Gestational surrogacy is an exceptional gift for women who can’t carry a baby, same-sex male couples, and single men who are ready to build their family.
Whether your journey just started and you need a fertility evaluation, or you already know you need a surrogate pregnancy, you can have confidence in the experience, skill, and compassionate care provided by Fangyin Meng, MD, PhD, in Newport Beach, California,
Gestational surrogacy defined
Gestational surrogacy occurs when a woman carries and delivers a baby for another couple or person. The eggs used during in vitro fertilization (IVF) do not come from the surrogate, so she is not biologically related to the baby she carries.
Finding a gestational surrogate
Some people ask a friend or family member to be their surrogate. Or we can work with you and your attorney to help you find a reputable surrogate agency.
Either way, surrogates are carefully screened to make sure they’re physical and psychologically healthy and can carry a full-term pregnancy without complications. It’s also important to know that the parents, or the egg or sperm donors, are also screened for infectious diseases.
Legal steps toward gestational surrogacy
The state of California is known as a surrogacy-friendly state. That’s because California allows the intended parents to establish their legal rights before the baby is born and without going through adoption.
Additionally, both parents can be declared legal parents regardless of their marital status, sexual orientation, and whether they’re using donor sperm or eggs of their own.
However, you must follow specific steps and complete all the legal requirements for your surrogacy agreement to be valid and legal in California.
For example, parents must establish their parentage before the baby’s birth. Additionally, your gestational surrogacy agreement must be notarized and filed in a court of law before we begin IVF. California also requires parents and surrogates to have separate attorneys to ensure everyone’s rights are protected.
Candidates for gestational surrogacy
Gestational surrogacy is a great option for male same-sex couples who want to have children. Women often need a surrogate to carry their baby when they have repeated miscarriages, recurrent IVF implantation failure, or a medical condition that makes it too risky or impossible to carry a full-term baby.
You may also need to consider gestational surrogacy if you have a congenital, medical, or gynecological condition that affects your uterus and interferes with carrying a baby. A few examples include endometriosis, uterine fibroids, fallopian tube scarring, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Before a woman decides to use a gestational surrogate, we complete a comprehensive fertility exam. In some cases, we can identify and successfully treat the reason for your infertility or try other infertility treatments before you decide to have a gestational surrogate.
IVF process during gestational surrogacy
After you find a surrogate and complete all the legal requirements, we begin the IVF process. IVF involves a series of steps called an IVF cycle.
If you’re using your own eggs, you take fertility medications that stimulate several eggs to mature. While you take the medications, you have several follow-up appointments, so we can closely monitor how you respond to the medication and determine when the eggs have matured.
Your gestational surrogate also follows a strict medication regimen. Their medications regulate their menstrual cycle and prepare the uterine lining for implantation.
We use a special needle to withdraw the mature eggs from your ovary.
Your partner can time their sperm donation to coincide with your egg retrieval. Alternatively, they can donate ahead of time and we will freeze their sperm. Otherwise, we make sure the donor sperm are on site and ready at the time of your egg retrieval.
As soon as we have the eggs and sperm, we take them to the embryology lab for fertilization. We may place them together and let the sperm fertilize the eggs naturally. Or we may inject the healthiest sperm into the egg. Once the eggs are fertilized, they’re incubated for several days.
Three to five days after successful fertilization, we use a thin catheter to insert one or more embryos into your gestational surrogate’s uterus. Then we run a pregnancy test in about two weeks. Once the pregnancy is confirmed, your gestational surrogate begins seeing their obstetrician or maternal-fetal specialist.
If you need compassionate care for infertility or if you have questions about gestational surrogacy, book an appointment online or over the phone with Fangyin Meng, MD, PhD, today.