Some of the causes of infertility make the female partner unable to successfully carry a pregnancy to term, or she may have health problems that could make it dangerous to her own health for her to be pregnant. However, she and her partner may still want to have children. For these couples, the use of a surrogate to carry the pregnancy is an option. Some LGBT couples, including gay male couples, may also benefit from using surrogacy to create their families. We see quite a few couples who choose surrogacy coming to our fertility clinic in Tucson from Texas, New Mexico, and communities throughout Arizona.

What is surrogacy?

In a surrogate pregnancy, a third-party woman carries and delivers a baby for a couple (or, in some cases, for a single parent). In nearly all cases, the surrogate is not genetically related to the child; she becomes pregnant through IVF, using the couple’s embryos.

The embryos that are implanted into the surrogate are often created from the gametes (eggs and sperm) of both partners, but the gametes of one partner could also be used along with donor gametes (for instance, the male partner’s sperm with donor eggs). In some cases, both donor eggs and donor sperm are used; however, in this case, embryo adoption is often preferred.

What is the process for using a surrogate?

If you and your partner are interested in surrogacy as an option, the first step is to find a surrogate mother to carry your baby. This can be arranged through one of several surrogate agencies; we can help you get in touch with these agencies.

If you’re using your own eggs, then we’ll need to do a cycle of egg retrieval, which involves you taking hormonal medications to stimulate ovulation, and then your doctor retrieving the eggs from your ovaries using a small needle passed through the vaginal wall. If you’re using your own sperm, we’ll collect and wash it. If you’re using donor eggs or donor sperm, then you’ll need to contact a donor agency; we can help you get in touch with one of these agencies to start the process.

The embryos are created in the laboratory, by using the sperm to fertilize the eggs. Then one or more embryos will be transferred into the surrogate, whose uterus will be prepared to receive the embryo(s) through the use of hormonal medications. If the surrogate is young and healthy, then we’ll recommend transferring only one embryo, to maximize the chances of a singleton pregnancy (rather than twins or more). Ideally, the surrogate will become pregnant. She’ll then be cared for by an obstetrician throughout her pregnancy; the parents-to-be are usually involved in her prenatal care as well.

Our clinic is welcoming toward all types of families. If you choose surrogacy as the right path for you to create your family, we would be honored to help you. With our holistic approach, the parents-to-be as well as the surrogate will all receive support to create the healthiest possible family. That’s why patients come to our fertility clinic from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and even farther afield.