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    surrogacy

    How Do Surrogate Mothers Get Pregnant?

    • 11260 views
    • 4.5   (1 Votes)
    Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MS, MBBS on 25 Apr 2019 - Written by Dr. Anushka Madan Mehra - MS, MBBS, Diploma - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MS, MBBS

    Surrogate mothers get pregnant through In-vitro Fertilization in Gestational Surrogacy, unlike traditional surrogacy where she is impregnated using intended fathers sperms. It starts with retrieval of sperms and eggs, followed by fertilization, preparation of uterus till the embryo transfer.

    Surrogacy is an arrangement that allows an infertile couple to have their own baby, who otherwise cannot conceive on their own or even through any other Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) like In vitro Fertilization (IVF). Along with intended parents, a surrogate mother is the one who forms an integral part of this setup called surrogacy treatment. It is a very safe and ethically acceptable process for getting a surrogate mother pregnant. The process begins with the retrieval of eggs and sperms from the intended mother and father or using an egg or sperm donor. Even though all it takes is one fertilized egg for a surrogate to become pregnant, usually several eggs are fertilized in case the one that is selected does not implant in surrogate’s uterus. She is monitored during the entire process until confirmed pregnant. Each and every step of surrogacy is crucial for intended parents as well as for the surrogate to achieve a successful pregnancy. Although, the surrogacy process may vary based on the country or state you live in combined with individual circumstances, the following step-by-step guide will help both intended parents and surrogate mother prepare for what’s to come throughout the surrogacy journey.

    In this article, we will learn about:

    1. What are the different types of surrogate mothers?

    As per the type of surrogacy, surrogate mothers can also be classified as traditional and gestational surrogates. (1)

    * Traditional surrogate:

    A traditional surrogate is a woman who undergoes artificial insemination using the sperms of the intended father or donor sperm. Because her own egg is used in the conception process hence the baby is genetically related to her or we can say that she is the biological mother of the baby. (2)

    * Gestational surrogates:

    A gestational surrogate carries a baby conceived through In vitro Fertilization. This technology allows eggs of the intended mother and sperms of the intended father to be fertilized in a lab. The embryo hence obtained is then transferred into the uterus of the surrogate who gets pregnant and gives birth for the couple. Here, the gestational surrogate has no genetic relationship with the child born. She is often referred to as the ‘birth mother’ while the biological mother is the intended mother whose eggs are used in the process. (3)

    These steps are similar for every surrogate mother and intended parents going through surrogacy treatment.

    2. How to find a surrogate mother?

    There are two ways to find a match with a surrogate mother. If the intended parents already have an ideal surrogate within the family or friends circle, the couple may only need to hire an attorney who specializes in assisted reproductive law; this is known as Altruistic surrogacy. (4)

    How to find surrogate mother?

    On the other hand, if the intended parents are taking the help of an agency to find a surrogate, the agency itself may provide a surrogacy lawyer. This is known as commercial surrogacy. In commercial surrogacy, the intended parents and surrogates have to go through a matching process to ensure both parties are interested in the surrogacy plan. The intended parents may also have preferences depending on race, religion, age, personality and medical history of the surrogate to ensure she is likely to have a healthy, full-term pregnancy. The surrogate may also create a profile of text and photos to help intended parents get a sense of who she is as a person. Once the match is made, both the parties get to know each other through meetings arranged by the agency. They also sign a legal agreement claiming the ownership of the child.

    Medications and Monitoring of Surrogate Mother

    Before the procedure can begin, the surrogate mother has to undergo several tests and screening such as blood test, ultrasounds, screening for infectious diseases and uterine evaluation. If the surrogate is fit and ready to proceed, the next phase begins. The surrogate mother goes through endometrial stimulation which is given through injections. Follicle-stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) are the two most common medications used to stimulate follicles. The stimulation phase may take about two to three weeks from the first day of her natural cycle. After the uterus of the surrogate mother is prepared, the embryo transfer process begins. (5)

    3. How do doctors collect eggs for IVF?

    Depending on the case of infertility in intended parents, the process begins by harvesting about 15 eggs from the intended mother. This typically involves the stimulation of the ovaries of the intended mother using a fertility drug. The fertility drugs encourage the woman's ovaries to produce a number of eggs, which a physician then retrieves during a surgical procedure known as transvaginal ultrasound aspiration. The doctor removes the eggs from the ovaries using a small suction device. The eggs are then placed carefully into an incubator. In case, the mother is not able to produce eggs, donor eggs are collected. The sperms from the intended father or donor sperms are also collected to be used in the following IVF procedure. (6)

    4. What is IVF treatment and how does it work?

    After both the eggs and sperms are collected, they are mixed together in a special dish to achieve fertilization.  In the case of male infertility, Intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI is also performed where a single healthy sperm is injected directly into an egg. After three to five days of careful monitoring, the eggs develop into embryos. These embryos are carefully selected transferred, frozen or further cultured into blastocyst stage according to the requirement.

