What Is a Surrogate or Gestational Carrier (GC)?

A surrogate or gestational carrier (GC), is an arrangement where a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple or person. This technique requires the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF), since the eggs are retrieved from one woman, injected with sperm from an intended father, and the resultant embryo is implanted into another woman, the gestational carrier. When using a GC, the eggs used to make the embryos may or may not come from the carrier.

If the eggs used to create the embryos are from the GC, then at OC Fertility we have her undergo IVF to retrieve eggs to create embryos that are later transferred back into her uterus, since traditional surrogacy is not an acceptable treatment in the state of California.

Please note: A gestational carrier is different from a traditional surrogate, where the surrogate mother uses her own eggs via intra-uterine insemination to create the child for the intended parents or individual. Traditional surrogacy is not legal in the state of California.

When Is It Used?

A GC is used when a prospective parent wishes to have a child, and either does not have a uterus, has a medical condition that makes it risky to carry a pregnancy safely, or chooses not to be pregnant (e.g., for professional or personal reasons). A GC may also be an option for women who have a history of unexplained or uterine issues resulting in recurrent miscarriage. Finally, a GC is an option when a female partner is absent, such as in the case of a gay couple or a single male parent.

What Do I Need to Know?

Some patients request that a family member or friend serve as a surrogate. Though it may be comforting and cost-effective to know the GC, there are certain issues that need to be carefully considered in this scenario. We work with excellent surrogate services in our area and can make recommendations. A GC should have a complete history and physical examination as well as testing for any sexually transmitted diseases. It is also recommended that GCs and their partner (if appropriate) have a clinical interview with a mental health professional. This is to ensure that they understand the psychological and social issues that may emerge from becoming a GC.

Information Source: American College of Gynecologic Surgeons

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