It’s both common and normal for couples to need help building a family. However, with the power of modern technology, perseverance, and love, it can be possible to have the child of your dreams!
Gestational surrogacy is a beautiful opportunity to make dreams come true. In this article, we’ll explain the process of gestational surrogacy, its benefits, what you can expect, and the emotional aspects of the journey.
What is Gestational Surrogacy?
Gestational surrogacy is a process in which a child is carried and birthed by a surrogate who does not have a biological relationship with the child. Usually, at least one of the intended parents has a genetic relationship to the child, while the gestational surrogate does not. This is made possible with an embryo transfer. Stepparent or second-parent adoption is not required.
There are many benefits of gestational surrogacy. It may be a great option for you if:
- You struggle with infertility
- You are a single parent looking to extend your family
- You are in a same-sex relationship
- You are unable to safely carry a pregnancy to term
- You prefer not to have a genetic link between your child and your surrogate
Benefits of Surrogacy
- Sharing a genetic connection to your child — Even when you use a gestational carrier, you can still share a genetic connection with your child. This is an important factor to many intended parents.
With the use of gestational surrogacy, either you, your partner, or both will play a role in the genetic make-up of your child. This gives couples an opportunity to carry on family legacies, as well as feeling fulfilled in their parental decisions.
- An opportunity to grow — Both adoption and gestational surrogacy are great methods of growing your family. However, gestational surrogacy gives couples a chance to grow their family on their own terms. Throughout the process, you are usually more involved.
Throughout your gestational surrogacy journey, you will have a clear understanding of what you can expect. This can include realistic timelines, costs, the pregnancy, and even the birth if you choose to be present at that time. This within itself can relieve a lot of stress for intended parents.
- A lower chance of unpleasant surprises — When you choose to start and complete your gestational surrogacy journey with a trusted agency, you are less likely to have unpleasant surprises. An experienced agency will ensure that all of the proper legal documents are in place, and they will connect you with a professional lawyer who has experience in this line of work. This ensures both the safety and security of both the surrogate and intended parents.
From the very beginning, you will only be matched with surrogates who share your preferences. Intended parents and surrogates get to decide how often they would like to meet and speak. Your agency will make sure that everyone is comfortable with the level of involvement they will have. This allows for a smoother and more fulfilling gestational surrogacy process.
- The potential for high levels of involvement — Many intended parents want to be involved with the pregnancy and even the birth. This involvement helps intended parents grow an even deeper connection to their child and may provide an even more fulfilling experience.
That being said, while staying involved, it is also important to avoid micromanaging your surrogate. This can lead to unnecessary stress for both the surrogate and intended parents. Enjoy being closely involved in the development of your child while also giving your surrogate the space she needs to healthily and safely carry the pregnancy to term.
- The opportunity to build meaningful relationships — If you choose to stay in contact with your surrogate, this can be a great opportunity to build a meaningful relationship. As well as enjoying the surrogate pregnancy experience together, you can also continue to stay involved in one another’s lives, which can be extremely fulfilling.
- High success rates — Although success rates vary according to many factors, gestational surrogacy success rates are fairly high. IVF treatment typically has a 75% success rate. If a surrogate successfully conceives with IVF, there’s a 95% chance of a healthy pregnancy and birth. These rates most certainly put the odds in your favor.
- An amazing range of surrogate candidates — Before you even meet them, surrogate candidates are very carefully chosen. Professional agencies perform a very thorough screening process before selecting each potential surrogate.
Surrogates need to have a proven track record of at least one healthy pregnancy and birth. They are typically between the ages of 21-39. Their body mass index must be under 32. They must be healthy, non-smokers, and have no history of drug use. Carriers are also required to be financially stable without government assistance.
What to Expect
The process of gestational surrogacy is a beautiful journey. Both the intended parents and the surrogate will go through an extensive process, which will include:
- Screening — The agency will thoroughly screen each candidate, ensuring that she is in good physical and mental health. They will also gain an understanding of her lifestyle, passions, and reasons for choosing this journey.
- Matchmaking — Agencies go above and beyond to make the right match for each set of intended parents and surrogates. This match is essential to the success of the gestational surrogacy journey. The agency strives to ensure that both parties have the same expectations, desires, and needs.
Intended parents who prefer to have consistent communication with their surrogate will not be matched with a surrogate who prefers only to speak during doctor’s visits. To help ensure a positive journey, it is always best that everyone is on the same page.
- Legal documents — During this process, it is important that both parties are protected. It is also important that both parties know what to expect before, during, and after the pregnancy.
Typically, both the intended parents and surrogate will meet with a lawyer from the very beginning of the process. Having the proper legal documents in place is a great benefit for the intended parents, surrogate, and the unborn child.
- An embryo transfer — In the gestational surrogacy journey, an embryo will be created and transferred to the surrogate. Either one of the intended parents or an egg donor will provide the eggs needed to create the embryo. If needed, your agency will help you find an egg donor who meets your family’s needs. These eggs will be fertilized by an intended parent’s or a donor’s sperm.
After one or more embryos are created, the surrogate will then receive either one or more embryos. If an embryo is successfully implanted into the uterus, the surrogate will then carry the child to term. At this point, the most beautiful and exciting part of the journey begins!
- Timelines — The entire gestational surrogacy process from start to finish can take up to two years. This timeline includes everything from beginning to end: connecting with a trusted agency, screening, legal documents, IVF treatment, pregnancy, and birth.
- Will I feel sad? — The process of gestational surrogacy can come with a wide range of emotions for both the intended parents and the surrogate. If one or both of the intended parents are female, they may feel grief or sadness over not becoming pregnant themselves. These feelings are very normal. It’s okay to accept these feelings and examine what they mean to you. Never feel shame or doubt if you need to reach out to a medical professional to discuss your feelings.
After accepting your feelings and seeking professional help, try to focus on the positive. Although you are not carrying the pregnancy, you are finally getting the opportunity to build your dream family. Pregnancy can be emotionally and physically exhausting. While you are supporting your surrogate, you can rest and get thoroughly ready to enjoy your baby when they come home.
- How should I feel about my surrogate? — How you feel about your surrogate is totally unique to you. You may have a formal business relationship, or you may feel like soul mates who have finally connected, or you could fall anywhere in between. The most important part of the relationship you have with your surrogate is that it is trusting, respectful, and positive.
- How do I know that my Surrogate is emotionally mature? — Emotional maturity is a big factor when you are building a family through gestational surrogacy. Your agency will take care of this part for you.
Before you are introduced to your Surrogate and before they are even accepted as a candidate, they are thoroughly screened. This screening includes both mental and physical aspects. Your agency will ensure that your Surrogate is emotionally mature and responsible enough to gracefully handle the process of gestational surrogacy.
Family building through gestational surrogacy is an amazing opportunity to grow the family you’ve always wanted. When you begin and complete this journey with a professional and experienced agency, you can enjoy a high success rate, and you’ll likely have a smooth and enjoyable process. Choosing to begin a gestational surrogacy journey can help you build the family of your dreams.