A Gestational Carrier and Surrogacy Q&A for Couples

Photo Credit: cacophonyx from Flickr (James)

Picking a Gestational Carrier is No Simple Task

Choosing to have a gestational carrier is a very personal decision that takes most couples a significant amount of time to decide upon. The process of choosing surrogacy or a gestational carrier as the way to have a baby simply requires a lot research and planning on the part of the couple. A couple considering this option may have a lot of questions regarding how to do it legally and safely. There are also emotional factors that the couple must consider before deciding if surrogacy is the right option for them.

What are Gestational Carriers and Surrogacy?

Gestational carriers and surrogates have separate meanings. A gestational carrier is a woman who carries a baby for a couple who is unable to have children of their own. A surrogate is a woman who not only carries a baby for another couple, but also donates one of her eggs for the pregnancy.

Why would a Couple Choose a Gestational Carrier or a Surrogate?

A couple may choose a gestational carrier if the woman is unable to carry a baby, because of damage or abnormalities of her uterus or fallopian tube. Couples might choose to use a surrogate if the woman has a genetic disorder, premature ovarian failure or has gone through menopause. There are couples who may choose either option if the woman has an illness which would make it dangerous for her to carry a baby, such as Lupus, cancer or cardiac disease.

How can a Couple Find a Surrogacy Agency?

Most couples locate a gestational carrier or a surrogate through agencies in their state. Looking through online directories and the phone book will provide parents with a large list of agencies in their area. There are a few factors that parents should consider before deciding on a surrogacy agency. The agency should have a good reputation, a long history and proof of success stories. It is also important that the agency screens all surrogates and gestational carriers for medical disorders, psychological disorders and a criminal history. Agencies should be willing to give couples a detailed estimate of the costs and fees that will be involved in the process. Couples may wish to compare the cost of different agencies to find a price that meets their budget. It is also important that the agency follows the laws for surrogacy in the couple’s state.

What are the Laws Surrounding Surrogacy?

Each state has its own set of laws regarding surrogacy and gestational carriers. Some states do not have laws that actually address surrogacy, while others have laws that make surrogacy illegal. Surrogacy.com has a list of each state in the US, and what laws each state has regarding surrogacy. Couples should also contact a lawyer to discuss what type of contract should be in place between the couple and the gestational carrier or surrogate.

How is the Procedure Done?

If a couple chooses a gestational carrier, the woman’s eggs will be harvested and a sample of her partner’s sperm will be collected. The egg and sperm will be fertilized in a laboratory, and then implanted into the carrier at a certain time during her menstrual cycle. With surrogacy, the man’s sperm will be collected and placed into the surrogate’s uterus through a process known as artificial insemination. In both cases, the gestational carrier or the surrogate will be checked to ensure she has become pregnant. She will then carry the baby to term, and the baby will be given to the couple after delivery.

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