Thanks to modern medicine, almost anyone who wants to have a biological child these days can probably do so, with a little help. Even if you’ve lost your uterus to a hysterectomy, or have a health condition that prevents you from carrying a child to term, you might still be able have a baby that shares your DNA.
The caring OB/GYNs and fertility experts at Columbia Fertility Associates offer gestational surrogacy for singles or couples who otherwise might not be able to have their own baby. With gestational surrogacy, your egg and your partner’s (or donor’s) sperm are used to create an embryo outside the womb, a process known as in vitro fertilization.
The embryo is then implanted in another woman’s uterus. She acts as a gestational surrogate, nourishing the embryo through all stages of development until she’s ready to deliver your healthy baby.
Despite the miracle of surrogacy, it isn’t the right choice for everyone. Read more to find out if surrogacy is the missing link to your dream for a biological family.
Do you have ovaries, but not a uterus?
If you had a hysterectomy or lost your uterus for another reason, you might think that you’re not able to conceive and have a child of your own. However, if you still have functional ovaries and menstruate regularly, you can use a surrogate’s uterus to carry your child.
Our doctors put you through a course of IVF so that you produce more than the normal number of eggs. We then extract those eggs and fertilize them in the laboratory with your partner’s sperm or with donor sperm.
Once healthy embryos form, we choose one or more and implant them in the surrogate’s womb. You may choose to freeze unused embryos for another time.
Do you have a health condition that makes pregnancy risky?
If your body can’t tolerate the stress of pregnancy, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own child. We always thoroughly evaluate the health of your surrogate to ensure that they can safely and comfortably carry your child for a full term of pregnancy.
You get the joy of creating and having your own child. But you don’t have to put your life on the line.
Have you had multiple miscarriages or IVF failures?
Each miscarriage leaves an emotional scar. If you’ve had multiple miscarriages and are at risk for another due to a physical condition, our doctors may recommend surrogacy instead.
Your healthy surrogate carries the baby to term for you. You may also choose to use a surrogate if you’ve failed to carry one or more IVF babies to term.
Are you in a same-sex relationship?
Two biological females in a same-sex relationship may choose to use one woman’s eggs and another woman’s uterus so that they’re both involved in creating and carrying their child. The egg is fertilized with a donor’s sperm.
You may also choose to use a surrogate if you’re both biologically male. Your sperm is used to fertilize your choice of a donor’s eggs. The resulting embryos are then implanted in the surrogate’s uterus.
Are you a single or older parent?
Surrogacy also gives you the chance to have your own baby, even without a life partner. Your egg or sperm is mixed with donor egg or sperm to create embryos. If you can’t carry the baby because you’re biologically male, or for another reason, your surrogate carries it for you.
Older couples who have at least one fertile partner may turn to surrogacy in lieu of adoption. If you’ve aged out of adoption requirements, surrogacy could provide you with the family you desire.
To find out more about surrogacy, contact our team at Columbia Fertility Associates. We have offices in Washington, DC; Bethesda, Maryland; and Arlington, Virginia.