    Transfer of Embryos

    Approximately three days after fertilization, embryos are ready for transfer, but some patients prefer to let the embryos develop until they have reached the blastocyst stage to improve the chances of pregnancy.  The embryos are gently sucked into a flexible plastic tube which is inserted into the surrogate’s uterus and released. After the transfer is complete, the surrogate is suggested to rest for several hours to increase the chances of success.

    embryo transfer

    5. How a surrogate mother gets pregnant?

    After the transfer, the surrogate is given progesterone supplements to help support the uterine lining and encourage implantation. 12 days after the transfer, the first pregnancy test is performed. If the result is positive, the surrogate is scheduled for the next pregnancy test. The similar pregnancy test is performed after two to three weeks of transfer. The surrogate is confirmed pregnant if the second test is positive, after which she is taken care of by an obstetrician or gynecologist. (8)

    Giving Birth

    After the long surrogacy process, the birth of a baby is a life-changing event for both surrogate and intended parents. When the surrogate mother is preparing for the labor the intended parents are contacted to be present on the day of delivery. The delivery might take place normally through the vagina or through a c-section procedure. After the birth of the baby, the new family and surrogate can all return to their homes. (7)

    A surrogate is impregnated with the help of IVF that is completely different from traditional surrogacy where a surrogate is the biological mother of the baby.

    Hope this article was helpful in differentiating between the traditional and gestational way of surrogacy and cleared your doubts about the much-asked question, how surrogate mother gets pregnant.

    Elawoman has helped hundreds of couples achieve their dream of parenthood through surrogacy treatment. We have a list of reliable surrogacy doctors and clinics that have a high success rate in surrogacy treatment. You can call us at +918929020600 to consult with our infertility specialists to know more about surrogacy and its process.

    Dr. Anushka Madan Mehra

    Written by

    MS, MBBS, Diploma
    Obstetrician, Infertility Specialist
    Noida
    Dr. Anushka Madan Mehra is a famous gynecologist and infertility expert who also heads the Femme Care Clinic which is located in Sector 36, Noida. She has many years of practicing experience in the field of gynecology and obstetrics. She completed her MBBS from Bhartiya Vidyapeeth Medical College and Hospital in Pune in the year 2001. Then, she went on to pursue MS in Obstetrics and Gynecology from Dr. D Y Patil Medical College and Hospital. Later, Dr. Anushka obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Ultrasonography in 2011 from Jefferson University. Dr. Anushka's areas of expertise includes Infertility Evaluation / Treatment, High Risk Pregnancies, Painless Labor, Women Sexual Problems, Pap Smear Test, Cervical Cancer Screening and Vaccination. She is presently serving patients with infertility issues at Femme Care Clinic and MITR Hospitals in Noida. If you want to find further details of Dr. Anushka Madan Mehra and her clinic, then you can check out ElaWoman website for more information.

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    Sitikantha Parnika

    Jan. 17, 2019, 1:37 p.m. 4.5

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    The information displayed on this webpage covers general information on several medical conditions, fertility treatments, IVF ICSI, surrogacy procedure, home remedies, and their respective treatments. The exclusive purpose of the displayed information is for the sake of general understanding and it has been collected from open sources which heavily rely on research and laboratory tests. However, the information shared here should not be considered as a medical advice or an alternative to consultation with a registered medical practitioner or licensed healthcare professional.

    It is not advised to self-diagnose or treat any medical condition or disease following the information given in this article. We insist you to consult a registered practitioner and never try to replace their advice or discontinue treatment in between by relying solely on the information obtained. External links to different websites as well as videos given on the website serve the purpose of sharing knowledge only. Ela being an Independent Medical Information platform is neither responsible nor guarantees the authenticity, reliability, and accuracy of these videos and websites in any way. We do not intend the information displayed here to be used for a medical emergency, if you seek medical attention for yourself (or any other person with whom you want to share the information with), we advise you to directly get in touch with the hospital or the doctor.

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