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What is surrogacy?

What is surrogacy?

Surrogacy is when another woman carries and gives birth to a baby for the couple who want to have a child.

Is surrogacy for me?
Surrogacy may be appropriate if you have a medical condition that makes it impossible or dangerous to get pregnant and to give birth.

The type of medical conditions that might make surrogacy necessary for you include:

  • Absence or malformation of the womb
  • Recurrent pregnancy loss
  • Multiple fibroids
  • Repeated in vitro fertilisation (IVF) implantation failures due to poor endometrium.
  • Some medical conditions - where in carrying a pregnancy puts the female at risk.

How does surrogacy work?
Full surrogacy (also known as Host or Gestational) - Full surrogacy involves the implantation of an embryo created using either:
the eggs and sperm of the intended parents
a donated egg fertilised with sperm from the intended father
an embryo created using donor eggs and sperm.
Partial surrogacy (also known Straight or Traditional) - Partial surrogacy involves sperm from the intended father and an egg from the surrogate. Here fertilisation is (usually) done by artificial insemination or intrauterine insemination (IUI).

What is my chance of having a baby with surrogacy?

It is quite difficult to determine a success rate for surrogacy, as many factors are relevant, including:

  • the surrogate’s ability to get pregnant
  • the age of the egg donor (if involved)
  • the success of procedures such as IUI and IVF
  • the quality of gamete provided by the comissioning couple.
  • The age of the woman who provides the egg is the most important factor that affects chances of pregnancy.

What are the risks of surrogacy?
The risks associated with surrogacy depend on the type of surrogacy (full or partial) undertaken. Generally, the risks associated with full surrogacy are similar to those for IVF.

Risks of fertility treatment
There is also a risk of transferring HIV and hepatitis, and so screening of everyone involved in surrogacy involving IUI is recommended, and required in surrogacy arrangements involving IVF.
If a registered donor at a licensed clinic is used, the donor will automatically be screened.

Legal issues associated with surrogacy

Surrogacy involves complicated legal issues and we recommend that you seek your own legal advice before making any decisions. It is important to know that surrogacy arrangements are unenforcable.
It is also advisable to receive counselling before starting the surrogacy process, to help you think about all the questions involved.

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