A gestational surrogate is a woman who carries a pregnancy for someone else. A close relative, lifetime friend, or complete stranger working with an agency may choose to serve as your surrogate. Legal issues abound when it comes to gestational surrogacy and can vary significantly by state. It’s recommended you speak with an attorney familiar with surrogacy issues in your state, as well as the state in which your surrogate resides if she's in a different than your own.
Many reasons cause individuals to turn to gestational surrogacy as their answer for having a child, including:
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is used to develop viable embryos. The embryos are then transferred to the gestational surrogate, who carries the pregnancy to term. The embryos may be developed from the intended mother’s eggs and father’s sperm or with an egg and sperm donor. Genetic screening and other IVF procedures can be combined with gestational surrogacy.
Rather than the anonymity typically reserved for egg and sperm donors, the intended parents remain involved with the gestational surrogate and are an active part of the pregnancy. The intended parents are present during labor and receive the baby shortly after birth.
There is typically monetary compensation for being a gestational carrier, but women who become surrogates typically do so for altruistic reasons. A surrogate may be a close family member or friend who wants to help a “kindred soul” experience the joys of being a mom. Women who sign on with an agency often report the same noble feelings. Some who have experienced pregnancy themselves are motivated by their enjoyment of the physical aspects of pregnancy as well.
Regardless of your relationship to the intended parents, all gestational carriers undergo blood tests, a comprehensive medical evaluation that includes a thorough gynecologic evaluation, as well as genetic testing and psychological screening. You’ll also experience the medical aspects of IVF, such as hormonal therapy to prepare you for embryonic transfer, diagnostic studies, and eventual labor and delivery.
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