Understanding Different Types of Surrogacy
This type is usually the less costly form, however is also less common. The surrogate mother is impregnated with semen from the intended father or sperm donor and uses her own eggs. This means that the surrogate mother is genetically related to the child. The insemination procedure can be conducted at home, using an insemination kit, or can be performed by a fertility clinic.
The more popular and effective method, this procedure involves in vitro fertilization (IVF) with the eggs of the intended mother or those of an egg donor. This means that the surrogate mother is not genetically related to the child. Because this method is more complicated medically, it tends to be more expensive than traditional surrogacy. There are three stages to gestational surrogacy:
- Egg donation—either the intended mother or the egg donor undergoes an egg retrieval procedure.
- Fertilization—the egg is fertilized with semen in the laboratory to create embryos.
- Transfer—the fertilized egg, or embryo, is implanted into the surrogate mother’s womb. This is often referred to as an embryo transfer, or just transfer.
A fertilized egg may be transferred to the surrogate either when it is freshly fertilized, or after it has been taken from cryogenic storage and thawed. In order to prepare for a fresh embryo transfer, the intended mother or egg donor and the surrogate must take hormone pills at the same time to synchronize their cycles. In a situation where the embryos have been thawed, some fertility clinics recommend that the surrogate take hormone medication to prepare the lining of her uterus for the transfer.
The success rate of IVF depends on a number of factors such as the age and health of the woman providing the eggs. Both types of surrogacy are just as safe as traditional pregnancy providing that the surrogate mother undergoes a thorough health screening.