In some instances, women have barriers to carrying a pregnancy and in vitro fertilization using a gestational carrier is an appropriate treatment. Some of these barriers include, uterine issues associated with surgery or cancer, medical problems that pose danger to either the mother or baby during pregnancy, or a biologic inability to carry a pregnancy such as a male couple.
What is a Gestational Carrier?
The gestational carrier, or surrogate, is a healthy woman who has volunteered to carry a pregnancy for the intended parents. This type of treatment involves a cycle of in vitro fertilization where sperm and eggs are obtained from the intended parents and embryos are created in the laboratory. These embryos are then implanted into the gestational carrier to establish a pregnancy. The gestational carrier does not have any biologic connection to the fetus she is carrying.
Choosing a Gestational Carrier
The gestational carrier undergoes a rigorous screening process to make certain she is medically and emotionally healthy enough for this process. These women are often paid professional gestational carriers and are represented by local agencies, but can also be family members or friends who volunteer. Attorneys establish contracts on behalf of both the intended parents and the gestational carrier that formalizes the relationship. A “pre-birth” order is also filed with the court to legally establish the parentage of the fetus. Your infertility physician will help you determine if you are a candidate for gestational carrier IVF and help you navigate the process.