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Definition of Gestational Surrogacy
A circumstance in which one woman carries a pregnancy for another woman who cannot carry it herself. Gestational surrogacy is among the possible solutions for infertility, typically in circumstances such as uterine malformation that prevent successful implantation or carrying the pregnancy to term.
The woman who carries the pregnancy is the gestational surrogate or gestational carrier; the woman to whom the pregnancy belongs is the intended parent. The gestational surrogate may be a relative of or a woman or couple desiring the pregnancy, may know the woman or couple desiring the pregnancy, or may make herself available to a fertility clinic for the purpose of gestational surrogacy.
The pregnancy takes place through some form of assisted reproductive technology (art), typically in vitro fertilization. ART may use the intended mother’s egg, a donor egg, or the gestational surrogate’s egg fertilized with the intended father’s sperm or donor sperm. As with any pregnancy, multiple factors affect the success of these efforts.
Gestational surrogacy entails intense emotional and legal complexities as well as physical and health risks for the gestational surrogate. Women considering gestational surrogacy, whether as intended parent or gestational surrogate, should obtain legal advice before initiating the process.
It is crucial for all participants to fully understand the risks and to agree, via written contract, to the conditions of the arrangements.
In the United States each state determines the legal status of surrogacy; many states restrict financial arrangements with and payments to gestational surrogates as well as tightly regulate the myriad aspects of legal parentage and responsibility. Though gestational surrogacy is often a positive experience for all involved, the potential for complications and problems exists.
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