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Traditional Surrogacy vs Gestational Surrogacy

Most people that know about surrogacy know that there are two broad swaths of surrogacy, the traditional route and the gestational route. The traditional route is through the process of artificial insemination. The surrogate will use her own egg and the sperm from either the father-to-be or another donor. Gestational surrogacy is carried out through the process of IVF. The fertilized egg from another woman will be put into the uterus of a surrogate. Picking what option to take is one of the most significant and critical decisions you’ll make early on.


The traditional route used to be the only way for a couple to have a surrogate, and it is still a viable option for a lot of people. Artificial insemination is not painful, and it is much cheaper than IVF, and that is a big draw for many parents and surrogates. There is a big success rate when using a surrogate with a proven track record of fertility, and the second attempt after a failed attempt has a quick start, like usually a few weeks, and with IVF it can take several months.

There are a couple different ways that doctors can do the inseminations. They may go with IUIs or ICIs. Those acronyms are short for intrauterine insemination and cervical insemination. These options will be decided based upon whether or not the sperm is fresh or frozen, or even just something as capricious as personal choice. ICIs are kind of like the “turkey blaster” choice when people discuss artificial insemination, although a tiny little catheter is used instead of a real cooking utensil, obviously. IUIs, on the other hand, are accomplished with washed sperm. The semen is actually processed through a centrifuge, and it is continually spun all the way up to when the seminal fluid is separated from the sperm, and only the strongest sperm survive. A catheter is then inserted through cervix all the way up into the uterus, and the sperm is inserted directly into the uterus. A home insemination is another preference for many people. The surrogate will do an ICI at home. This is a free procedure. However, there might be a cost for a few medical supplies. A lot of people are pretty scared about doing it themselves though, compared to having a doctor do it. Some people choose to do it at home though to negate the quarantine period that many states have in place when working with sperm that is not from the husband of the woman.

Basically, surrogate mothers do not have to take any particular medications. They are on tabs of their own menstrual cycle, and they can time the inseminations based on when they usually ovulate. Some surrogates will work with parents and opt to choose their own fertility drugs, albeit mild ones, and this can help time the ovulation or increase the likelihood of having twins. The surrogate can use many tactics to figure when she’ll be most likely to ovulate, all the way from charting Basal Body Temperature or even ultrasound monitoring.

There is a big, big downside to using a traditional surrogate woman. There is a genetic connection between the surrogate and the baby that she carries. This is not good for many parents that don’t want any connection to the surrogate mother. A lot of gestational surrogates say that they do it that way because they cannot bear the thought of giving up a child that they are connected to. They might not feel happy about their own children having half-brothers and half-sisters too. Some people that do opt for traditional surrogacy say it is like egg donation. It is not nearly as much of a connection as the intended parents will actually have to the child they’re raising. People that opt for traditional surrogacy can understand the connection deep down in their hearts, and it is not a mystery or difficult to understand. There are some legal consequences of traditional surrogacy too. U.S. courts, however, have rarely taken sides with the gestational carrier. There is still more of a chance when the surrogate has a genetic link to the child.

Gestational surrogacy is a lot more expensive, and that’s why some people don’t go with it. It is more complex medically too. It does offer something that other options do not, however, and that is that the baby is entirely their own child. With the IVF procedure, a surrogate can carry an egg and sperm from an intended father and mother, respectively. The eggs are able to grow, and then they are transferred into the uterus of a surrogate. A donor can also be used if the sperm or eggs from the father or mother are not available.

The transfer of the embryos into the body is very easy, according to surrogates. It’s the getting ready for the transfer, and the weeks leading up to it, that can require a lot of medical help. There might be months of injections given on a daily basis. Birth control pills, hormone shorts, estrogen shots, Progesterone, and skin patches can be a part of the process. Sometimes, these medicines can be substituted for non-injectible forms, but the shots are still the most common method. If the surrogate is going to be transferring in a frozen embryo, then she may be able to forego some of the procedures. These medications can carry with them a lot of serious side effects. These include hot flashes, headaches, and tiredness.

Gestational surrogacy can cost a lot of money, and each IVF cycle can be in the thousands of dollars. There might be a wait of several months if the first attempt fails, and there is a greater miscarriage chance amongst pregnancies achieved this way. There are enhanced legal benefits to this method, though, and there is a lack of a genetic link. These are strong selling points for this method.



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