Gestational Surrogacy

Surrogacy is the implantation of a couple’s embryos, created through in vitro fertilization (IVF), into a surrogate who carries the pregnancy to term and gives birth. Regardless of the method chosen to find an appropriate surrogate, it is an intense emotional and legally complex process. When the ability to have a child is thwarted, the desire inevitably grows. Multiple IVF failures lead to significant emotional pain and thus the idea of a surrogate may be promising.

The key to success is establishing a good relationship with your surrogate. It is important to develop a clear understanding of all issues surrounding surrogacy, and communicate effectively to control expectations and assumptions.

The physicians at Virginia Fertility Specialists in Richmond, VA specialize in reproductive medicine involving surrogacy. They can help you find and screen the surrogate that is right for you. Their fertility counselors will help guide you through the process and provide valuable education and information about potential outcomes. They will educate you and the surrogate about the IVF procedures, and the risks involved, and provide ongoing support through fertility treatment, pregnancy and the postpartum period.

Why choose gestational surrogacy?

  • When a woman has her ovaries, but cannot carry a pregnancy, she can provide the egg to make the baby and use a surrogate to carry the pregnancy
  • When a woman has a medical condition that could create a serious health risk to the baby and/or mother, surrogacy will allow the female and her partner, if any, to have a genetically related child
  • When a woman or couple has failed multiple cycles of IVF or suffered multiple miscarriages
  • This is also an option for people who may not be able to adopt due to their age, marital status or sexual orientation

Potential risks

Gestational surrogacy pregnancy results from transfer of an embryo created in the lab by IVF. Because of the use of fertility medications, surrogate pregnancies often result in multiples. Twins can occur as often as 25-30% of the time. This can be avoided by placing just one genetically normal embryo. If one genetically normal embryo is placed, risk for twins is reduced to 0.9%, and pregnancy rates are equivalent to placing two genetically untested embryo. Twins increase the risk of:

  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth- about 60% of multiple pregnancies result in premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia – a disorder characterized by high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine. With multiple babies, the risk is twice that of one baby. It can be severe.
  • Placental abruption – where the placenta detaches from the uterine wall before delivery. It is more common in multiple pregnancies.
  • Cesarean section

Choosing a surrogate

Surrogates must meet certain qualifications:

  • They must be in good health mentally and physically.
  • The surrogate should have had previous pregnancies that were free of complications and were full term.
  • The surrogate should be less than 43 years of age and live in a stable situation.

Other important considerations require your attention. These include:

  • Finding a lawyer who devotes their practice to reproductive law. We have worked with Locke and Quinn who have had over 20 years of experience in this area of law and are consistently ranked best family lawyer in Virginia.
  • Locke and Quinn will do the following:
    • Draft and negotiate the contract between you and the surrogate which will include review of the surrogate’s health insurance to make sure the surrogate has good health insurance and that surrogacy is not excluded from the policy, assure the surrogate’s husband is a party to the contract, among other things.
    • Apply for the birth certificate to be issued with the intended parents’ names.
    • Assist with hospital processes and procedures prior to and at birth
    • Discuss and determine the amount to pay the surrogate and how to pay in phases
    • Determine the treatments including how many times the surrogate is willing to try, what happens if the surrogate miscarries, how many embryos to transfer, and more.

In Richmond, Virginia, we are regional leaders and the most trusted and compassionate doctors for your reproductive needs. Feel free to contact us. Ask questions. Set up an appointment. You will receive personalized care. The doctor you choose will stay with you throughout the duration of your gestational surrogacy, and our friendly staff and relaxing environment will be there for you as well.