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March is Surrogacy Awareness Month! This month exists to thank all the surrogates, egg donors, healthcare providers, attorneys, and surrogate agencies that help build families. It’s also a time to appreciate the miracle of surrogacy and remember the many ways to become a parent.
Surrogacy is a method of assisted reproduction in which a gestational surrogate carries the offspring of intended parents until birth. In traditional surrogacy, the carrier is genetically linked to the offspring (it was the carrier’s egg). In gestational surrogacy, the carrier is not genetically linked to the offspring. Today, the vast majority of surrogacy arrangements are gestational surrogacy agreements. According to Dr. Roohi Jeelani, Co-Director and Reproductive Endocrinologist at VIOS Fertility states between 1999 and 2013, the use of gestational surrogacy increased from less than 750 per year to over 3,400 in 2013.
The intended parents undergo an IVF cycle to create an embryo, which is transferred to the gestational carrier. Surrogacy can also be done with donated eggs, sperm, or embryos. To ensure a smooth process for all parties, various professionals are consulted before the surrogacy process begins. Reproductive endocrinologists medically evaluate potential surrogates, educate all parties about the benefits and disadvantages of the process, and ensure that the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines are followed. Mental health professionals make sure that potential surrogates are psychologically able to manage the process. Attorneys create contracts and help all parties review and negotiate terms, advice on legal rights, and ensure that everyone understands and agrees to contract terms. Surrogacy agencies review screening information before beginning the process, conduct background checks for surrogates, and work as intermediaries between the carrier and intended parents. All of these professionals help intended parents and surrogates to get the best experience possible.
For many, the path to parenthood is not what they expected. “It can be challenging when couples face unpredictable circumstances such as recurrent pregnancy loss or implantation failure. Typically as an RE I introduce this as a way to help my patients achieve their goal of building a family after I have exhausted all possible treatment options. It’s definitely not an easy choice, but once we get started it helps couples see the light at the end of the tunnel.” Dr. Roohi Jeelani (VIOS Fertility)
“It can be challenging when couples face unpredictable circumstances such as recurrent pregnancy loss or implantation failure. Typically as an RE I introduce this as a way to help my patients achieve their goal of building a family after I have exhausted all possible treatment options. It’s definitely not an easy choice, but once we get started it helps couples see the light at the end of the tunnel.” Dr. Roohi Jeelani
Surrogacy allows those who are struggling with fertility, have an impaired uterus, chronic health issue, cancer, or other health variable to grow their families. It is also an opportunity for LGBTQ+ couples, and those building their family while single, to have a baby. Surrogacy has helped many people to achieve their dream of growing a family.
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