Becoming a Surrogate Mother for a Cancer Survivor
While it’s clear why gay couples or single men choose surrogacy to help build or grow their families, there are many reasons a heterosexual couples or single women may need the assistance of a surrogate. Some reasons may include:
- Uterine issues, including extensive fibroids, or uterine scarring
- Pre-existing health conditions, including heart or kidney issues that can make pregnancy dangerous
- Previous pregnancy problems, such as cervical incompetence and severe preeclampsia
- A hysterectomy due to cancer of the cervix, uterus, or ovaries
How Cancer Treatments Impact Infertility
Cancer can impact woman’s fertility if it directly affects her reproductive system. When a woman’s reproductive system is altered or removed during a hysterectomy, she will likely be left unable to carry her own child.
Other forms of cancer not directly impacting the reproductive system can also have an effect on a woman’s fertility. Chemotherapy drugs and hormone therapies can damage a woman’s eggs and decrease fertility. Radiation targeted at the abdomen or pelvis is especially problematic because ovaries can absorb too much during the treatment. Doctors believe this radiation can destroy eggs within the ovaries. The extremity of radiation’s impact will depend on a variety of factors including a woman’s age, egg reserve, and individual response to the treatment. Some forms of radiation may lead to temporary infertility, while others have side effects that may be irreversible.
The side effects of permanent infertility can be especially oppressive to cancer survivors who want to build or grow their families. These women may turn to assisted reproductive technologies. When they do, chances are highly likely that they are going to need help from a surrogate or egg donor.