The bonds of family are forged in many ways, and children are welcomed into families through many diverse channels. A family may expand their family through traditional pregnancy, adoption, the inclusion of stepchildren, through IVF, or through surrogacy. While each journey to parenthood is unique, there are six main reasons why couples choose to use surrogacy.
Infertility is one of the most common reasons why a couple seeks to use surrogate. The CDC estimates that nearly 12% of women experience infertility or difficultly carrying to term. As such, surrogacy is a viable path for a couple to add a biological child to their family, despite their infertility struggles.
Even if a couple could achieve a pregnancy, they may decide to use a surrogate in order to avoid passing on undesirable genetic traits to their child. For instance, if a woman did not want to pass on her genes to her child through a traditional pregnancy, a surrogate can undergo in vitro using the male partner’s sperm and an egg donor. Alternatively, the woman’s egg could be fertilized with the sperm of a donor.
A couple may choose to use a surrogate if the female partner has certain medical issues that make carrying a child to term or delivering a baby difficult or risky. Such medical conditions include:
- Incompetent cervix
- Heart issues
- The need for a prescription medication that is incompatible with pregnancy
The uterus, the pear shaped womb, is the heart and home of a pregnancy, but for a woman with a uterine abnormality, pregnancy is difficult at best. Pregnancy within an abnormal uterus can lead to miscarriage or birth defects, and without the proper space for a baby to grow, a pregnancy cannot be sustained properly. Many women with uterine issues opt to use a surrogate. Because the egg quality is not affected by the uterine abnormality, a couple can use the woman’s egg to have a biological child. Uterine issues include:
- Septate uterus
- Unicornuate uterus
- Lack of uterus due to hysterectomy
For male same-sex couples wishing to add a biological child to their family, using a surrogate is their only option. A surrogate undergoes in vitro fertilization using one of the male’s sperm; for couples wishing to each have a biological child, two eggs are fertilized using sperm from each male, respectively.
Choosing to grow your family is just as an important of a decision as how to grow your family. Using a surrogate is an extremely personal and emotional choice. Not all couples who opt to go on this journey are infertile; sometimes the decision to use a surrogate is more for personal reasons than medical.
No matter what drives you to consider using a surrogate, the path to parenthood is nothing short of momentous.