Surrogacy is an arrangement whereby a woman agrees to become pregnant for the purpose of gestating and giving birth to a child for others to raise. She may be the child's genetic mother (the more traditional form of surrogacy), or she may be implanted with someone else's fertilized egg (gestational surrogacy) There is a tendency now to limit the term 'surrogacy' to only mean gestational surrogacy. Surrogacy may or may not involve egg donation, depending on whether the woman seeking treatment is able to grow eggs.

Who are the candidates for surrogacy?

Surrogacy is a method of assisted reproduction.

Surrogates are used in case the woman is unable to carry a pregnancy because of medical reasons. For example if she has had a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), or if she has had multiple miscarriages due to a medical problem in the uterus, etc. It is sometimes the only available option for a couple who wish to have a child that is biologically related to them.

What procedure does surrogacy involve?

The initial treatment in the surrogacy program involves all the steps upto retrieving eggs from the woman desiring pregnancy, in the same manner as described in IVF . However, after fertilisation, the embryos are placed in the womb of the surrogate.

How are the surrogates screened?

Women wanting to become surrogates for the couple have to undergo a series of tests before getting involved in the surrogacy program. Tests are done to prove their medical fitness to carry the pregnancy, as well as to make sure that she is free of all kinds of transmittable diseases. Only once we are convinced that the surrogate will not harm her or the baby’s health, do we go ahead with the proceedings.

Does the program involve any legal contracts?

Yes, a legal contract has to signed between the actual parents and the surrogate and her husband, prior to initiating any treatment. Organising meetings with appropriate legal personnel can be arranged for the couple undergoing treatment at the Assisted Fertility Unit. Besides, consent forms with the fertility centre must be in order before starting treatment.

Do overseas patients need to do anything special?

Legal paperwork needs to be tackled in the same way as for local patients. However, in order for the baby to go back to the country of origin, DNA fingerprinting is often used by the Embassy of the respective country, to ensure the parentage of the baby.