At some stage in their lives, most women dream of motherhood. The desire to fulfil their biological reproduction may be dictated by the need to take care of someone, the need to know the joys of motherhood, or the desire to procreate offspring to carry on their family name or DNA.
Many couples face numerous barriers on their path to parenting, including difficulty conceiving or carrying the child to term. And when a couple fails to give life to a new person, it may become an obstacle in their quest for a full and happy life.
If your previous attempts to have a child have not given you the results you seek, there is another way. In this article, you will learn how surrogacy helps couples around the world to realize their dreams of raising a child of their own and how to join the surrogacy program.
What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is an arrangement between a couple who desires a baby but cannot get pregnant or gestate and a woman (the surrogate mother) who agrees to bear a child for that couple. After the birth of the child, from a legal point of view, the couple will be considered the child’s parents.
Gestational surrogacy takes place when the female reproductive cell (egg) fuses with the male reproductive cell (sperm), creating an embryo that is implanted into the uterus of a surrogate mother — a woman who has agreed to carry and give birth to a baby for the intended parents.
Two options for fertilization are usually considered:
- The egg of the woman, collected from a current extraction or previously frozen in a cryobank, is to be fused with her husband’s sperm.
- A donor egg is to be fused with the husband’s sperm.
Both options are implemented using the in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure, which takes place in a laboratory setting, excluding the direct contact between a couple and a surrogate mother.
Surrogacy vs. adoption
Legally, surrogacy includes adoption (after the couple’s child is born by another woman), but the essential and fundamental difference from adoption is that in surrogacy:
- genetically, it will be the biological child of at least one of the parents;
- only healthy women are selected to participate in the program;
- you will know the woman who will carry your child prior to his or her birth, and you will also know her living conditions throughout the pregnancy and the circumstances surrounding childbirth;
- you are raising a child from the first days of his or her life, and you will be able to provide the physiological and psychological needs of the baby as his or her legal parents.
Why do couples use surrogacy?
Couples may use surrogacy programs when obstacles prevent the woman from carrying the child herself, for example:
- the inability to get pregnant (including unsuccessful tries of in vitro fertilization);
- pregnancy occurs, but gestation fails;
- there are contraindications for pregnancy (due to age or medical condition);
- there are reasons the woman prefers not to gestate within her own body (a woman in a couple is building a career and cannot afford to take a break, or the gestation and delivery process would jeopardize her health, etc).
Surrogacy programs are used not only by childless women but also by those who already have children but want another. If you meet a partner later in life when the risks associated with pregnancy increase, the surrogacy program can help satisfy your need to have a child together.
If you have exhausted your options for natural parenting or have other personal obstacles that have kept you from the child you desire, surrogacy may be the answer for you.
Get a free and confidential online consultation covering the surrogacy program, what to expect throughout the process, its cost, and how to enter the program.
Who will become a surrogate mother for my baby?
To entrust another woman to carry and give birth to a couple’s child is an extremely delicate issue. We follow strict procedures to recruit surrogate mothers, adhering to the main stages and criteria:
- The initial selection stage includes the potential surrogate mother’s age and history of pregnancies and births. Multiple children are not a priority for candidacy, since frequent pregnancies can deplete the mother’s body and negatively affect subsequent gestation.
- Genetic testing of a potential surrogate mother is used to assess potential risks to the child.
- Psychological tests and an interview with a specialist will determine the psychological profile of the potential surrogate candidate. This also assesses a woman’s ability to work with the limitations associated with participation in the surrogate program and determine if she is having the necessary degree of responsibility.
- Collecting laboratory diagnostics. This includes both routine medical tests to assess the necessary parameters and an assessment of the reproductive characteristics of a potential surrogate mother to ensure that her health condition allows her to participate in the program.
Usually, a medical centre provides a database of candidates who are ready to gestate and give birth to a child for an intended couple. Sometimes, a woman or a couple already has a candidate in mind who agrees to go through all the stages of pregnancy and childbirth as part of surrogacy. Some couples choose a close friend or a family member to be a surrogate mother. If the candidate is ready to take part in the program and her state of health meets the necessary criteria, this option is also available. You can discuss it with the doctor during your consultation.
The surrogacy program consists of several time-consuming stages like the pregnancy itself. It starts with a consultation for the couple with specialists who will clarify the circumstances and wishes of the intended parent(s). Then there is a selection of a surrogate mother, introductions with the couple (optional), tests of the surrogate mother’s fertility and overall health, as well as an assessment of reproductive risks.
When the program specialists, surrogate mother, and future parent(s) agree to move forward, the contract is signed by all parties and concluded. Legal support will continue until the couple receives their child and legal parental rights.
The medical part of the procedure includes:
- harvesting of reproductive cells from partners (if donor cells are not used);
- fertilization carried out in the laboratory;
- transfer of the created embryo into the uterine cavity of the surrogate mother;
- pregnancy monitoring until the baby is born.
After a successful IVF procedure and the onset of pregnancy, the couple may remain in contact with the carrying woman or choose to receive information about the pregnancy from the specialists. Presence during delivery is also allowed, by the agreement of all parties involved. After the birth of the baby, according to the legal agreement, there is an official transfer of parental rights from the surrogate mother to the couple, who become, from that moment, the full-legal parents of the child.
Surrogacy at Swiss Medica
For couples who seek to have children biologically related to parent(s) with the help of a surrogate mother, the Clinic provides premium medical services, including:
- full medical support at all stages — from laboratory tests to IVF procedures, plus pregnancy management until childbirth;
- helping to select a healthy surrogate mother, taking into account the wishes of future parents;
- using stem cell therapy to increase the chance of success, if needed;
- legal maintenance of the program, taking into account all the legal norms of your country, protecting the interests of all parties — a surrogate mother, intended parent(s), and the child;
- the possibility of medical support on the patient’s location (at the request of the intended parents);
- individually tailored approach and confidentiality.
How to enter the surrogacy program
If you are ready to become parents and are considering the surrogacy program, contact the Clinic’s expert for a free confidential consultation. We evaluate all your circumstances and aspects associated with using surrogacy when planning for your future baby. A personalized program that fully meets your unique needs and expectations will be developed.
Book a free and confidential online consultation
You will learn how to enter a surrogacy program, its cost, and what the program includes.
Medical Advisor, Swiss Medica doctor