Surrogacy is a form of third party reproduction where a woman (surrogate) carries a pregnancy for someone else (intended parent). There are two forms of surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy is where the surrogate is inseminated with the intended father’s sperm or donor sperm. The surrogate then carries the pregnancy and upon delivery, gives the baby to the intended couple.
The second form is gestational surrogacy, where the intended parents undergo IVF using their own gametes (sperm & eggs) or donor gametes to create embryos that are then transferred to the surrogate’s uterus. The surrogate carries the pregnancy and upon delivery, gives the baby to the intended parents. This is the form of surrogacy done at the Reproductive Medicine and Surgery Center of Virginia.
There are several reasons why a couple may choose surrogacy as a means to building a family. This includes women with a malfunctioning or absent uterus, women suffering recurrent pregnancy loss and women with a disease that prohibits pregnancy.
Surrogacy is a complex process. The first step is finding a woman willing to be a surrogate. Some people ask a family member or a friend. Alternatively a surrogate can be located through agencies or internet sites that post classified ads. Once a surrogate is found, complete medical (including disease testing) and psychological screening and counseling must be done. Competent legal advice is necessary to make sure that Virginia law is followed. A contract with the surrogate must be executed before proceeding.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the next step for the intended parents. During the IVF treatment, the surrogate is prepared hormonally in order to be in receptive. The embryos are then transferred to her uterus.
Following are a few informational websites: Organization of Parents Through Surrogacy: www.opts.com; Surrogate Mothers Online: www.surromomsonline.com; A commercial free educational resource on surrogacy: www.everythingsurrogacy.com.