In India, with a lot of pressure on married couples to conceive a child, infertility is not just about the inability to conceive. The associated trauma the individual or the couple go through also plays a significant role in causing infertility.
Presently, the prevalence of infertility in men and women is on the rise and over 30% of couples complain about unexplained infertility. Such couples can seek their desire for parenthood from third party reproduction programs like donor sperms, donor eggs and surrogacy.
Surrogacy is one of the techniques in assisted reproduction that helps couples to start families under circumstances where they otherwise could not. Intended parents may resort to surrogacy for several reasons and may be from different backgrounds.
Why and How
Surrogacy may be an ideal choice if you are suffering from a medical condition that makes it impossible or dangerous to conceive pregnancy and to give birth. Ideally, when a couple wants a baby but is unable to have a child because either or both partners are medically unfit to conceive, as part of surrogacy, another woman, termed as a surrogate mother, is artificially inseminated with the sperm of the father. The surrogate mother then carries the child full term and delivers it for the couple. In such a case, the surrogate mother is the biological mother of the child. In rare instances, when there is a case of male factor infertility, a couple may need a donor sperm. This is traditional surrogacy.
There is also gestational surrogacy, wherein eggs from the mother are fertilized with the father’s/donor’s sperm. The embryologist transfers the resultant embryo into the uterus of the surrogate, who carries the child to term till delivery.
Even though traditional surrogacy is different from gestational surrogacy, both are typically just as safe as going through a traditional biological pregnancy.
Planning for surrogacy
Prior to starting the process of surrogacy, the surrogate has to undergo few tests in order to determine her overall health. If the surrogate is not deemed healthy enough to carry the embryo, another surrogate must be chosen. Once ready to proceed, if using gestational surrogacy, we usually recommend that the surrogate takes certain medications for best outcomes. These medications will assist her in developing numerous eggs for use in the fertilization process.
When the baby is ready for birth, the surrogate will go through the typical process for delivery of the baby. After the baby’s birth, he or she will then go home with the proposed parents.
FSurrogacy involves complicated legal issues and we recommend that you seek your own legal advice before making any decisions. It is important to know that surrogacy arrangements are unenforceable. It is also advisable to receive counselling before starting the surrogacy process, to help you think about the formalities involved.
The type of medical conditions that might make surrogacy necessary for you include:
Absence or malformation of the womb
Recurrent pregnancy loss
Repeated in vitro fertilization (IVF) implantation failures
India is emerging as a leader in international surrogacy and a sought after destination in surrogacy-related fertility tourism. Indian clinics are at the same time becoming more competitive, not just in the pricing, but in the hiring and retention of Indian females as surrogates.