In recent years, surrogacy has been an ideal conceiving solution for couples and individuals who have faced multiple rounds of failures with other fertility treatments. Though surrogacy is relatively a new process for creating a new life through assisted reproduction, it is quite common for intended parents to have uncounted questions while considering the process of gestational surrogacy. A lot of couples have concerns and doubts about how does surrogate pregnancy works. And whether a surrogate mother would share her DNA with my child.
To give a simple answer, no surrogate mother won’t share her DNA or genetics with a surrogate baby, she does not have any biological link with the baby only if the intended parents prefer the path of gestational surrogacy using the method of IVF. The child’s DNA comes 100% from the gamete contributors i.e sperm and egg cells from intended parents and or donors.
To understand how does surrogate pregnancy work? Let us walk you through the different elements of the surrogacy process
- Types of surrogacy
- How does surrogate pregnancy work?
- Genetic relationship between surrogate and baby
- Difference between genes and genetic expression
- Does a surrogate mother share blood with the baby?
- Can a surrogate keep the baby?
- Will the baby have a physical appearance like a surrogate mother?
- Who are the child’s parents in gestational surrogacy?
- Bottom Line
Types of surrogacy
Before we discuss how surrogate pregnancy work, let’s understand the different types of surrogacy and which kind can be suitable for you. Usually, surrogacy is referred to in two types: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy.
Traditional surrogacyHow does surrogate pregnancy work in traditional surrogacy? A surrogate mother is considered the biological mother of the child as she provides her eggs. Furthermore, her eggs are inseminated with the intended father donor’s sperm to form embryos through the process of intrauterine insemination (IUI) which she carries to term in her womb for 9 months. Since she contributes to the procedure by providing her gamete material, she shares her DNA with the child.
Traditional surrogacy is also termed as full surrogacy or genetic surrogacy. Due to the complicated process, the journey can be emotionally and legally challenging hence it is less preferred by intended parents these days.
Pros of traditional surrogacy
- It is affordable compared to gestational surrogacy
- Intended mothers do not need to undergo the medical process and screening as their eggs would be retrieved for the surrogacy process.
- Gay couples do not need to find egg donors separately, as a surrogate provides her eggs for the same.
Cons of traditional surrogacy
- Traditional surrogacy is prohibited in many countries
- Traditional surrogate shares the DNA with the child, hence there won’t be a genetic link between the intended parents and their child.
- Since she is a biological mother, IPs can find difficulty in obtaining the child’s custody.
- Many surrogacy agencies or professionals do not offer traditional surrogacy, seeing its odds, and complications, and also surrogates too are more comfortable with gestational surrogacy.
In a comparison of both types of surrogacy, with gestational surrogacy intended parents have full right to have a genetic relationship with their child when considering gestational surrogacy. Though, how does surrogate pregnancy work with gestational surrogacy? Intended parents would provide sperm samples and egg cells, which are then mixed to create embryos using the method of in-vitro fertilization ( IVF). Once embryos are ready, they are transferred into the surrogate’s uterus. Here a surrogate is just a carrier, hence she is termed a gestational carrier as well.
Pros of gestational surrogacy
- It allows intended parents to have a genetic connection with their baby It is more likely to be a fulfilling procedure due to its high success rates.
- Allows everyone to commence a family irrespective of sexual orientation or marital status.
- Aids is intended for parents to obtain parental rights right after the child is born.
- The surrogate mother has no parental rights.
- Allows intended parents to maintain good relationships with surrogate mothers.
Cons of gestational surrogacy
- The surrogacy process is time-consuming as it involves various steps with medical proceedings using IVF.
- Gestational surrogacy is complicated, as surrogacy laws vary from state to state.
- It is quite an expensive process to consider.
Considering the differences in both types of surrogacy, professionals recommend intended parents prefer gestational surrogacy as it assures a genetic link with the baby and parental rights as well. The journey might be complicated, daunting, and time-consuming but the assistance of a surrogacy agency like Global Star Surrogacy would make the surrogacy journey hassle-free and manageable.
How does surrogate pregnancy work?
If you are considering surrogacy to conceive your healthy child, the question like how does surrogate pregnancy work? might have appeared in your mind several times. Well, it’s quite natural to have doubts before initiating the surrogacy IVF journey.
Once both parties have agreed upon the terms and conditions involved in the surrogacy process and signed the surrogacy contract with consent then they can proceed with the medical procedure. Also a few fertility clinics ask for surrogacy before commencing the surrogacy IVF procedure.
How does surrogate pregnancy work using the IVF procedure? Intended parents are asked to undergo a physical screening test to determine their fertility condition. If both the partners have qualitative gamete materials then they can provide egg cells and sperm sample, if in case one of the partners have a poor quality egg or sperm then they would need a donor for the surrogacy IVF procedure.
A surrogacy agency assists you with finding a suitable donor for the intended parents, based on their profile donors are shortlisted and then physical and psychological screening is performed to ensure there isn’t any minor probability of chronic disease transmitting into the child. And the same procedure is followed to match with a suitable surrogate mother.
Once you have a donor with you, the egg donor and or intended partner needs to undergo hormonal therapy or medication to induce the egg development. Once eggs are ready, they are retrieved and placed in a test tube. Meanwhile, the sperm sample of the intended father or donor is collected and both materials are combined to create an embryo. After observing embryos for a few days, it is transferred into the surrogate’s uterus.
After the completion of the embryo transfer process, the surrogate needs to take a few hormonal medications like estrogen and progesterone to achieve successful conception. After a gap of 14 days, she is asked to take the HCG and blood test to check the pregnancy results. Once she confirms the pregnancy she continues with the procedure like any other pregnant woman.
Do surrogates share genetic relationships with the child?
