When a couple or individual is unable to achieve conception on their own or carry out a successful pregnancy for medical reasons they may seek the assistance of a surrogate to fulfill their desire for children.
A surrogate is a woman who is willing and capable of fostering a healthy pregnancy and delivery specifically for the couple/intended parent. Surrogates are thoroughly screened to assure that they are fit to perform this invaluable deed in a safe, stable environment. This includes the presence of a previous successful pregnancy, background checks, a psychological evaluation, a thorough interview and home visit by agency personnel, blood screenings that rule out any sexually transmitted diseases or drug use of any kind (as well as any sexual partners/spouse), and current lab reports that testify to the health and condition of the uterus and cervix.
If a couple decides they would like to move forward in conceiving a child through surrogacy the intended parents can view profiles of potential suitors and select the candidate they feel most comfortable with. Before the process begins of initiating medication and setting doctor appointments, the intended parents and the surrogate will meet in person to confirm their decision in working together.
There are two kinds of surrogates, a traditional surrogate and a gestational carrier. In the case of gestational surrogacy an embryo is implanted into the uterus of the surrogate carrier through the process of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Her body is prepared months in advance through hormone assistance and uterine wall lining check to be particularly receptive at the time of transfer. The embryo itself offers many options to the intended parents in its construction.
Parents that have always dreamed of offspring that reflect their own characteristics and behaviors and that of their family lineage find gestational surrogacy quite favorable. An embryo, or multiple embryos, can be created using the intended parents’ genetic material; Ova/eggs retrieved from the intended mother are then fertilized with the sperm of the intended father and placed into the uterus of the surrogate. Given that the embryo is made up of the couple’s complete genetic material the results are a fully biologically related child, despite not having birthed the child themselves.
Once the child is born, no trace of any third party assistance will remain. If the intended parents cannot use their own genetic material or wish to seek that of a donor, the embryo can also be a combination of genetic material in all of the following ways: (1) the intended mother’s egg and donor sperm (2) donor egg and intended father’s sperm, or (3) donor egg and donor sperm. Regardless of whether the intended parents (also referred to as commissioning couple) choose to have a biologically related child or use a donor, in the case of gestational surrogacy any child born of this arrangement bares no genetic ties to the surrogate carrier herself. While she will remain the “birth mother” she will not be the biological mother nor accept any responsibility in raising any resulting child(ren).