Surrogacy is one of many fertility treatments by which a surrogate mother (gestational carrier) carries the pregnancy and gives birth to the baby of the intended parents. This procedure is very complex and involves a great amount of an ethical, emotional and personal perspective.
According to how the surrogate mother achieves pregnancy we identify two types of surrogacy:
• Traditional surrogacy: During traditional surrogacy, the surrogate donates her own egg and becomes genetically related to the baby-to-be. Intrauterine insemination with the intended father´s sperm is commonly used through the process.
• Gestational surrogacy: Surrogate mother´s egg is not used in order to create an embryo, therefore, the gestational surrogate is not genetically related. In this method, the intended mother provides her egg or if needed an egg donor can be used.
Because traditional surrogacy arises greater emotional and ethical controversy, most of the countries, which allow this kind of fertility treatment, only permit surrogacy without the surrogate being related to the baby-to-be aka gestational surrogacy.
Who might need surrogacy?
The groups of patients who often find surrogacy necessary in their family building process are straight couples, single women and lesbian couples diagnosed with:
• An absence of the uterus (Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome)
• Uterine malformations or alterations (such as Müllerian agenesis, Unicornuate uterus, Uterus didelphys, Bicornuate uterus, Septate uterus or Arcuate uterus)
• Diseases and conditions preventing women from becoming pregnant because of the
baby´s or mother´s health risks
• Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL)
• Repeated IVF failure (RIF)
Also, single men and same-sex male partners can build or grow their family through surrogacy. By using their reproductive cells, surrogacy is the only way that allows them to be genetically related to their child since the male body is not anatomically equipped for fetal development.