Surrogacy – Everything You Need to Know in 2024

Surrogacy comes from the Latin word subrogare which means appointed to act in place of. As its name suggests, surrogacy is also known as an assisted reproductive treatment, where a woman agrees to a pregnancy achieved through assistance.

Types of Surrogacy

1. Traditional surrogacy

Traditional surrogacy, also known as natural genetic, is full surrogacy. This is where the surrogate utilizes
her own eggs (she becomes the egg donor) and it is inseminated with the sperm of the male
partner through a process called intrauterine insemination (IUI). In this process the sperms, that
has been washed and concentrated, are placed in the vaginal canal or directly into the uterus of
the surrogate.

2. Gestational Surrogacy

Gestational surrogacy or in vitro fertilization (IVF). This form of surrogacy is usually used when
the woman can provide the egg to make the baby but has no womb to carry the egg. In
gestational surrogacy the surrogate is only the carrier of the baby and has no genetic bond to
the child, therefore the child has the genes of the parents.

Although traditional surrogacy is less expensive than gestational surrogacy, due to the difference
in medical procedures to achieve surrogacy, couple’s opt for Gestational surrogacy because of
the emotional and legal complications associated with Traditional surrogacy. In traditional
surrogacy, the person carrying the baby uses her own egg. Therefore, the surrogate is the biological mother of
that child. She could develop a bond and potentially change her mind.

Reasons For Choosing Surrogacy

1. Infertility

This is the inability to get pregnant after having unprotected sex for one year. Infertility can result from either party or it can be a combination of both. Couple’s may want to choose surrogacy also because they have already gone through years of fertility treatments with no success. If you are experiencing infertility and would like to try surrogacy, you should speak to an infertility counselor or a surrogacy professional. They can guide you and give you your best options as well as prepare you on what is to come.

2. Single Individuals

Most men and women desire to have children. They may want to try surrogacy if they do not find the right partner but still want a family. Surrogacy allows for that person to have a genetic connection with the child. Laws and regulations are quite similar in the cases of couples and single individuals as it relates to surrogacy though they may differ in some instances.

3. Age

Age plays a significant role in fertility. As women get older the number of eggs that are being produced decreases. Research has shown that women above the age of 40 have a lower number and lower quality of eggs. That does not mean that you can get pregnant after the age of 40 because some women do without difficulty but it may differ for others. Being older also comes with a lot of risks and abnormalities in pregnancy. Abnormalities and risks
such as miscarriages, high blood pressure, birth defects, difficulty during labor and the lust goes on.

4. Medications

Taking some medications may affect your chances of conception. Drugs such as:-

Chlorpromazine

This medication is used to treat mood disorders such as bipolar and schizophrenia disorders. This medication give persons the ability to think more clearly, feel less nervous and decreases aggression and hallucinations. However, though helpful, animal studies have revealed evidence of embryotoxicity, fetotoxicity, neonatal mortality, decreased offspring performance and labor prolongation. Experts recommend avoiding the use of this medication in the first trimester as it may cause complications. This drug can also increase the amount of prolactin produced and therefore cause infertility issues in both men and women.

Prochlorperazine

This medicine is also known as an anti sickness medicine. It helps stop nausea and vomiting. Studies done on animals have shown that they may have harmful effects and the possibility of being teratogenic. However, there is no real strong evidence that this drug may cause harm to the baby. However, to be safe you can use it for the shortest possible time. In addition, prochlorperazine can increase levels of the hormone prolactin. If this hormone gets really high, it can cause the menstrual cycle to stop in women and can cause impotence in men.

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Amitriptyline

This drug is sold under the brand name Elavil. It is an antidepressant and is also used to treat cyclic vomiting. Studies have shown that taking this drug during pregnancy can cause an increased chance of preeclampsia. Also taking this drug during pregnancy does require extra monitoring of the baby because it can cause withdrawal.
Studies have shown that the toxicity of amitriptyline can lead to the decrease in sperm concentration, progressive motility and viability.

NSAIDs

Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are widely used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Studies have shown that using these drugs during pregnancy can lead to serious complications. Complications such as low levels of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby and rare kidney problems in the unborn as well. NSAIDs interfere with the release of the mature ovum and this leads to ovulation failure.

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Herbal medications

Herbal medications that can cause infertility include:-

  • Ginkgo biloba
    Ginkgo biloba, commonly known as Ginkgo, is a tree that is native to China. The leaves, however, are commonly used in supplements that aid in memory problems. Studies have shown that Ginkgo can affect the female reproductive functions. It can affect ovarian follicle and oocyte development and embryogenesis (the formation and development of the embryo) among other things.
  • John’s wort
    This is a flowering plant that has been used as an antidepressant. Studies have shown that John’s work can affect fertility as well as affect the birth of the baby.
  • Echinacea
    Echinacea, also known as the come flower, is a herbaceous plant found in the Daisy family and is used to treat colds and other infections. Using Echinacea while pregnant can increase the chances of women having miscarriages.

5. Physical Problems or Diseases

There are numerous physical situations that can cause infertility in both men and women. Conditions such as fibroids (a non cancerous growth that develops around the womb), hysterectomy (a surgical procedure that is done to remove the womb) and endometriosis (where the endometrium grows outside of the uterus) among others can cause infertility.

Before thinking about surrogacy it is important to weigh out all options. It is best to speak to an infertility counselor or anyone that specializes in surrogacy in order to determine the type and also what is best for you.

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