a role in infertility, though medical intervention early can often preserve fertility. Cancer survivors may have radiation damage. There’s also infertility caused by Asherman syndrome, a rare condition where uterine scar tissue prevent pregnancy or leads to a high chance of miscarriage.
Certain Medical Conditions
Many medical conditions may put a pregnant woman or her baby at risk. The list of conditions includes kidney disease, heart disease including hypertension and heart defects, autoimmune disorders such as lupus, cystic fibrosis, uncontrolled diabetes, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), certain neurological conditions that require medication to manage, and mental health disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The health of a pregnant mother or child with any condition that requires medication where pregnancy is a contradiction should be considered. For women with certain medical conditions, surrogacy provides a safer alternative to having children while mitigating substantial risk.
Chemo or radiation therapy can often affect a woman’s fertility or make it unsafe for her or her baby to carry a pregnancy. Surrogacy can be used to help cancer survivors have a child once they have completed their treatment.
Many women that have experienced multiple, unexplained miscarriages turn to surrogacy. This is especially common if a woman has a small number of embryos left after many rounds of IVF. There are varied reasons for recurrent pregnancy loss including hormone imbalances, autoimmune conditions, problems with a uterus, and genetic abnormalities. It could also be completely unknown with no formal diagnosis. Whatever the reason, when there is a history of frequent pregnancy loss, surrogacy can greatly increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
Hormonal or Genetic Disorders
There are certain hormonal or genetic disorders that affect a woman’s ability to conceive including Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, Turner Syndrome, and congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Other women have disorders such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia that make pregnancy more risky and harder to manage.
Previous Pregnancy Complications
Many women have experienced pregnancy complications that make it impossible or unsafe for them to become pregnant again. This includes preeclampsia, postpartum hemorrhage, uterine rupture, placental abruption, and postpartum depression.
If you have had one or more of these conditions, it’s a good idea to discuss whether pregnancy is possible or safe. If your doctor deems pregnancy unsafe, you may want to consider surrogacy.
Surrogacy for women with infertility issues
Surrogacy can be a viable and desired option for infertile woman that cannot conceive or safely carry a pregnancy regardless of the reason. Some women will need egg donor or embryo donors, others can use their own eggs. A Reproductive Endocrinologist can help women with certain conditions decide whether surrogate is the right choice.
Surrogacy is the process by which a healthy woman carries a pregnancy on behalf of a person that cannot become pregnant or cannot carry safely. A surrogate typically becomes pregnant using gametes from one or more parent, though sometimes neither parent is biologically related as is the case with a donated embryo or some forms of traditional surrogacy. Surrogacy can either be gestation or traditional; under gestational surrogacy an embryo is implanted and the surrogate is not the biological mother. Traditional surrogacy, by contrast, is when the surrogate is also the biological mother and becomes pregnant via artificial insemination. The traditional type of surrogacy is more complicated with respect to establishing parentage because of the genetic relationship between surrogate and child. Nevertheless, both types of surrogacy can be options for women experiencing infertility.
If you know you need surrogacy, you will need to find a surrogate who is interested in carrying on your behalf. There are several ways to find a surrogate: turning to friends and family, self-matching, and using a surrogacy agency. Surrogate agencies are by far the most costly way to match which is why self-managed independent surrogacy is a great option for many. Surrogacy Place offers a powerful platform for surrogacy self-matching; Intended Parents of all types can create profiles to start finding their potential match.
After you match with a surrogate, you’ll need to have her evaluated by your fertility clinic. Assuming your Reproductive Endocrinologist approves of your choice from a medical perspective, you’ll then need to draft final legal agreements. As you reach the legal phase of surrogacy, you’ll need to agree on things like surrogacy compensation, birth plan, pregnancy restrictions (including travel restrictions later in the pregnancy) and more. Your attorney can guide you on what to expect and ethical standards.
Surrogacy is undoubtedly hard for many to afford. Many seeking surrogacy services will tap into their savings or take out loans. Some will turn to crowdfunding. For a sense of costs that go into surrogacy, check out this surrogacy-cost guide.
You should also keep in mind that laws governing surrogacy vary widely. It’s imperative that you work with an assisted reproduction-specializing attorney. If you need help finding a lawyer, you can visit our US surrogacy attorney directory.