California couples and individuals who have fertility issues or are LGBTQ have options when they wish to have children. One of those is gestational surrogacy. Understanding how the process works can help when making a decision.
Gestational surrogacy explained
With gestational surrogacy, an embryo is implanted into a surrogate who agrees to carry the child to term. This is someone who has no genetic relationship to the baby; the intended parents may use their own egg and sperm, one person’s egg or sperm along with donor sperm or a donor egg or both donor egg and sperm. Whatever the case, the embryo is created and the surrogate undergoes in vitro fertilization (IVF) so that pregnancy can occur.
The gestational surrogacy process
You can choose a surrogate through an agency or find someone else, a family member or close friend who agrees to carry your child for you. When selecting a woman through an agency, you will have a formal contract created that outlines everyone’s responsibilities, the risks and compensation for the surrogate. All parties must sign the document so that it can legally go into effect.
If you get a family member or friend to carry the baby for you, it’s known as altruistic surrogacy. In most cases, the gestational carrier doesn’t ask for compensation. However, whether the surrogate is paid depends on you and them and how you feel about payment.
If one of the intended parents’ eggs are used, she must go through fertility treatments to prepare for the egg retrieval process. Eggs are fertilized by the intended father’s sperm or from donor sperm so the gestational carrier can go through IVF. It’s normal for the process to involve more than one cycle as the first might not work.
After the surrogate gives birth, the intended parents take custody of the baby.