IVF Surrogacy with a Gestational Carrier
Women who have healthy, viable eggs but, for medical reasons, are unable to carry a pregnancy to term can benefit from using a gestational carrier. Using IVF technology, we are able to fertilize the woman's eggs with her husband's sperm and transfer the resulting embryo(s) to the uterus of a volunteer carrier, who will carry the pregnancy and return the child to the genetic parents at birth. Unlike traditional surrogacy arrangements, the gestational carrier is not genetically related to the child she carries. This procedure, one of many options offered by our Chicago, Illinois practice, is often called IVF surrogacy or gestational surrogacy.
- The Process for IVF Surrogacy
There are many conditions that may make it impossible for a woman to carry a pregnancy to term. An absent, malformed, or non-functioning uterus will prevent a woman from becoming pregnant, even if her egg supply is good and her hormonal system is functioning normally. Some women who have a functional uterus may have a condition that can make pregnancy dangerous or even life threatening. In these cases, IVF surrogacy is an excellent option.
The Process for IVF Surrogacy
The process for IVF surrogacy is similar to that of IVF with egg donation. The patient must be matched with a gestational carrier, both must be thoroughly screened, their menstrual cycles must be synchronized, and then the actual in vitro fertilization process can begin.
During the initial stages of IVF surrogacy, the parents and the gestational carrier, as well as the gestational carrier's husband or partner, must complete a thorough screening process. This will include an examination of each potential participant's medical records, an in-depth psychological evaluation, and physical medical testing. The parties must also meet with legal counsel to draw up a contract that can be agreed upon by everyone involved and adhered to throughout the process.
While an egg donor's participation is more or less complete after the oocytes are collected and the egg donor is almost always anonymous, a gestational carrier must forge a relationship with the parents of the child she is carrying and remain in contact with them throughout the pregnancy. Therefore, in addition to a thorough medical and psychological screening for the parents, the gestational carrier, and the gestational carrier's partner, multiple interviews and evaluations should also take place between the parties to ensure that they fully understand all aspects of participation in this type of surrogacy program and that there are no differences of opinion that may jeopardize the relationship.
Cycle Synchronization and Ovulation Induction
After all agreements have been made, the first step in the IVF surrogacy process is to synchronize the menstrual cycles of both the genetic mother and the gestational carrier. This is accomplished with the use of a medication to suppress the natural hormonal processes of the carrier and replacement hormones to mimic the various stages of a normal cycle in a controlled manner. The genetic mother is then prescribed fertility medications to stimulate follicular development and induce the maturation of several eggs at once.
In Vitro Fertilization
When the two women's cycles are well synchronized and the mother's eggs are ready to be collected, an egg retrieval procedure will be performed and the eggs will be combined with sperm from the father and monitored over the next three to five days. When embryo development has been confirmed, two or three of the embryos are transferred to the uterus of the gestational carrier. Any remaining embryos can be cryopreserved for future IVF surrogacy cycles in case implantation is unsuccessful.
Lotus Blossum Consulting
Lotus Blossum Consulting is one of the Gestational Surrogacy programs I highly recommend.
IVF surrogacy is unique in that the gestational carrier is expected to stay in contact with the parents throughout the pregnancy. Likewise, the genetic parents are expected to provide support and maintain a relationship with the carrier until after delivery of the child. The amount of contact and interaction varies by case and is something that is usually agreed upon in the initial IVF surrogacy contracts.
Contact Our Chicago, Illinois Practice for IVF Surrogacy
If you would like to learn more about our Chicago, Illinois practice or how IVF surrogacy works, please contact Laurence Jacobs, M.D., to schedule a consultation.