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All About Surrogacy

03.22.2021 / Isabella Brown
All About Surrogacy

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.

What It Is    The Process    Why It's Important

What Is Surrogacy?

Surrogacy is a method of assisted reproduction in which a surrogate carries the offspring of intended parents until birth.

Traditional vs. Gestational Surrogacy

In traditional surrogacy, the carrier was genetically linked to the offspring using the carrier's egg.

In gestational surrogacy, the carrier is not genetically linked to the offspring.

In 1999, less than 750 babies a year were born through gestational surgery; by 2013, that number grew to over 3,4000, according to Dr. Roohi Jeelani, CMO, Business Development and Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) at Kindbody.

Today, the vast majority of surrogacy arrangements are gestational surrogacy agreements. 

The Surrogacy Process

In the surrogacy process, 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, the parent(s) consult various professionals 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.

Why is the Surrogacy Process Important? 

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," Dr. Jeelani says. "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.” 

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.

>>RELATED: Learn about other LGBTQ Family Building Options.

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