Gestational surrogacy is an arrangement where a woman agrees to carry and bear a child for another person, who will be the legal parent after birth. The child is not genetically related to the surrogate. The embryo is created in IVF with eggs and sperm from the intended parents or from egg and/or sperm donors, and is then transferred to the surrogate who carries it and gives birth.
The arrangement usually involves a legal agreement between the surrogate and the intended parents. Gestational surrogacy makes it possible for people who are unable to carry a baby to have child who is biologically related to them. Surrogacy is relatively new and the laws concerning it vary from state to state. It is illegal in some states.
Heterosexual couples or single women may use surrogacy when the female is unable to carry a child to term. This may be due to repeated miscarriages, absence of a uterus, removal of the uterus in cancer treatment, or structural problems with the uterus. If she still has functioning ovaries, she may be able to provide the eggs for IVF treatment. Same-sex male couples who want to have a biological child will need a gestational carrier and donor eggs to become parents.
What to Expect
People may find a prospective surrogate and negotiate the legal agreement on their own, but most go through a full-service surrogacy agency to locate a surrogate. Both the prospective parents and the surrogate will need attorneys to negotiate the legal agreement and compensation for the surrogate. Once the contracts are signed, a fertility clinic will handle the IVF treatment and transfer of the embryo or embryos to the surrogate.
If the female partner, single female, or an egg donor is providing eggs, she will have to undergo the first stages of IVF treatment in order to stimulate her ovaries to produce multiple eggs. The eggs are fertilized with the male’s sperm or donor sperm, creating embryos for use in IVF. The surrogate is prepared with medications to receive the embryo or embryos, which are then transferred to her uterus. If an embryo implants in her uterus, she becomes pregnant and carries the child to term.
Gestational surrogacy is an expensive process, generally running from $75,000 to $100,000, and usually not covered by insurance. The costs include medical care for the surrogate, counseling, attorneys’ fees, living expenses and compensation for the surrogate, and the costs of assisted reproductive technology. The whole process takes about a year, including the time the surrogate carries the child and gives birth.
The female partner in a heterosexual couple may feel sadness at being unable to carry a baby herself, and the surrogate may feel emotions about being pregnant and then giving up the child at birth. Those emotions and the limits imposed by state laws on parenthood are among the reasons why the legal agreement and contracts are so important. Same-sex male couples who use surrogacy to become parents may find it difficult to decide who should give the sperm sample and become the genetic parent.
Why Surrogacy Benefits Matter
A number of companies have begun offering family-building benefits to employees, from coverage of IVF and surrogacy to help with adoption fees and parental leave. Offering inclusive family-building benefits with adoption & surrogacy can show your company’s support for all employees. A managed benefit such as WINFertility helps support employees with education and guidance in their family-building journey, and in turn can be a powerful tool in attracting and retaining top talent.
Learn more about WIN’s family-building benefit solutions.