What is a Gestational Carrier (Gestational Surrogate)?
A gestational carrier is a woman who volunteers to carry a pregnancy for a couple or individual with the help of in vitro fertilization. The gestational carrier does not provide the egg, and therefore is not genetically related to the child. The eggs are provided by the intended parent or egg donor and the sperm is provided by the intended father or sperm donor.
How do you know if gestational surrogacy is the right option for you?
Surrogacy is required for any intended parents that do not have the capability of carrying a pregnancy themselves.
Reasons for using a gestational carrier may include:
- Women who have a uterine factor (hysterectomy, history of fibroids, endometriosis, scar tissue, women born without a uterus).
- Women who have significant medical conditions that put them and/or the fetus at risk if they become pregnant. Or have had difficult pregnancies in the past.
- Women who have a history of recurrent pregnancy loss.
- Male same-sex couples.
- Single men
- LGBTQ family building
Gestational Surrogacy at RFC
Dedicated Team for Surrogacy
The team at RFC have years of shared experience and helped thousands of intended parents realize their dream of becoming parents through gestational surrogacy. We have a dedicated team for coordinating IVF cycles that involve a gestational surrogate and/or another third-party such as a donor. Our team of experts seamlessly manages these more intricate IVF cycles and coordinates all of the parties helping throughout your journey.
Rigorous Medical Screenings for Surrogates
RFC has high standards for medically approving women who apply to be a gestational surrogate and for matching medically approved gestational surrogates with intended parents. Only a small number of women are accepted to be gestational surrogates. We believe this helps ensure a safe and successful process for both gestational surrogates and your families. Our physicians and third party coordinators are skilled in screening surrogates and which will help you to have a successful journey.
Choice of Surrogate Agencies
We work with and have long standing relationships with highly respected surrogacy agencies based across the U.S., and internationally. Choosing the right gestational carrier is an intimate and personal process. We work closely with agencies that will guide you step-by-step through this very personal journey of creating your family. Intended parents can choose to work with the surrogacy agency that best meets their needs.
As intended parents, it will be crucial to understand the legalities involved in your specific situation. Laws can vary by state, and we will connect you to experienced legal experts to help guide you through the gestational carrier process. All necessary contracts must be created by your legal counsel; a legal clearance letter must be sent to our office prior to the start of the cycle.
Gestational Carrier (Surrogacy) Process Overview
When you decide to have a baby using gestational surrogacy, you are beginning an exciting journey that includes many steps. The physicians at RFC have years of experience in helping individuals or couples become parents through gestational surrogacy. This surrogacy medical process for parents will vary slightly depending on whether you use an egg donor or not.
- Initial testing. The first step of the medical process is testing. Before proceeding with the creation of embryos that will be transferred to a gestational carrier (surrogate), our team of surrogacy experts will first test the male sperm provider(s) and the female egg provider. The female egg provider is either the female intended parent or an egg donor.
- Egg retrieval. If you or your partner are providing the eggs, we will prescribe medications for ovulation induction and then retrieve these eggs during an outpatient procedure. If you are using an egg donor, she will go through this process.
- Fertilization and embryo freezing. Our embryologists will combine sperm from you or your partner with the eggs that have been retrieved. After the sperm fertilizes the eggs, they become embryos. Our team will then freeze these embryos for later transfer.
- Gestational carrier initial testing. After you select your surrogate, she will visit our clinic for testing. A physical examination and a pelvic ultrasound are done. Your surrogate and her partner (if indicated) will be screened for mandated infectious disease screening requirements and overall health screening. A saline sonogram may be done depending on the surrogate’s current menstrual cycle. This test is performed to thoroughly evaluate the uterine cavity. It typically takes two to three weeks to get medical clearance in order to move forward with an embryo transfer.
- Frozen embryo transfer (FET). Once we clear your surrogate to move forward with treatment, we will monitor her uterine lining. When her lining is ready, your surrogate will arrive at RFC for the embryo transfer. Our expert embryo team will thaw one of your embryos and transfer it to her uterus under ultrasound guidance.
- Confirming pregnancy. Your surrogate will have a pregnancy test approximately 10 days after the embryo transfer. Your coordinator at RFC will coordinate with your surrogate’s local doctor to provide care during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. After that, she will return to her OB/GYN for the remainder of the pregnancy.