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What is a Gestational Carrier and Who Needs One?

Wait hold up. Isn’t a gestational carrier a surrogate? The answer to that question is yes-and-no. Both persons perform the same job: helping a couple have their miracle baby by carrying a child for them. However, a surrogate will be the biological mother of the child because she has donated her egg to make the baby she is carrying. A gestational carrier is not the biological mother of the child she is carrying. 

what is the gestational carrier and who need one

Image by Brodie Vissers

Who requires a gestational carrier?

There are a variety of reasons for wanting to have a gestational carrier. 

  • The woman’s uterus is not able to carry a baby
  • The woman may be experiencing certain disorders that hinder her ability to carry a child such as “extensive fibroids, scarring of the uterine cavity or adenomyosis” (Yale Medicine)
  • The woman might have had several failed pregnancies, stillbirths, and miscarriages, which indicate another pregnancy might not yield good results.
  • The woman has experienced complications while giving birth that is a cause for concern and may indicate another pregnancy could be fatal for the mother or baby.

What is the procedure for a gestational carrier?

It might differ slightly from one clinic to another. Essentially, it is the same. In this article, we will include what the process is like at Yale Medicine as described by the clinic itself! It begins with an evaluation of the gestational carrier. This evaluation is both psychological and physical. This is to ensure that the gestational carrier is ready to take on the overwhelming job of carrying another individual’s baby. The woman then undergoes a practice embryo transfer. By undergoing a practice run, the specialists are able to gain a better understanding of how the GC’s uterus will respond to the medications required to prepare the uterus for the transfer. Once the GC’s ovulation is aligned with the biological mother’s, the embryo is transferred and the hard part is essentially over! From there onwards it’s simply a regular pregnancy. 

Gestational Carriers are Growing in Popularity

As the scientific field progresses, more and more gestational carriers are being used by infertile couples. In fact, the CDC has some data that can help put it into perspective!

  • During the period of 1999 to 2013, 2% of all artificial reproductive technology cycles involved a gestational carrier. This equates to 30,927 cycles.
  • The couples using a GC were often older.
  • GC cycles had better rates of live pregnancy when compared to the cycles which did not have a GC. 
  • Multiple births were more common among GC cycles

How to Find a Gestational Carrier and Things to Keep in Mind

One of the first steps is finding a surrogacy agency. Steps after that involve choosing the GC and reviewing the abundant legal matters that surround the situation. These govern every aspect, from the extent of involvement of the intended parents during the pregnancy and whether the child will have contact with the GC when he or she grows up.

Knowing whether a GC is right for you is a conversation involving you, your partner, and your fertility doctor. People may have their own opinions about your use of a GC. They might see it as unnatural and belittle you for the choices you have made. At the end of the day, they don’t have all the information to be making claims about your fertility. Check out some of the articles we have referenced to explore more aspects of having a GC!

References:

  1. “Surrogacy: Who decides to become a gestational carrier ….” 5 Mar. 2020, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/surrogacy-who-decides-to-become-a-gestational-carrier-2020030519052. Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.
  2. “ART and Gestational Carriers | Key Findings | Assisted … – CDC.” 5 Aug. 2016, https://www.cdc.gov/art/key-findings/gestational-carriers.html. Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

“Gestational Surrogacy > Condition at Yale Medicine.” https://www.yalemedicine.org/conditions/gestational-surrogacy/. Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

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