A gestational carrier is a woman who becomes pregnant by means of IVF using eggs from an egg donor or from the intended mother. In gestational surrogacy, the woman who becomes pregnant is not genetically related to the baby. The egg is fertilized with sperm from the father, and the embryo is then implanted into the gestational surrogate’s uterus.
CHOOSING A SURROGATE
Some people choose a gestational carrier who is a friend or family member. Others decide to go through a surrogacy agency to find one. In either case, there are some important considerations to take into account before choosing a gestational carrier.
1. THE GESTATIONAL CARRIER’S HEALTH
Couples should consider the gestational carrier’s medical history. Intended parents should have full access to all available information including blood tests and general health screening. Surrogates should also have a pap smear, STD tests, drug screening, and a uterine check. Intended parents should also find out if the person has had any previous pregnancies or miscarriages.
2. THE COST OF A GESTATIONAL CARRIER
The surrogacy process can be expensive. There are many factors to consider, such as the agency fees, the compensation for the carrier, and health and life insurance costs. Then there is also the cost of psychological screening, egg donation, medical expenses, monitoring, and travel costs.
3. THE LEGAL ISSUES
The exact legal issues surrounding gestational surrogacy vary from state to state. Intended parents should look up the laws in the home state. Receiving legal counsel prior to choosing a gestational carrier is recommended.
4. WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP?
Intended parents should think through what kind of relationship to have with the surrogate after the baby is born. Some parents wish the gestational carrier to become an integral part of the child’s life. Others may prefer that the relationship ends once the child is born. Discussing the nature of the relationship with the surrogate at the beginning will help make the transition as easy as possible for everyone involved.
CONSIDER ALL OPTIONS
People who are considering a gestational carrier are looking for someone who can be trusted with the first nine months of the baby’s life. Parents-to-be who seek a gestational carrier through an agency should ask about a screening procedure for surrogates. Talking to parents who have used a gestational carrier before can also help. Couples seeking IVF treatment with or without a gestational carrier can speak with a fertility specialist.