What is surrogacy?
A surrogate is another woman who can carry your baby with the intention of giving the child to you after birth. For some women and same sex couples, using a surrogate provides the only hope of having a child.
In Victoria and at Melbourne IVF, the term we use is ‘gestational surrogacy’. This means that an embryo is created using your egg and sperm or donor eggs and sperm. The embryo is then transferred into the surrogate’s uterus. The surrogate’s eggs cannot be used to conceive the baby, so she has no genetic link to the child. Only one embryo will be transferred to the surrogate’s uterus at any given time.
Surrogacy is a complex process, and there are several stages and requirements in place that you and everyone involved in the surrogacy arrangements will have to go through. These procedures protect everyone involved. All surrogacy arrangements require approval from the Melbourne IVF Surrogacy Review Panel and all parties need to undergo an independent psychological assessment.
Suitability for Surrogacy
A surrogate can be commissioned if you are unlikely to become pregnant, unlikely to be able to carry a child or give birth, or if you are likely to put your life or health (or that of the baby) at risk by carrying a baby or giving birth. You may have an absent uterus, an abnormality of the uterus that would make it unsafe for you to become pregnant, or another medical condition making pregnancy too risky for you or the baby.
When medically safe and appropriate, the commissioning woman is able to use her own eggs until her 46th birthday. If you decide to use donor eggs or embryos, the upper age limit for the commissioning woman is her 51st birthday.
The surrogacy program is also available to male same-sex couples who want to become parents.
Who can be a surrogate?
Usually a surrogate is a woman who is known to the commissioning couple. You cannot advertise for a surrogate, and a woman cannot advertise that she is willing to be a surrogate mother.
The surrogate must be at least twenty-five years old and no older than forty. She must have previously carried a child and given birth to a live child and it is strongly recommended that the surrogate has completed her own family. Her eggs cannot be used to conceive the child.