Shedding Light on Surrogacy – Types of Surrogacy
Filmstar Shahrukh Khan, and his wife Gauri Khan, have been in the news recently after they had a baby boy through surrogacy. What is surrogacy and exactly how does it work? Let's find out.
What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy refers to a method of assisted reproduction. The word surrogate originates from the Latin word surrogatus (substitution) - to act in the place of. The term surrogacy is used when a woman carries a pregnancy and gives birth to a baby for another woman.
Off late, surrogacy has been gaining in popularity as for some couples, this becomes the only method to have their own child. Coupled with the fact that adoption can be a long drawn out process, surrogacy becomes the preferred option.
Types of surrogacy
Surrogacy is of two types:
This is the more common form of surrogacy. In this procedure, a woman carries a pregnancy created by the egg and sperm of the genetic couple. The egg of the wife is fertilized in vitro by the husband's sperms by IVF/ICSI procedure and the embryo is transferred into the surrogate's uterus. So while the surrogate carries the pregnancy for nine months, the child is not genetically linked to the surrogate.
This is where the surrogate is inseminated or IVF/ICSI procedure is performed with sperms from the male partner of an infertile couple. The child that results is genetically related to the surrogate and to the male partner but not to the female partner.
Choosing between IVF and Natural surrogacy
The circumstances under which the two different types of surrogacies are suggested depend according the a range of factors.
1. Primarily, IVF surrogacy is indicated in women whose ovaries are producing eggs but do not have a uterus. For example:
a) Congenital absence of uterus (Mullerian agenesis)
b) Surgical removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) due to cancer, severe haemorrhage during a Caesarean section or a ruptured uterus.
2. A woman whose uterus is malformed (unicornuate uterus, T shaped uterus, bicornuate uterus with rudimentary horn)
or damaged uterus (T.B of the endometrium, severe Asherman's Syndrome) or at high risk of rupture, (previous uterine surgeries for rupture uterus or fibroid uterus) and is unable to carry pregnancy to term can also be recommended IVF surrogacy.
3. Women who have repeated miscarriages or have repeated failed IVF cycles may be advised IVF surrogacy in view of unexplained factors which could be responsible for failed implantation and early pregnancy wastage.
4. Women who suffer from medical problems like diabetes, cardio-vascular disorders, or kidney diseases like chronic nephritis. The long term health prospect for such women is good, but pregnancy could be life threatening.
5. Woman with Rh incompatibility.
1. Women who have no functioning ovaries due to premature ovarian failure. Here egg donation can also be an option.
2. A woman who is at a risk of passing a genetic disease to her offspring may also opt for traditional surrogacy.
Written by Dr Puja Rathi
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