For women and couples who are unable to conceive due to an irregular or absent uterus – or if other fertility treatments have failed – gestational surrogacy may allow them to grow the family of their dreams. Gestational surrogacy (a.k.a. gestational carriage) is the scenario in which the woman carrying the pregnancy is not genetically related to the child and this is legal in the state of Texas. Traditional surrogacy, where the surrogate is genetically related to the child, by way of using her own eggs, is illegal in the state of Texas.
In the process of gestational surrogacy, eggs are removed from the intended mother, fertilized with the intended father’s sperm, and then they are placed into the uterus of a gestational carrier. This individual then carries the pregnancy until delivery, when the baby or babies are reunited with the parents. Donor eggs or donor sperm can also be used to help create the pregnancy.
Tens of thousands of children have been born as a result of gestational surrogacy – which is exciting to think about considering that the technology that enables us to perform gestational surrogacy has only been around for less than 30 years.
It is becoming more common to discuss infertility issues more openly – including scenarios of gestational surrogacy. Some ‘famous’ people who have disclosed using a gestational surrogate recently include Elton John, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Nicole Kidman.
It is still common, however, to have misconceptions about the process. Here are some of the more common myths about gestational surrogacy:
Myth: You have to know the surrogate who will carry your pregnancy.
Fact: If you are in need of a surrogate, your options could be either having someone in your life (i.e. sister or friend) in this role – or you could work with an agency that can provide a qualified surrogate for you.
Myth: Most surrogates will not want to give up the baby.
Fact: In most cases, surrogates already have children of their own. It is often the love for their own children that drives women to give other couples the same possibilities that they had in experiencing parenthood.
Myth: Any woman can become a gestational surrogate.
Fact: Even though most women could biologically carry a pregnancy for intended parents, there are a number of criteria that a gestational carrier must possess before being selected by a reputable agency or clinic. A woman has to have delivered a child in the past – and undergo extensive screening including bloodwork, ultrasound, physical, and psychological evaluation. It is imperative that the surrogate is a good fit for the intended parents and the process.
As Texas state law only affords statutory legal protection to married couples using gestational carriers, we are unable to offer gestational surrogacy to either same sex couples or to unmarried heterosexual couples.
If you have further questions about whether gestational surrogacy may be right for your particular case, please talk further with your nurse or doctor. You can also find more information about Texas Fertility Center’s third party services at http://www.txfertility.com/06surrogacy.php