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pregnant woman at the doctorIf you are unable to carry a pregnancy to term, working with a gestational carrier may be an option for your family.

What is a Gestational Carrier?

A gestational carrier, also known as a gestational surrogate or gestational mother, is a woman who carries and gives birth to a baby for another person or couple. If you choose to try this, the embryos implanted in your carrier’s uterus can be formed by combining your eggs and your partner’s sperm. It is also possible to work with donor eggs or donor sperm if necessary. Gestational carrier arrangements can have a very high success rate, but it is important to understand the pros and cons before deciding to move forward with the process.

Why Work with a Gestational Carrier

There are several reasons you might want to work with a gestational carrier to achieve pregnancy. If you have a chronic medical condition such as significant heart or lung disease, carrying a pregnancy may put your health at risk. Working with a gestational carrier will allow you to have a child without putting yourself in danger. A gestational carrier arrangement may also be beneficial if you do not have a uterus, your uterus is atypical, or you have been unable to conceive pursuing IVF with your own uterus.

Characteristics of a Gestational Carrier

You can choose a friend or family member as a gestational carrier, or you can work with an agency who will match you with a carrier. The ideal gestational carrier is a woman between the ages of 21 and 40 who has carried at least one uncomplicated pregnancy to term. Potential carriers undergo extensive medical and psychological screening. Gestational carriers are screened carefully for infectious diseases. They must agree to a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy, including avoidance of smoking, illegal drugs, and alcohol.

If you decide to work with a gestational carrier, it is important to meet with a reproductive attorney to draft a contract addressing this arrangement. The contract should include provisions for fertility treatments, pregnancy, and birth. You will work with an attorney even if you choose a friend or family member as a gestational carrier. Your attorney will help you draft a contract that helps everyone understand what to expect throughout the pregnancy and after the birth of your baby.

Gestational Carrier Process

If you decide to work with a gestational carrier, pregnancy success from the embryo transfer depends on several factors. One of the most influential factors is the age and quality of the eggs used to make the embryo. If you are not able to use your eggs for this process, you may have better results working with eggs from a donor.

Gestational Carrier vs Surrogate

Many people use the terms gestational carrier and traditional surrogate interchangeably, but the two are slightly different. A gestational carrier is not related to the baby in any way. She volunteers to carry the pregnancy, but her eggs are not used to create the embryo. Traditional surrogates are biologically related to the babies they carry. They donate their eggs and then carry the resulting babies to term.

Expert Help for Best Results

There are many steps in the process of using a gestational carrier. For best results, it is important to work with an experienced reproductive medicine specialist. If you want to work with a gestational carrier, call Atlantic Reproductive Medicine Specialists. We will explain the process to you and help you collaborate with attorneys and reproductive psychologists, giving you the best chance of achieving pregnancy.