While women have difficulties conceiving a pregnancy, others have difficulty carrying a pregnancy to term. Gay men, who often have a sperm source and may procure donated eggs, require a uterus to carry the resulting embryo. In cases like this, individuals can utilize what is known as a gestational carrier. During this process, the intended parent(s) undergo an IVF cycle (with or without egg donation), where we stimulate the ovaries of the egg provider with hormones and retrieve her eggs. Her eggs are mixed with sperm (either from an identified parent or a donor) to produce embryos. The resulting embryos are then transferred into the uterus of the gestational carrier – a woman who is neither an egg provider nor intended parent. She will have been given hormones to prepare her uterus and support a pregnancy. She carries and delivers a child for individuals who cannot carry their own pregnancy. The gestational carrier has no genetic link to the fetus that she carries.
Who is a Candidate for Gestational Carrier services?
The Center physicians will determine if a gestational carrier is clinically indicated, and then advise on how to proceed. Candidates for this special program include any women who cannot successfully carry a pregnancy to term, those who cannot be pregnant for health reasons, or gay men. Clinical indications for gestational carrier services are:
- Women who have had their uterus removed but retain one or both ovaries
- Uterine factors such as fibroids, severe scar tissue, DES exposure, or congenital anomalies that cannot be surgically corrected
- Serious medical conditions in which a pregnancy would put a mother’s health at a significant risk
- Gay men
How Does a Gestational Carrier Work?
Prior to initiating a cycle, the intended parent(s) and their carrier undergo medical, psychological and legal counseling. After that is completed, they attend a teaching class. Some people have an identified gestational carrier they have already selected. Other couples use a service we have available that screens and contracts a carrier for them. In this second scenario, the carrier is compensated for her time and effort. The carrier uses medication to prepare her uterus, while the parent(s) begin their stimulated IVF cycle with or without the use of an egg donor. The eggs and sperm are used to produce embryos that are then transferred in to the uterus of the gestational carrier. If a pregnancy is achieved, the carrier will be followed for about 6 weeks with us, and then discharged to an obstetrician to continue the prenatal care.
What are the success rates for the Gestational Carrier Program?
For more information about gestational carrier success rates at The Center, please click here.
How do I get more information about the Gestational Carrier Program?
To make an appointment or for more information about our Gestational Carrier Program please call The Center for Advanced Reproductive Services at 844-HOPEIVF.