When a woman is unable to carry a baby due to physiological restrictions, she may use a gestational surrogate (GS). Thesurrogate functions just as the embryo recipient in the above egg donation example. Many times, the intended mother provides the eggs. In other cases, a couple may use an egg donor in conjunction with the surrogate. The intended parents may use an outside agency to find a surrogate, or may find a known surrogate within their circle of family and friends. Typically, there is a legal agreement drafted and signed by the surrogate and the intended parents. Again, since there is a large amount of coordination to be done, the IVF clinic needs to be intimately involved and familiar with the process in order to manage a donor/surrogate cycle effectively.
We work closely with a number of established egg donor/surrogacy agencies and can provide referrals.
With gestational surrogacy, one or more embryos derived from the patient's eggs and her partner's sperm is transferred into the uterus of a surrogate. The surrogate in effect provides a host womb but does not contribute genetically. In spite of original ethical, moral, and medical legal reservations, gestational surrogacy has now gained widespread social acceptance.
Candidates for IVF surrogacy can be divided into two groups:
(1) women that do not have a uterus capable of carrying a pregnancy to term and
(2) women who cannot safely undertake a pregnancy because of medical conditions or illnesses.
The process involves the genetic parents undergoing a thorough clinical, psychological, and laboratory assessment prior to selecting a surrogate. This is to exclude sexually transmitted diseases that might be carried to the surrogate at the time of embryo transfer. They are also counseled on the many issues confronting all IVF candidates such as the possibility of multiple births, ectopic pregnancy, and miscarriage. All legal issues pertaining to custody and the rights of the biological parents as well as the surrogate are discussed in detail and the appropriate consent forms are completed. It is advisable for the surrogate and the genetic parents to obtain separate legal counsel, in order to avoid a conflict of interest that would arise were one attorney to counsel both parties.