- Fertility & Reproductive Systems
Gestational Surrogacy Cost and Success Rates
What is gestational surrogacy?
Gestational surrogacy is a rarely performed procedure. In gestational surrogacy the woman who is the recipient of the procedure is providing the eggs, while another woman – the gestational carrier - carries the pregnancy for her. It is different from traditional surrogacy, where the surrogate mother is inseminated with the sperm of the intended father, so the surrogate is in fact genetically related to the child. In gestational surrogacy, the receipient couple are the genetic parents of the child.
Gestational Surrogacy Process
Gestational surrogacy is used when the recipient woman is unable to carry a pregnancy to term due to lack of uterus, or has a medical condition that can be aggravated by the pregnancy. The following steps are involved in this process:
--Step 1.-- Selection and screening of gestational carrier. This can be done with a help of an agency specializing in finding surrogate carriers.
An appropriate candidate is selected and carefully screened for any medical conditions and diseases. Psychological screening is required for all candidates for surrogate provider to make sure the potential surrogate is psychologically mature and fully understands the ramifications of this procedure.
--Step 2.-- Legal Contracts.Consent forms and legal contracts must be written and signed by all parties. This is a crucial step in all surrogacy procedures. All parties need to agree in writing to the terms of the treatment. All issues, questions need to be clarified prior to the procedure.
--Step 3.-- Ovulation Stimulation and Timing.The patient takes special hormonal drugs to stimulate the development and release of multiple eggs. The surrogate carrier also takes medications to suppress her own menstrual cycle and stimulate the preparation of receptive uterine lining for the embryo to implant.
--Step 4.-- Egg retrieval and fertilization. Eggs are retrieved from the patient’s ovaries and are mixed with her partner’s sperm to fertilize. Once the fertilization occurs and cells start dividing, the embryos are ready for transfer.
--Step 5.-- Embryo transfer. About 3 days later embryos are transferred and placed into the surrogate’s uterus for implantation.
--Step 6.-- Pregnancy and birth. If the pregnancy was achieved, an ultrasound will be performed at approximately 6.5 weeks to check for a heartbeat. Another ultrasound may be performed at 12 weeks to ensure proper growth. After that the surrogate mother will be under a regular prenatal care. About nine months later, when the surrogate gives birth the child or children are taken home by the genetic parents.
Gestational surrogacy success rates depend largely on the age of the patient. Since egg quality sharply decreases with age, the younger the woman, the higher the chances for successful pregnancy.
Some programs claim live birth rates of 50% or more per transfer (for patients under 37 years old).
Gestational Surrogacy Cost
The price for gestational surrogacy is very high and can range anywhere from $45,000 to $70,000.
Why does it cost so much?
Surrogacy is extremely expensive because the medical technology and legal paperwork involved are extremely complex.
On top of the the medical fees for the IVF procedure, the receipient couple have to pay $6,000 to $9,000 to the agency that finds you a surrogate, $6,000 to $17,000 in lawyers’ fees, and $22,000 to $25,000 to the surrogate carrier. The gestational carrier's medical costs are usually covered by her own health insurance.