Surrogacy for Heterosexual Couples:- How Does it Work?

By (embryologist) and (babygest staff).
Last Update: 10/23/2016

Becoming parents through the surrogacy process is generally the last option for most heterosexual couples who cannot have children naturally. Although artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization are usually the first steps, there are couples with serious fertility problems who see surrogacy as the only solution to having children.

In this post we will talk about the steps that these couples must follow in order to fulfill their dream of becoming parents.

Involved in surrogacy

In a surrogacy process, a couple with a desire to have a child is known as intended parents. On the other hand, the woman who carries the pregnancy to term and therefore gives birth to the baby is called a surrogate. It is important to emphasize that the term surrogate mother is incorrect, since the woman who carry the pregnancy will not be recognized as a mother.

It takes the will of both parties to achieve a successful outcome. Prospective parents are those who intend to be parents and those who initiate treatment. However, carrying it out would not be possible without the participation of the woman who will allow the birth of their baby. Some examples of situations that lead some couples to need this technique are:

  • Absence of uterus, either congenital (Rokitansky’s Syndrome) or acquired (removal of the uterus or hysterectomy)
  • Diseases for which pregnancy could pose a serious risk to the health of the fetus or mother.
  • Uterine alteration or malformation.
  • Failure in previous cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF) due to either fertilization failure, implantation failure, or recurrent miscarriage.

Steps to follow to have a surrogate child

The surrogacy process consists of different stages:

  • Choosing the destination where to perform the surrogacy, since it is not allowed in every countries.
  • Hiring the necessary professionals: Surrogacy agencies in the destination country, specialized lawyers, assisted reproduction professionals…
  • Choosing the surrogate
  • Signing the contracts and documents in order to legally initiate treatment
  • In vitro fertilization
  • Obtaining the documentation necessary for paternity to be legal

All these steps are fundamental and necessary. However, there is one that is especially complicated and important for future parents: the selection of the woman who will carry their child.

Surrogacy is the most challenging of all fertility treatments. For this reason, it's crucial that you rely on well-versed professionals. If you are looking for trustworthy agencies, this tool will show you destination countries where your family type is permitted, and provide you with a detailed cost estimate. Moreover, our specialists will evaluate your case in particular in order to recommend you those clinics that best fit your needs, and meet our rigorous selection criteria. We have 10 years' experience behind us.

This step is discussed below, but if you want more details of the entire process you can read this post: Guide to the Surrogacy Process – The 7 Steps of Surrogacy.

Selection of the surrogate

The role of the intermediary agencies is to help the intended parents to choose the surrogate in an easy and comfortable way. In general, these agencies also manage the donation of eggs and/or semen if necessary.

Many prospective parents who begin this process prefer the peace of mind and security of choosing an experienced woman, that is, one who has gone through this process before. However, others have no objection to choosing a “novice” woman for surrogacy. In any case, these are usually women who have already had at least one child of their own and therefore know what pregnancy and childbirth are.

The way to choose the surrogate varies depending on the destination where the surrogacy is to be carried out. For example, in California, the most experienced place in the application of this technique, the choice is mutual. This means that the intended parents choose a woman among the candidates to be pregnant and this one will have to accept to carry a child for them.

The relationship between the intended parents and the chosen surrogate will depend on the preferences of both.

While most countries offer a choice of several candidates, not all give the option of a face-to-face interview with them. There are other destinations in which the future parents do not know the pregnant woman personally and it is the surrogacy agency that is in charge of the selection according to the situation and the characteristics of the future parents.

FAQs from users

In which countries can a couple have children by surrogacy?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

Surrogacy for heterosexual couples is permitted by law in many countries. The most common are the United States, Canada, Russia, Georgia and Ukraine. Recently Greece has also extended its legislation and now allows surrogacy for foreigners.

Each of these destinations has its own peculiarities. For example, to carry out the surrogacy process in Ukraine or Georgia, the couple must be married. However, in Russia, the United States or Canada, it is not necessary to be married.

After 8 failed IVF treatments, do you think it would be possible to be parents thanks to surrogacy?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

One of the reasons a couple resort to surrogacy is the repeated failure of several in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments.

IVF offers numerous options or additional techniques to improve the probability of pregnancy, such as PGD or egg and sperm donation. However, if this does not achieve pregnancy either, perhaps it is time to consider being parents by surrogacy.

Suggested for you

Another alternative to surrogacy for couples unable to conceive is adoption. Nowadays it is very difficult to adopt due to the requirements and long waiting lists. However, if you are interested, you can find out everything at the following links: Adopting a Child in United States: – How it Works? and Adopting in the United Kingdom: – How Does it Work?

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References

Authors and contributors

 Andrea Rodrigo
Andrea Rodrigo
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia along with the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Postgraduate course in Medical Genetics. More information about Andrea Rodrigo
Adapted into english by:
 Marie Tusseau
Marie Tusseau
Babygest Staff
Editorial Director of Babygest magazine in French and English. More information about Marie Tusseau

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