Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 18:42 EDT

What’s the Difference Between a Gestational Carrier and a Surrogate?

May 7, 2012

Shady Grove Fertility Offers Comprehensive Gestational Carrier Program

ROCKVILLE, Md., May 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The term “gestational carrier” has been in the headlines lately, due in part to reality stars Giulana and Bill Rancic. After hurdles and a scare with breast cancer, the couple is using a gestational carrier, a woman who carries another couple’s fertilized embryo to term, to have their baby. Finding and using a gestational carrier can be complicated in some states.

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“Fortunately, Maryland is one of the states which recognizes there are medical reasons why a gestational carrier may be the only way a couple can have a baby and allow gestational surrogacy. Consequently, many couples come to Shady Grove Fertility for care,” says Dr. Gilbert L. Mottla, a Reproductive Endocrinologist in Shady Grove Fertility’s Annapolis, Maryland office.

Gestational carriers and surrogates are not the same, a surrogate is someone who donates her egg and then subsequently carries the child; she is genetically linked to that baby. Today, such cases of true surrogacy are very rare. In the case of a gestational carrier, the woman carrying the pregnancy is in no way biologically related to the child she is carrying; the eggs and sperm are derived from the “intended parents” (or possibly an egg or sperm donor), through the process of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). The egg is fertilized in the lab, and then the embryo (or embryos) is placed into the uterus of the gestational carrier.

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 859 surrogacy and gestational carrier cycles were performed in the United States in 2010. Notably, there has been a 28% increase in gestational carrier cycles since 2007. Shady Grove Fertility has extensive experience with the gestational carrier process, excellent success rates, and unique financial programs including the Shared Risk 100% Refund Guarantee. If a couple does not bring home a baby through the gestational carrier treatment cycle, 100% of their money is refunded.

Though Shady Grove Fertility treats couples for a variety of fertility issues, there are many medical reasons that preclude a couple from conceiving and carrying a baby to term themselves. Any female who has had her uterus surgically removed from cervical or uterine cancer, fibroids, severe endometriosis, or a hysterectomy or where her uterus is simply not functional may be a candidate for a gestational carrier. Women who suffer from heart or other health problems that may make pregnancy dangerous for the mother and baby may need gestational carriers as well.

The good news is that as long as the ovaries are intact and functional, there is a strong possibility that the eggs may be retrieved and fertilized with the male partner’s sperm, or donor sperm, to create embryos that can then be placed into the uterus of the gestational carrier.

“With In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and a gestational carrier, a woman can still be a genetic mother while not putting herself or her baby at any dangerous health risk,” says Michele Purcell, RN Shady Grove Fertility’s Donor & Gestational Carrier Program Manager. “Shady Grove Fertility relies on experienced and reputable reproductive attorneys and agencies to recruit our gestational carriers. Though some couples come to us with a gestational carrier in mind, like a sister who is willing to carrier their embryo, about 75% of couples in this situation rely others to help find them a gestational carrier.”

In the case of same sex couples, intended fathers can use a gestational carrier along with a donor’s egg to complete their family. “In some recent cases here at Shady Grove Fertility, the sister of one partner donated the egg and the other partner’s sperm, linking the child genetically to both partners,” said Dr. Mottla. “The bottom line is that there are now many ways for couples to build a family.”

For more information on Shady Grove Fertility’s Gestational Carrier Program, or to schedule an appointment with one of the center’s physicians, please contact a New Patient Liaison by calling 888-761-1967.

About Shady Grove Fertility

Shady Grove Fertility Center is the largest and one of the most progressive fertility and IVF Centers in the United States, producing pregnancy success rates that are consistently higher than the national averages. Twenty-four reproductive endocrinologists, as well as PhD scientists, geneticist, and over 400 highly specialized staff care for the thousands of local, national and international patients who seek treatment through the Center each year. Shady Grove Fertility conducts clinical research in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health and is part of their subspecialty training Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology. In addition to participating with 21 insurance plans, Shady Grove Fertility has innovated a number of treatment and financial programs, such as Shared Risk 100% Refund Program, Multi-Cycle Discount Option for IVF, Shared Donor Egg, International Donor Egg, and Shared Help, to make treatment more affordable for more couples. Shady Grove Fertility is Celebrating 20 Years and 27,000 Babies Born. Shady Grove Fertility is a member of the Attain Fertility Network.

SOURCE Shady Grove Fertility Center

Source: PR Newswire