Posted on 03/18/2017 in Integrative Understanding of Infertility

Family Building through Gestational Surrogacy

Family Building through Gestational Surrogacy

Gestational surrogacy is currently becoming increasingly a preferred method of family building especially among couples who are unable to have a child due to biological or medically contra-indicated issues. However, the number is still relatively low but growing day by day. Among the 174,962 in vitro fertilization cycles carried out in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2013, less than two percent of them are those involved in gestational surrogacy. Nevertheless, eighty-five percent of the clinics that do in vitro fertilization recorded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention engage in surrogacy fertility treatment.


What does gestational surrogacy mean?

In gestational surrogacy, a woman referred to as a gestational carrier agrees to carry and deliver a child with unrelated genetic compositions through the help of assisted reproductive technologies for a single parent or couple who would be the legal parent of the child and under whose custody the child will grow.

The embryos that are transplanted into the woman are normally obtained from gametes from one or the two intended parent(s). Sometimes, the embryos are derived from donated oocytes, sperm, or both. This practice is different from traditional surrogacy which we would be discussing in subsequent article.

Obstetrician and gynecologists are usually involved in gestational surrogacy. He or she provides the needed care for the gestational carrier and the intended parent(s).

Despite the fact that gestational surrogacy can boost your option for building a family, it is wrapped with varieties of ethical, medical, psychosocial, and legal intricacies for both the gestational carrier, anticipating parent(s), and resultant kids and ought to be considered to reduce your risks of unpleasant upshots.

Due to ethical, legal, and psychosocial intricacies involved, as well as possible health risk to the gestational carrier, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that gestational surrogacy should only be used in scenarios where there is no other possible way for an individual or couple to have biological children or when there is medical contraindication for the intended parent(s).

The law that covers gestational surrogacy differs from one state to the other. Thus, you need to obtain appropriate legal guidance from certified legal practitioner with experience in gestational surrogacy in the state where you intend to practice it.

Domestic and international Gestational surrogacy

Gestational surrogacy can be domestic or international. It is local when the surrogate carrier comes from the same country as the intended parents while cross border gestational surrogacy occurs where the intended parents and gestational carrier comes from different countries.

When going for cross border gestational surrogacy bear in mind that there are varied religious and legal norms, together with varied mind-set of people in these countries concerning assisted reproductive technologies. This makes it hard to work out a globally satisfactory structure for the arrangement. For example, gestational carriers outside the US may be stigmatized in their communities due to the negativity wit which the practice is associated in those countries.

If you decide to go for cross-border gestational surrogacy you need to check your options for accessing reproductive care. This is applicable to American couples or individuals arranging for a gestational carrier oversea or oversea intending parent making such arrangement in the US.


Benefits of gestational surrogacy

  • Gestational surrogacy makes it possible for an individual or a couple to become biological parents who otherwise could not build a family.
  • It helps couples to build family when pregnancy would be unsafe due to basic medical health issues.
  • It helps couples with reproductive health disorders like periodic implantation failure or womb problem that makes it impossible for the woman to be pregnant. It as well helps a woman without a womb to have a child.
  • Gestational surrogacy also helps single men and men in same-sex relationships to have their own biological and genetically related children.
  • It provides the gestational carrier especially those who do it for philanthropic reasons with inner fulfillment and peace for making it possible for intended parents to achieve their desire for raising their own biologically related children.
  • Again, for the gestational carrier, the monetary compensation given which is according to the state laws is normally huge enough to cover the period the woman was carrying the child, the risk she took and her efforts to bring the baby to life safe and sound. The pay is normally sufficient to improve the quality of life of the gestational carrier and that of her family.


Potential Complexities

  • The cost of gestational surrogacy often leads to socioeconomic gap between gestational carriers and intended parents. A charge that is suitable in a particular social, economic, and geographic background may be unsuitable in another.
  • A few people think gestational surrogacy belittles reproduction and transforms it into business where a woman sells her reproductive capacity and turn the child into commodity that can be traded upon.
  • The procedure could result to medical complications for gestational surrogate mother or the fetus.
  • There may be issues with how many embryos to transfer during treatment and the best course of action to take in a high-order pregnancy. Thus, this issue needs to be discussed in a pre-procedure contract agreement.


  • There are a lot of legal complications involved in gestational surrogacy. The legal complication varies depending on the number of parties involved. It could range from three when the egg and sperm come from the intended parents to five when it involves donated sperm and egg. There may be issues with who becomes the final parent of the child among the party members. Thus, check what the law says before you start the arrangement and remember that the law varies from state to state.
  • There are also some psychosocial effects of gestational surrogacy on the child, the gestational surrogate as well as her family.


Gestational surrogacy can be an option for pregnancy where the intended parents have issues that make it impossible to get their own biological parents on their own. There is need for obstetrician and gynecologists to get involved in the arrangement to take care of the surrogate carrier and the intended mother. Although, it is an option to have a child of your own consider the ethical, medical, social and psychological issues surrounding the situation before embracing the procedure. It should really be your last option and recommended when other options have failed.

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