While many might fantasize about having a baby without having to carry a baby, or going through the discomfort of delivery, Gestational Surrogacy, the process where another woman carries the child for an individual or couple, is an actually a fairly uncommon practice in the world of assisted reproductive technology (ART).
The truth of the matter is that women who choose to use a surrogate, such as Kim Kardashian, do so for reasons that are not based on convenience or comfort. “Gestational Surrogacy, that in which the woman carrying the child has no genetic link, is legally acceptable in the United States, but is still highly regulated and not used to ‘avoid’ pregnancy,” says Elena Trukhacheva MD, MSCI, President and Medical Director of Reproductive Medicine Institute with offices throughout Chicago (www.teamrmi.com). “This differs with other countries, such as those in the European Union where surrogacy is prohibited, driving individuals and couples with a need for it to come to the US for treatment.”
The major indications for gestational surrogacy include:
1) Medical conditions that would increase the risk of carrying a pregnancy. These conditions may include severe cardiac or pulmonary disease, cancer, kidney disease, clotting disorders or other uncontrolled chronic medical illnesses.
2) Uterine factors (congenitally absent uterus, abnormalities in uterine development, ruptured uterus from a prior delivery) that cannot be repaired surgically.
3) Prior poor obstetric history (premature delivery, abnormal placentation, or complications from other pregnancies, such as peripartum cardiomyopathy)
4) Multiple Pregnancy Losses
5) Single men or same sex male couples who desire their own genetic children through the use of donor eggs and a surrogate to carry the child.
Separate from the medical issues that result in the option of surrogacy, the vetting process for gestational surrogates is extensive, similar to that for egg donors. In all regards, a multidisciplinary approach to surrogacy is critical – your team would include not only your fertility specialist and the surrogacy agency, but also a legal team and mental health professional.
“While an excellent, and often quite successful option for those who need it, Gestational Surrogacy involves a number of details; medical, psychological and emotional,” says Dr. Trukhacheva. “It generally is not a decision that is made lightly.”
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