There are two ways a surrogate mother gets pregnant.
There are two ways a surrogate mother gets pregnant. In the first form, the surrogate mother’s egg cell is used to conceive the child. The sperm is donated by the male of the couple who opts for surrogacy.
In the other form, the surrogate mother only hosts the embryo. The embryo is created in the laboratory from the couple’s sperm and eggs.
This is a pregnancy where the surrogate is genetically related to the baby and becomes pregnant through artificial insemination. The sperms belong to the male of the couple.
When in vitro fertilization (IVF) is used either with the eggs of the intended mother or with donor eggs, the surrogate mother does not use her eggs and is genetically unrelated to the baby.
There are three stages to host surrogacy:
- Egg donation: The female intended parent or an egg donor undergoes special procedures to extract a few eggs.
- Fertilization: The eggs are fertilized with sperm in the laboratory, resulting in embryos.
- Embryo transfer: The embryo is transferred into the womb of the surrogate mother. It can be transferred to the surrogate either fresh or after having been de-frosted from storage.
- For a fresh embryo transfer, the cycles of the surrogate and the egg donor must be synchronized, and this is done using hormone medications.
- In cases where embryos have been frozen already and the de-frosted embryos are being transferred, the surrogate mother is provided with hormone medications to “ready” her womb lining.
A surrogate mother must meet all the clinical requirements to maximize her chances to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF) in as few attempts as possible, as well as have a healthy, uneventful pregnancy and undergo an uncomplicated delivery. Surrogates can be a person with a relationship to the intended parent(s), such as a close family member or friend. The surrogate should:
- Be a woman between the ages of 21 and 41 years.
- Have had at least one uncomplicated pregnancy and live birth.
- Have a positive outlook about being pregnant and is in an environment supportive of a surrogate pregnancy.
- Be of a reasonable weight and have healthy personal habits (non-smoker, non-drug user, healthy diet, and regular exercise).