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Superfetation in surrogates, and what it means

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2023 | Surrogacy Law |

Many California couples and individuals with fertility challenges choose surrogacy to have families. This is the right option for some people, especially if there might be potential complications or the inability to carry a baby to term. In some cases, superfetation can occur; this is what it means.

Surrogacy as a fertility assistance option

Common surrogacy law involves using a gestational carrier to carry a baby for a couple or person. The surrogate doesn’t have a genetic link to the child; instead, the egg and sperm of the intended parents, or a donor egg and donor sperm, are used to create embryos. After a gestational carrier is chosen, she receives fertility medications and undergoes in vitro fertilization so that conception can occur.

Understanding superfetation

Superfetation is a very rare occurrence of a woman getting pregnant while she is already pregnant. While someone is already carrying a child, she can conceive again if she ovulates in spite of her current pregnancy.

Superfetation in surrogacy

Although it’s so rare, because of the risk of superfetation, gestational carriers often sign a contract agreeing to abstain early in surrogacy. One situation in 2016 involved a woman who agreed to be a gestational carrier for a Chinese couple. A pregnancy successfully occurred after a single embryo transfer.

An ultrasound later revealed the presence of two babies, initially believed to be a result of the embryo having split. Months later, the surrogate needed a cesarean section but was unable to meet the babies afterward because they were placed in the neonatal intensive care unit. Months later, after seeing a picture of them, it was clear that they weren’t identical; the second one was the biological child of the surrogate and her husband.

While surrogacy carries certain risks, it might be right for you. It is important, however, to consider the possible complications that may arise.