Surrogacy is an extraordinary gift and a life-altering experience. Women who choose to become surrogates do so out of sincere compassion to help a loving couple or individual have a child. They realize that nothing fulfills a person’s life more than being part of a family.
The surrogacy process creates an intimate link that binds the lives of the intended parents, the surrogate and the child. The relationship created through the surrogacy process is one that Surrogacy Solutions takes exceptional care to respect and maintain throughout the journey. It is this respect that ensures a positive experience from the matching stage through the birth of the child.
Surrogacy continues to be successful in ensuring that everyone is fulfilled by this process. We do this by choosing the best doctors in the country so that we can continue to maintain the highest pregnancy success rates of any agency. We also screen intended parents before they enter our program to make sure that they are truly aware of the expectations of being a good parent. We expect them to be supportive of their child and of each other. We want them to not only think about the journey itself but their child’s future.
Our primary goals are to provide the kind of support that takes into consideration the expectations of the intended parents and surrogate and to foster a meaningful relationship that will have a lasting impact throughout the life of the child.
Traditional surrogacy is the process by which a woman – not the intended mother of the child – becomes pregnant with the sperm of the intended father through artificial insemination. The insemination is performed at the time of the surrogate’s natural ovulation. In some instances, a physician may prescribe an oral medication to the surrogate to ensure that ovulation occurs.
The traditional surrogate mother donates her egg for the use of the intended parents in creating their child. There is a genetic tie to the father, but not to the intended mother. Medical expenses for traditional surrogacy are dramatically less than gestational surrogacy, which involves harvesting eggs from the intended mother or a donor and fertilization outside of the surrogate’s body. Gestational surrogacy can offer the possibility of genetic links to both parents.
Oftentimes, persons using traditional surrogacy are those who are age 50 and over. This is because it is more difficult for intended parents in that age bracket to secure the services of a treating physician for the in vitro fertilization services required for gestational surrogacy. Because any physician can perform artificial insemination, the intended parents are free of the age limitations typically imposed by a physician specializing in infertility. Even so, intended parents of any age will benefit from traditional surrogacy if they are not in a position to utilize the eggs of the intended mother or one of her relatives, because of the substantial lower medical expenses.
Gestational surrogacy is the process by which intended parents use either the intended mother’s own eggs or donated eggs to create a child with the intended father’s sperm or donor sperm through in vitro fertilization. The surrogate becomes pregnant by transfer of some of the embryos into her uterus on the third or fifth day after the eggs are harvested and fertilized. The surrogate mother makes no genetic contribution to the creation of the child. Donated eggs are usually from anonymous donors, but some physicians will permit intended parents to accept eggs from the sister or other relatives of the intended mother, or another person known to the intended parents. With many infertility physicians, the eggs can be fertilized by injecting a single sperm into each egg if the intended father’s sperm count or quality is poor, and donor sperm may be utilized if necessary. The embryos not used in the first transfer are then frozen for potential later use by the intended parents.
Couples using gestational surrogacy to create their family often do so because the intended mother has good egg quality, but simply cannot carry a child due to uterine problems, such as misshapen uterus, poor lining or uterine cavity quality, endometriosis, placenta accreta or increta from a prior pregnancy, or removal of the uterus. With a gestational surrogacy in that situation, the intended parents will be the genetic mother and father of their child when the intended father’s sperm is used. Additionally, even where the intended mother’s eggs cannot be used in a gestational surrogacy, regardless of whether the intended father’s sperm can be used, some couples are more comfortable with gestational surrogacy through an anonymous egg donation rather than traditional surrogacy where the surrogate would have a genetic link to their child.
A woman desiring to be an egg donor provides several eggs during one cycle to the intended parents to help them create their child. Egg donation is highly desirable for intended parents, regardless of whether the intended mother or a gestational surrogate will ultimately carry the pregnancy because the donated eggs belong solely to the intended parents immediately when the doctor harvests them from the egg donor’s ovaries. The egg donor has no claim or control over the eggs or resulting embryos, regardless of whether they will be fertilized with the sperm of the intended father or donor sperm, and regardless of whether the resulting embryos will be transferred to the uterus of the intended mother or a gestational surrogate.
The egg donor receives injections of fertility drugs for seven to ten days to create multiple eggs at once for the intended parents, with a final injection of another hormone to cause the eggs to mature. Egg retrieval takes place in the operating room, usually while the donor is awake but under sedation. General anesthesia is available with some physicians so that the egg donor will not be awake. The eggs are aspirated directly from the donor’s ovaries, which are usually accessed vaginally under ultrasound guidance. Embryos resulting from the egg donation and not transferred to the uterus of the intended mother or a surrogate by day three or five are frozen for the intended parents.