Gestational carrier programs, often referred to as surrogacy programs, pair healthy women able to carry pregnancies to full term with infertile couples who are unable to carry full-term pregnancies, often due to birth defects, trauma or injury, multiple miscarriages, hysterectomy, medication issues or other health-related conditions that interfere with the healthy function of the uterus. Couples opting for this option typically either use a carrier from their own circle of friends or work with an agency that specializes in gestational carrier programs. Carriers must be prepared to undergo medical preparation, often including medication, to ensure the receiving uterus is ready and able to carry the pregnancy successfully to term.
In the initial stages of the carrier program, carriers and often couples are required to undergo health and psychological screening to help ensure success. Gestational carriers can be implanted with a couple’s own eggs, sperm or fertilized embryos; the intended mother’s eggs and donor sperm; the intended father’s sperm and donor eggs; or both donor sperm and donor eggs, allowing most couples to successfully participate in gestational carrier programs, regardless of the source of their infertility.
Couples considering gestational carrier programs are often advised to seek legal counsel to ensure a smooth process and transition, and are usually required to pay for any costs associated with the implantation procedures and pregnancy. Many larger fertility clinics have gestational carrier program assistance and counseling on site. If you are considering using a gestational carrier program, consult with your fertility specialist to locate a reputable carrier agency.