Gestational Carriers and Surrogates

Gestational Carriers, also mistakenly called Surrogates, carry a baby made from the Egg and Sperm of the Intended Parents

Women who have the ability to produce eggs from their ovaries but cannot carry a pregnancy because they were born without a uterus or their uterus has been removed, they have a congenitally deformed uterus, or they have a medical condition which eliminates them from successfully carrying a pregnancy can consider the use of a gestational carrier.  A gestational carrier is a woman who has an embryo derived from the sperm and oocyte from another couple (the intended parents) transferred into her uterus.  Once pregnant, she carries the fetus throughout the pregnancy and delivers the child for the intended parents.  Despite the fact that she carries and delivers the baby, a gestational carrier has no genetic link to the fetus she is carrying.

The treatment steps involved in the use of a gestational carrier are very similar to those of a routine IVF cycle.  The intended mother receives fertility injections designed to cause her ovaries to produce several eggs, these eggs are then non-surgically removed and combined with sperm from the intended father.  Embryos are then produced in the IVF laboratory; however on the day of the transfer, the selected embryos are placed into the carrier’s uterus rather than the uterus of the intended mother.

Before this treatment can be initiated, all parties involved must undergo medical, psychological and legal counseling as required by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART).  There is occasionally confusion surrounding the use of the terminology involved.  Some people tend to confuse the term “gestational carrier” with the term “surrogate.”  A true surrogate is a woman who not only carries the pregnancy for a couple but uses her own egg as the genetic material.  In these cases the fetus is genetically linked to the surrogate.  True surrogacy is not legally protected in the state of Texas and it is therefore not performed at the Texas Fertility Center.