The gestational carrier program makes it possible for a woman that has a damaged or lacking uterus to have a baby with her partner using their own cells. The eggs and the sperm will be retrieved from the mother and the father, and if the egg is fertilized, the embryo will be placed in the gestational carrier’s uterus, where it will hopefully develop into a healthy baby.
The Gestational Carrier Procedure
The gestational carrier procedure will be done throughout several months and should start with the evaluation of the couple to see if they have viable eggs and sperm. Blood tests will be performed, along with a physical examination of both partners. In order for the gestational carrier procedure to be possible, the woman should produce mature eggs and the partner should have quality sperm with normal motility.
If the couple is a good fit for the program, a gestational carrier will have to be found. The GC will have to undergo a screening process, which will asses her health and test for various diseases such as hepatitis or STDs (which will not allow her to be a gestational carrier). A psychological exam is also needed.
The following steps will involve:
- Starting both the mother and the gestational carrier on a hormonal treatment to synchronize their cycles and to stimulate the mother’s ovaries to produce more than 1 egg at a time
- Retrieving the eggs from the mother, washing these and placing these on a lab dish
- Getting a sperm sample from the father, washing the sperm and storing it on a different lab dish
- The in vitro fertilization, which will involve placing the eggs and the sperm on the same lab dish
- The monitoring of the cells to see if fertilization takes place
- The embryo selection, if several embryos form, the fertility doctor should opt for the best embryo
- The transfer of the embryo into the gestational carrier’s womb, where the embryo should get implanted
Variations in Procedure Techniques
The variation in the gestational carrier procedure technique may be met in the following instances:
- In the choice of hormonal treatment that is administered to the mother giving the eggs or to the gestational carrier. A hormone that is suitable for the patients will be administered to increase the chances of egg production.
- In the fertilization technique; the couple may opt for an intracytoplasmatic sperm injection, which can increase the chances of fertilization and may be recommended also if the father has a lower sperm motility.
- In the time the embryo is kept in the dish. The embryo may be implanted in the gestational carrier’s womb 12 hours following the fertilization or later, after 4 or 5 days.
The variations in the gestational carrier procedure techniques will be established by the fertility doctor and the couple, depending on each case in part. The fertility doctor may make some recommendations.