18 Jun Who Benefits from a Gestational Carrier?
Gestational carriers are saviors to those who cannot get pregnant without them. They fall under a fertility treatment category called “Third-Party Reproduction,” which refers to the fact that another individual is involved in contributing to the birth of a child.
Before discussing who benefits from a gestational carrier, let’s go over what a gestational carrier is.
Gestational Carrier: The Basics
In the case of a gestational carrier, a woman donates her womb to someone else’s fertility treatment process. While the terms “gestational carrier,” “gestational surrogate,” and “surrogate” are often used interchangeably, gestational carriers/gestational surrogates do not use their eggs.
They must have children of their own already. Gestational carriers are meticulously screened beforehand to ensure they understand their part in the process, as well as the role they will play (or not play!) after the baby is born. Some couples opt to continue paying their gestational surrogate to pump breastmilk, but that depends entirely on the terms of their agreement.
Individuals or couples using a gestational carrier use their own fertilized embryo or a donor embryo, which is transplanted into the gestation carrier’s uterus. She remains in close contact with the baby’s parents, so those who choose to use a gestational carrier have a very intimate connection with the pregnancy and the labor and delivery of their baby.
Consider Using a Gestational Carrier When…
Here are the most common situations that lead individuals or couples to select a gestational carrier:
1. Single men who want to become fathers
Our culture focuses on women who opted to become single parents rather than waiting for a partner or because they aren’t interested in lifetime partnership for parenthood. Unfortunately, we neglect to highlight that men desiring to be fathers can make the same choice.
Single men can use a gestational carrier and donor egg and their sperm or selecting a donor embryo, enabling them to become fathers.
2. Gay couples who want to start a family
Gay men who want to have a biological connection to their child(ren) or feel more intimately connected to the pregnancy and birth of their child often use gestational carriers. In this case, gay couples have the option of taking turns submitting their sperm for each child, using a donor sperm if they have sperm issues or a genetic concern, or they can choose to mix their sperm sample, leaving the DNA inheritance a mystery.
3. Women who are unable to maintain a full-term pregnancy safely
Some medical conditions are so serious that they compromise a woman’s ability to carry a full-term pregnancy without risking harm to her or her baby. In these cases, we recommend using IVF but transferring the resulting embryo(s) to a gestational carrier for the safest outcome.
4. Women with an abnormal uterus or who don’t have a uterus at all
Certain deformities or abnormalities of the uterus compromise a healthy embryo’s ability to develop into a full-grown baby. Surgical treatments may be successful in some cases, like when excessive scar tissue or intrusive fibroids compromise fertility. Other times, a carrier becomes the quickest and most affordable way to have a baby without the stress and emotional roller-coaster that accompanies repeat failed IVF treatments.
Some women are born without a uterus, or their uterus is removed due to cancer or another traumatic event. These patients also benefit from gestational carriers. While we are excited to be on the pioneering front of uterine transplants, this particular fertility treatment won’t become a standard one for quite some time.
5. Individuals/couples with a history of unsuccessful fertility treatments and suspected uterine issues
Sometimes all the imaging and testing in the world fails to reveal the root cause of unsuccessful fertility treatments or repeat miscarriages. Using a gestational carrier is the next logical step.
We can test existing embryos for any chromosomal or genetic abnormalities to rule that out. If the embryos seem healthy, a gestational carrier may be the solution. If we identify irregularities and suspect there are problems with the uterus, we recommend using a donor egg/sperm or embryo and a gestational carrier.
We understand that using a gestational carrier is not always a woman’s or a couple’s first choice, which is why we recommend seeking infertility counseling to support your decision-making process and to explore all of the emotional ramifications of that decision.
In our experience here at the Fertility Center of Dallas, gestational surrogates are like walking miracles. Our patients who choose to use them are always unspeakably grateful for the gift of their very own baby – or babies – a dream come true. Contact us to talk about your gestational carrier options.