This is a common concern that every intended parent considering surrogacy IVF has. Well, a surrogate mother does not have any genetic link or relationship with the baby. How does surrogate pregnancy work or begin? Once the embryo is successfully implanted into the surrogate’s womb, it starts growing in her uterus during successful surrogacy pregnancy.
The fetus development that occurs in the uterus is termed the placenta. It is considered one of the essential parts of any pregnancy as it not only nourishes the baby’s growth but also acts as a great filter. Placenta only allows certain factors like nutrients, and oxygen to pass through and otherwise, acts as a protector that protects the blood and DNA from passing between the surrogate and the baby.
A few intended parents fear the fact that a few studies state that cells can cross the placenta and enter the surrogate’s DNA into the baby or vice versa. But is it enough to impact the child’s genetic expression? Will a baby inherit a surrogate’s characteristics? The answer is no, there is not enough evidence that shows DNA passing through the placenta to impact the baby. The placenta is truly a strong barrier that keeps the baby’s DNA intact.
Difference between genes and genetic expression
If a surrogate does not impact the child’s DNA then what about his or her genes? Let us first understand the difference between genes and genetic expression.
Genes are the building blocks of everything that makes a person’s appearance. Usually, genes impact the child’s eyes colour, skin, height, hair, chances of developing any disease, and related things. Generally, a human’s 46 chromosomes contain thousands of genes, and a whole human genome involves 2 billion genetic base pairs.
Whereas gene expression refers to the process of the body using genes to develop biological products such as proteins. The human body does not contain all genes in a human’s genome and the difference in gene expression can lead to major differences in a person’s physical and mental characteristics
While a surrogate may not influence the DNA that makes the genes of the baby but it can impact the baby’s gene expression, hence it is important to determine the surrogate’s health by performing physical and psychological tests before initiating the surrogacy IVF process with her.
Does a surrogate mother share blood with the baby?
Few intended parents ask questions like do surrogate mothers share the blood with the baby? Or does the surrogate share the same blood type as the baby? Will the surrogate mother have a blood connection with my baby? Only traditional surrogates have a genetic connection with the baby hence the baby and surrogate can be blood relatives.
Whereas, gestational surrogates are finalized by intended parents and surrogacy agencies outside the family i.e who are anonymous. Since there is a genetic relation between the gestational carrier and baby there is no chance of having a blood connection between them.
A lot of IPs have concerns about whether surrogates share blood in the womb for 9 months, the answer is yes! In any pregnancy arrangement, blood, oxygen, and nutrients are passed to the child from pregnant women through the umbilical cord. The blood type of the surrogate mother doesn’t matter after all, not every intended mothers shares the same blood type with their babies.
Though, blood tests and rigorous medical screenings are necessary to determine the availability of communicable diseases in the surrogate’s body before commencing the surrogacy process, as the conditions can be transmitted to the newborn child.
Can a surrogate keep the baby?
Apart from genetics, intended parents have a concern with can a surrogate keep the baby. This does not happen until and unless the intended parents prefer to undertake the procedure of gestational surrogacy.
The gestational surrogacy journey involves forming surrogacy agreements separately for both parties. Wherein the parental rights of the baby once he or she is mentioned in the contract. Although, a few countries’ surrogacy law involves stating a surrogate’s name as a biological mother by default, in such cases intended parents can change the names of their parents on the birth certificate by applying for a post-birth order in the court of the particular country with the help of an experienced attorney.
A surrogacy agreement can act as proof for the intended parents in the occurrence of legal complications. One of the reasons for choosing gestational surrogacy is it assures intended parents of obtaining parental rights without much of unwanted complications. If a surrogate refuses to hand over the child to you, you can seek the help of the law and get your parental rights.
To give a short answer, can a surrogate keep the baby? Well, no she can’t both be granted legal protection, hence she has no right to keep the baby with her.
Will the baby have a physical appearance like a surrogate mother?
A baby born via surrogacy looks like two individuals who contribute to providing sperm samples and egg cells, in the process of how surrogate pregnancy work.
If intended parents choose to have a traditional surrogate then yes, your child may inherit the appearance of the surrogate mother as she provides her eggs in the traditional surrogacy procedure. Whereas, if she is a gestational surrogate then your child is bound to look like you as she has no connection with the child, she just carries the child.
If intended parents contributed to the procedure with their gamete material, then the child will look like them. Though, there is no guarantee that your child will look like you even in the gestational surrogacy.
If an egg or sperm donor is used in the surrogacy procedure then the child will have a physical appearance, hence it is important to look for all these factors while shortlisting the donors.
The appearance of the child comes down to the contributors of eggs and sperm samples i.e intended parents and or donors and not the surrogate mother.
Who are the biological parents in gestational surrogacy?
When a child is born through gestational surrogacy, ideally his or her biological parents are the one who provides their eggs and sperm sample. Now, few intended parents need the assistance of an egg and or sperm donor to conceive a child via surrogacy.
In the case of using donors, the child may be biologically related to either one of them. Though in terms of family bonding, biological link with donors doesn’t impact at all. Even though your child’s biological parents might be someone else, the procedure assures you to become the legal parents hence no one else can claim in the future that someone else is their parents.
Adoption is an ideal example of how biological parents don’t matter to kids, all matters is the bond and how they are raised. The real parents are the ones who read bedtime stories, hug their children when they lose hope, attend their favorite events with them, and be there for their child. Surrogacy and non-traditional arrangement of family bonding are the same.
Are you ready to begin your surrogacy journey?
From considering factors of how does surrogate pregnancy work to the physical appearance and sharing genes with the surrogate mother, we hope you got your answers. Surrogacy has been a boon for many intended parents as it assists in conceiving a genetically linked child with a safe procedure.
If you are still confused with the process, rules, and facts of surrogacy visit our website or book our free consultation call to initiate the conversation.