We have many Fertility Help Hub readers coming to us, looking at third party reproduction to help them have a family. Donor conception and surrogacy is becoming a much more widely accepted and discussed route to parenthood. For this reason, we’ve turned to our partner Surrogacy and Egg Donation Agency, Extraordinary Conceptions, to find out more.
Over to Hilary at Extraordinary Conceptions
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Every year in October, Baby Loss Awareness Week takes place in the UK, to help raise awareness around pregnancy and baby loss .
We therefore felt it fitting and important to highlight some of the most common reasons why some people pursue surrogacy, given that recurrent miscarriage and pregnancy loss are just two of the many reasons why intended parents (IPs) choose the surrogacy route to parenthood.
Surrogacy is for any person who cannot carry a child on their own, whether it be for medical, social, genetic or sexual orientation reasons. Although in many countries surrogacy is illegal or difficult to pursue, fortunately in destinations such as North America, surrogacy has become an increasingly popular and accessible way of family building, providing fertility help and an alternative route to parenthood for intended parents, both nationally and internationally. With that said, let us take a look at some of the most common reasons why someone may require a surrogate to have a child.
Related Article – Egg Donor Selection – How to Choose an Egg Donor: Tips and Points to Consider from The Experts at Extraordinary Conceptions
1. Recurrent Miscarriage & Repeated Pregnancy Loss
Many women who have trouble trying to conceive naturally, seek help and undergo treatment at a fertility clinic, in order to achieve and sustain a pregnancy. Unfortunately, a pregnancy is never guaranteed, and several of these women still experience miscarriage and baby loss, even following fertility treatment. Sometimes the diagnosis is unexplained, or at other times the women may have a ‘known’ uterine abnormality that is not responding to treatment. The experience of falling pregnant and losing the pregnancy can be extremely difficult at any stage of a pregnancy and therefore some of these women will turn to surrogacy in order to have a child.
2. Absence Of a Uterus
Some women are born with a congenital abnormality called Mayer Rokitansky Küster Hauser syndrome (MRKH) meaning they do not have a uterus. Often a woman learns of this abnormality when she is young and when she fails to get a menstrual period. Although women with MRKH typically have functioning ovaries and viable eggs; with no uterus – they would not be able to carry a child or fall pregnant. In addition to this, other women may not have a uterus due to a surgical procedure called a Hysterectomy, where the uterus is removed due to reasons such as cancer or fibroids. Without a uterus a woman is unable to carry a child and therefore may require a surrogate to carry their child for them.
3. Advanced Maternal Age
Women in their forties and older will often seek surrogacy as their first choice, in order to bring a child safely into the world. Women of advanced maternal age are at an increased health risk when falling pregnant and may also have more difficulty sustaining a pregnancy, even if an egg donor was used.
4. Medical Conditions
Typically, under the advice of a fertility specialist, a woman may choose not to get pregnant due to underlying medical conditions that may make pregnancy risky for her and/or a developing baby in utero. Some of the possible conditions could be heart problems, autoimmune disorders, kidney failure or even a diagnosis of infectious disease that could be transmitted and harm a growing fetus.
Related Podcast – Cystic Fibrosis and Ten Years to Conceive Via Surrogacy
Endometriosis is a painful and long-term disorder that affects the lining of the uterus (womb), making it difficult and sometimes risky to conceive. With fertility treatment, some women with endometriosis may fall pregnant and achieve success, however others may not and may need the help of a surrogate in order to reach and sustain a successful and healthy pregnancy.
6. Complicated Past Pregnancies or Deliveries
Women who have experienced a difficult pregnancy or delivery and/or have had severe complications during a former pregnancy, may choose surrogacy if they want more children. These women may be reluctant to pursue another pregnancy or it could be that their fertility specialist may have advised against it in order to avoid another high-risk pregnancy. Some complications that may cause a high risk pregnancy and/or delivery are preeclampsia, placenta abruption (or other placenta complications), haemorrhage, cervical issues, bed rest and many others.
Related Article – HELLP Syndrome and Baby Loss: Trust and Follow Your Instincts
7. Same Sex or Single Males
Surrogacy has become a growing, successful and acceptable form of family building for same sex male couples and single men worldwide. With the absence of a uterus and ovaries – same sex male couples and single men seek out fertility help through surrogacy and egg donation, in order to achieve their dreams of becoming parents.
8. Elective Surrogacy
Some women may have business obligations, family circumstances, time constraints or other responsibilities and/or commitments that make it difficult to try to conceive and go through a pregnancy. Therefore, these particular women may choose the surrogacy route in order to have a child.
Related Video – Egg Donation & Surrogacy – Meet the Founders of Extraordinary Conceptions and The Surrogacy Law Center – Making the Impossible Possible
As you can see, there are many reasons why someone may look to surrogacy as a viable, successful and acceptable way of having a child. Whatever the reason may be – there are options across North America to help you achieve your dreams of parenthood through surrogacy.
Hilary is the UK-based International Client Relations Consultant for Extraordinary Conceptions Agency. Part of Hilary’s role is to support, educate and guide intended parents through the process of surrogacy and egg donation in North America, as well as to develop and grow more accessible options internationally. Hilary has over 15 years of nursing experience with almost a decade in reproductive health and infertility. Her passion for this specialized area of fertility began almost a decade ago when she worked as an International Nurse Coordinator in a large surrogacy and egg donor program at an IVF clinic in Canada. Hilary’s passion to assist more intended parents globally inspired her to relocate to the United Kingdom, where she has been able to carry out her desire to bring more accessible surrogacy options to intended parents worldwide. You can contact Hilary and the team here to find out more and have your questions answered.
Related Quiz – What Do You Really Know About Gestational Surrogacy & Egg Donation in North America?