Single-Embryo Transfer: Third-Party Reproduction

The single embryo transfer is a stage during the in vitro fertilization, or IVF, involving the placement of 1 embryo in the uterus of the woman that will carry the baby. The woman may be the donor of the egg, but may also be a third party person, a surrogate mother or a gestational carrier that will carry the baby to term (as the biological mother may not be able to do so).

Preparing the Surrogate or the Gestational Carrier

The third party reproduction involves a surrogate mother or a gestational carrier. This will be a solution if the intended mother cannot carry the baby due to a medical condition or a defect of the uterus. The surrogate mother refers to the person who will donate the egg; the egg will be fertilized in vitro (with the sperm of the intended father or a donor’s sperm) and will be implanted in her womb, where it should develop into a fetus and then a baby.

The gestational carrier or the GC is a person who will offer her uterus as a host for the embryo, which will be formed using the egg and the sperm of the intended parents. If the intended father’s sperm is not viable, a sperm donor may also be used. Both the surrogate and the GC will have to follow a hormonal therapy to be able to have a hormonal level that will facilitate the implantation of the embryo. The treatment will typically consist of hormonal injections.

In Vitro Fertilization

The in vitro fertilization will happen when the egg is ready to be retrieved from the donor or the intended mother. The egg will be mixed with the sperm of the intended father and will be left for up to 4 days, during which an embryo is likely to form. An embryo selection will be performed.

If at least 1 embryo is viable, it will be transferred to the surrogate or the GC’s uterus.

The Embryo Transfer

The embryo transfer will be a short procedure, performed under anesthesia. The surrogate or the GC will be asked to come to the fertility clinic, where the embryo will be carefully implanted into the womb.

After the Embryo Transfer

Not all embryo transfers will result in a pregnancy. It all depends if the embryo will get implanted in the carrier’s uterus. It is important to monitor the surrogate or GC after the embryo transfer.

The surrogate or the GC will have to rest for 2 to 4 days to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. A pregnancy test will be recommended 10 days after the implantation, and if the GC or the surrogate is pregnant, several follow ups will be needed.

Third Party Reproduction Controversy

The third party reproduction is a sensitive issue and it has numerous moral and ethical implications. In some countries, this procedure is not legal. However, in the countries where this is practiced, it has given great results and has made it possible for infertile couples to have a baby.

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