The path to parenting isn’t always easy. One in eight heterosexual couples in the U.S. have trouble building a family the old-fashioned way. LGBT and single parents-to-be need help from others to fulfill the dream of parenting.
Increasingly, people are turning to gestational surrogacy as a way to build a family.
Gestational surrogacy is a process in which a woman, called a gestational carrier or surrogate, contracts with intended parents to carry a child for them, using another woman’s eggs.
Thanks to the process of IVF (in vitro fertilization), a gestational carrier doesn’t have any genetic tie to the child and relinquishes all rights and responsibilities for the child after delivery.
“Traditional surrogacy,” which refers to a woman who donates her egg and carries a pregnancy for another, isn’t practiced by fertility clinics in South Dakota — and is deeply discouraged — due to emotional and legal factors.
Gestational carriers are very clear that they’re not the mother of a child they’re carrying.
With gestational surrogacy, there’s a rigorous medical, psychological and legal process to ensure safety for all parties. It’s important to work with mental health professionals and reproductive attorneys who understand the nuances of surrogacy.
Gestational carriers often work within the protection of a surrogacy agency.
Private matches are another way that surrogates and intended parents work together. Some matches are found among personal networks and some on Internet sites and Facebook groups.
Note: It’s crucial that a gestational carrier has previously given birth, in large part so that she can provide informed consent.
ASRM, American Society for Reproductive Medicine definition: A gestational carrier (GC), also called a gestational surrogate, is an arrangement where a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple or person (intended parent[s]). When using a GC, the eggs used to make the embryos do not come from the carrier. Because the eggs will be retrieved from one woman and implanted in another, this technique requires the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF is when eggs are fertilized in the laboratory and a limited number of resulting embryo(s) are transferred into the uterus of the carrier.