For some women, it’s simply not an option to carry their own child — but through the help of a third-party carrier and in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology, it can still be possible to achieve their dreams of having a biological child.
A woman who has any type of medical condition that prevents her from carrying a pregnancy to term may wish to consider IVF surrogacy. This includes women who have a missing or malformed uterus, certain immunological disorders or any disease that makes pregnancy unreasonably risky. However, in order to use a gestational carrier, the woman must have a useable supply of eggs for fertilization.
A gestational carrier is a woman who volunteers to carry a pregnancy for another couple. Unlike traditional surrogacy arrangements, a gestational carrier has no genetic connection to the child she carries.
In order to become a gestational carrier, a woman must have experienced at least one full-term live birth and be free of physical or mental conditions that could pose a risk to herself or the fetus during pregnancy.
Gestational carriage arrangements begin with a thorough screening and matching process, followed by legal agreements to ensure that the goals of all parties are protected.
IVF with a gestational carrier begins with a process known as cycle synchronization. Both women are given medications to control the progression of their menstrual cycles and bring them into sync so that the carrier’s uterus is ready to receive the embryos when they are ready to be transferred.
The intended mother undergoes ovulation induction and egg retrieval, just as she would for standard in vitro fertilization. Once her embryos are ready, they are transferred to the uterus of the gestational carrier.
In most of these arrangements, the parents stay in contact with the gestational carrier, providing support throughout the pregnancy.