A gestational carrier, sometimes called a surrogate, is literally just that: a woman who carries a baby to term for another person. There is no genetic link between a gestational carrier and the child she is carrying.
In a surrogacy arrangement, pregnancy is achieved through IVF, a process that requires that the cycles of either the patient or an egg donor and the recipient (gestational carrier) are synchronized. During the IVF procedure, the intended parents’ own sperm and egg (or, in some cases, donated sperm and/or egg) are combined to produce one or more embryos. These embryos are then grown in the laboratory for 3-6 days and are then transferred into the uterus of the gestational carrier. If pregnancy occurs, she carries and delivers the child for the intended parents.
Your RMACT fertility specialist can help determine if a gestational carrier is clinically indicated in your case by reviewing your medical history and current diagnosis. Some factors include:
At RMACT, we leave the choice of a gestational carrier to the patient(s), although the clinic does screen the potential gestational carrier using guidelines established by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) before proceeding with the arrangement.
The ideal gestational carrier is a woman who has had a previous uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery, is medically and emotionally healthy and financially stable. Both the intended parents and the gestational carrier undergo medical and psychological evaluation and legal counsel prior to finalizing the arrangement.
Couples have a few options when it comes to choosing a gestational carrier. Some people are most comfortable with the idea of having a woman they already know (family member or friend) carry and give birth to their child. Oftentimes, due to the personal connection, a gestational carrier in this category does not receive compensation for her services, although the intended parents usually cover her medical expenses.
Other surrogacy arrangements occur between people who are not known to one another and are facilitated by agencies, attorneys, or websites that match prospective parents with gestational carriers. Under this legal arrangement, the gestational carrier is paid a negotiated fee for her services in addition to having all her medical expenses covered.
The decision to pursue a gestational surrogate arrangement should be made thoughtfully after due consideration and counseling. Your RMACT fertility specialist can help sort out your options and offer his or her professional advice.
If you’d like more information regarding gestational surrogacy, contact us.