Leaders in Fertility Research and Care
Timothy N. Hickman, M.D. | Laurie J. McKenzie, M.D. | Katherine K. McKnight, M.D.
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Gestational Carrier

A Gestational Carrier is someone who carries a baby for another person or couple. There is no genetic link between the child and the gestational carrier. There are two types of gestational carriers:

Known Carriers:  A relative or friend of the intended parents who is willing to undergo the interventions and medications needed to prepare to receive the embryos; and then to carry a pregnancy to term.
 
Agency-recruited Carriers:  A woman selected through an agency. Agency Carriers receive compensation from the intended parents for their time and inconvenience.

Some women cannot become pregnant because they have an abnormal uterus, do not have a uterus at all, or they have medical conditions which do not permit them to become pregnant because it could endanger their health.

Despite these difficulties, women can become mothers by placing their embryos into the uterus of a woman who volunteers to carry the pregnancy for her. The woman who desires to become a parent uses fertility drugs to stimulate follicle growth and undergoes the egg collection. The sperm of her husband or partner is used to fertilize the eggs, and the resulting embryos are placed inside the "Host uterus." The woman receiving the embryos must use estrogen and progesterone medications to prepare her uterus and support the pregnancy.

There are several reasons for someone using a Gestational Carrier:

  • Inability to carry a pregnancy yourself due to recurrent pregnancy loss. Carrier
  • Medications such as anti -rejection drugs that someone takes following an organ transplant.
  • Absence of or anatomical problem with the intended mother’s uterus.
  • Absence of a female partner in a couple. 
  • Medical contraindication to carry a pregnancy such as: high blood pressure, heart disease or advanced maternal age.

The cycle may be configured several ways:

  • Using the eggs of the intended mother, the sperm of the intended father, and the embryos created and transferred to the Gestational Carrier’s uterus.
  • Using an egg donor, sperm from the intended father and transferring the embryos to the Gestational Carrier.
  • Using the eggs of the intended mother, a sperm donor and transferring the embryos to the Gestational Carrier.
  • Using an egg donor, a sperm donor and transferring the embryos to the Gestational Carrier.

All intended parents and Gestational Carriers must undergo psychological evaluation prior to starting a cycle. This can be done by our counselor for all parties or if using an agency recruited carrier the agency may arrange for the same. This is to ensure that all parties involved are emotionally stable, and recognize that the carrier has no “claim” to a baby born as a result of the treatment cycle. The Gestational carrier must be seen for a history and physical exam. Records from previous pregnancies, deliveries, and any OB/GYN treatments are required. The carrier is also required to complete a medical history form. All parties involved in the gestational carrier cycle, including the partner of the prospective carrier must have infectious disease screening. An evaluation of the uterine cavity of the carrier may also be performed.