Finding out you’re unable to become pregnant and bear a child is a difficult place to be. Especially if you’ve yearned for the experience and hoped to become a mother one day. Once you wrap your head around the news the oft-used phrase “new normal” begins its echo and you look into other options for having a child, such as surrogacy.
There are many different reasons a woman may not be able to carry a pregnancy herself. A previous hysterectomy, a disease affecting the uterus such as adhesions, fibroids or congenital malformation may interfere with pregnancy. There are also some women with conditions making pregnancy life-threatening or who have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss. Whether you were recently blindsided by the news or understood you would have this hurdle in your way, you do have options.
When people refer to a “surrogate” it generally means a gestational carrier who is supporting a pregnancy in her uterus for a couple using their own eggs (or from an egg donor) and sperm. A true surrogate (traditional surrogacy) uses her own egg and the sperm of the father, which is no longer an acceptable option. This particular situation is both legally and psychologically confusing and is usually not the ideal solution. Here we take a look at the types of surrogates available.
As described above, a gestational surrogate is when the genetic material of both parents is used to create an embryo, via IVF, which is implanted into a woman who is not genetically connected to the pregnancy. If the intended mother or father is not able to use their own genetic material, a sperm or egg donor is used.
Finding a Gestational Surrogate
There are a few different ways to select your surrogate. Of course it can be an overwhelming task but if you take a step back and review your options you will be able to find the ideal woman to partner with you on your journey to grow your family.
Family and Friends
Some couples seek out family members, or friends, who are willing to help. This is actually a fairly common practice for finding a gestational carrier and your physician can provide resources for you and you prospective surrogate to review.
For male same sex couples, using a family member as both surrogate and egg donor can provide the child a genetic connection to both parents. It can become tricky, however, so you will need to consult a surrogacy attorney prior to pregnancy to make sure everyone is on the same page going forward.
Classified Ads and Online Support Groups
Searching online for, well, just about anything you need these days is the way to go and there are certainly a slew of online sources. But, as with anything on the internet, you need to be very careful! Most doctors would discourage you from doing this due to safety issues. There is a lot of responsibility to finding a surrogate this way. You must do all the vetting, and you need to thoroughly vet the prospective surrogate. You will need to seek out legal assistance. You will need to set up a screening to ensure the health of your prospective surrogate. You can’t leave any stone unturned when using the services of an independent surrogate or there is a potential for some serious heartache.
Attorney Specializing in Surrogacy
Although slightly less legally complicated than seeking a gestational surrogate via the internet, a surrogacy attorney means you will need to do much of the searching on your own. Attorneys who specialize in surrogacy are often connected to a network of surrogacy attorneys as well as clinics and agencies. They typically don’t offer services for matching intended parents with prospective surrogates unless they are part of such a network.
By far the safest and most professional way to find a woman who will play a significant role in helping grow your family is by employing the services of a surrogacy agency. These people specialize is finding the right gestational surrogate. All of the intricate and overwhelming details of the process are taken care of and your relationship with your surrogate is front and center.
Your surrogate will have been fully vetted, physically sound, emotionally sound and will understand the terms of her role going into the arrangement.
A Reliable Way to Grow Your Family
Gestational surrogacy is a reliable way for you and your partner to grow your family. If you can’t carry a pregnancy for whatever reason, speak to your physician about the possibility of using a gestational surrogate.