A gestational carrier is a woman who carries a child conceived through the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) for another woman. The child is not biologically related to the carrier. The embryo implanted in the gestational carrier can be that of the intended parents or an embryo achieved through egg donation.
Gestational carriers differ from traditional surrogacy arrangements where the surrogate supplies the egg and is the biological mother of the child she delivers. Gestational carriers can be friends, family members or agency candidates. We are happy to work with couples desiring to use gestational carriers, but we do not offer a pool of candidates from which to choose.
Reasons women consider gestational carriers:
- Medical condition prohibiting pregnancy
- Post hysterectomy status
- Uterus malformation
- Personal choice
How it Works
The gestational carrier will be scheduled for a consultation with a center physician, who will evaluate her past medical history and current health status, including screening for blood and sexually transmitted disease. The husband or male-intended parent will have screening blood work done as well, including screening for blood and sexually transmitted disease. Once all screening criteria have been completed, the gestational carrier’s cycle will be synchronized with the intended parent or egg donor to ready the gestational carrier’s body for pregnancy.
After egg retrieval and fertilization, one to two resulting embryos will be placed in the uterus of the gestational carrier, who will carry the baby during the pregnancy. When the child is born, the gestational carrier will turn birth rights over to the intended parents.
An overview of the process for intended parents:
- Meet with center physician for Intake, treatment process and consents
- Meet with psychologist
- Meet with lawyer to develop contract between intended parent(s) and gestational carrier
The gestational carrier will establish a relationship with the intended parent(s) and obtain legal advice before entering into a contract with the intended parent(s). Gestational carrier arrangements are usually set either independently or through an agency. The agency will require a contract between both the gestational carrier and intended parents.
The rights of both parties should be legally spelled out, including compensation arrangements. Some legal restrictions may be placed on the gestational carrier before and during her pregnancy up until she delivers. The Bethesda Fertility Center will need a formal letter from the intended parents’ attorney indicating that a legal arrangement is in place.