Surrogacy is a fertility treatment where a woman (surrogate) carries a baby for a couple or another person. There are two types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy.
In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate provides her own eggs that are fertilized with the intended father’s or donor’s sperm via artificial insemination. The surrogate is the biological mother of the baby.
In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate becomes pregnant through in-vitro fertilization IVF). The infertility doctor transfers an embryo created from a combination of the eggs and sperm of the intended parent(s) or biological material from egg or sperm donors. The surrogate will have no biological connection with the baby.
Who is interested in surrogacy?
Surrogacy benefits heterosexual and gay couples as well as single men and women.
Heterosexual couples, female couples or single women may need surrogacy because of medical conditions that preclude pregnancy. These conditions can include cancer, autoimmune diseases, blood disorders, or kidney diseases. An intended mother may have a nonfunctioning uterus, a uterus malformation or had a hysterectomy. Additionally, she may have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss caused by poor egg quality or an unknown implantation failure.
Male couples and single men turn to surrogacy because they want to have a baby with their own genetics, using their sperm and donated eggs.
What is the surrogacy process?
The surrogacy process has seven parts and starts after a consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist. During this meeting the doctor will review any medical records and schedule all necessary tests.
The clinic experts willclosely guide intended parents and answer all their questions, including about possible uncertainties before and during the process.
1) Matching process
Our clinic refers prospective parents to highly respected surrogacy agencies that will coordinate the process. The agency helps in matching intended parent(s) with appropriate candidates who have similar goals and expectations about the surrogacy experience. The surrogacy agency will collaborate with clinic professionals and the IPs to manage surrogate treatment throughout the pregnancy and until the baby is born.
American Fertility Services will proceed with the surrogate’s medical tests and psychological screening (if not conducted by the agency).
Carrier screening Includes:
- Complete obstetrical and gynecological records review by an AFS physician
- Consultation with the AFS physician
- Infectious disease blood work for the gestational carrier and her partner
- Physical examination
- Saline sonohysterogram uterine test
- Psychological screening with a mental health professional
Once all pertinent records have been cleared, all testing results are approved, and legal clearance has been received, the designated coordinator will schedule the transfer cycle.
3) The contract
Before starting surrogacy, we require all approved documentation. Reproductive attorneys will draft legal agreements between the intended parent(s), gestational carrier, and egg or sperm donors.
The physician and AFS team will meet to review all test results, documents, signed consents, and legal clearance from the surrogacy agency.
4) Starting the surrogate’s cycle
AFS staff will coordinate the cycle start date for the surrogate, including the embryo transfer date. The transferred embryos can be “fresh” or “frozen”. During a fresh embryo cycle, the AFS team will synchronize the egg donor and female intended parent cycles. The team will prepare the surrogate’s uterus to receive the embryos at the appropriate time.
5) Embryo transfer
Under ultrasound guidance, the doctors will transfer the intended parent(s) embryo(s) into the surrogate’s uterus through the cervix to achieve a pregnancy.
6) Pregnancy test
The gestational carrier will take a blood pregnancy test (HCG) 12-14 days after her embryo transfer to confirm the pregnancy.
7) Pregnancy follow-up
The clinic will manage the gestational carrier for roughly eight to ten weeks following her positive pregnancy test. After that, the surrogate is transferred to the obstetrician who will monitor fetal development and pregnancy until birth All medical records will be forwarded to named OB office.