The methods by which modern families are created extend well beyond what you may have been taught during childhood (i.e., “when two people love each other veeery much…”). Today, there are a multitude of options that people seeking to build their families can consider.
With so many options available, narrowing down the best choice for your family can be challenging. Let’s explore the different family-building options you may have available to you, then read on to learn why surrogacy is so often an overlooked choice.
Your Family-Building Options Explained
Medications and Hormone Therapy
If you’re struggling to get pregnant, one of the first recommendations your doctor may make is to use fertility medications. Clomid is one of the first lines of medications your doctor may prescribe as a remedy for infertility. Your treatment plan may also include a variety of hormones, additional medications, and genetic testing.
Artificial Insemination and IVF
Artificial insemination involves a doctor placing sperm directly into the uterus, cervix, or fallopian tubes. The most common form of artificial insemination is intrauterine insemination (IUI). This process involves putting sperm directly into the uterus to increase the chance of fertilization.
On the other hand, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process that involves taking medications to induce ovulation, removing an egg (or using a donor egg, more on that below) from the ovaries, then fertilizing it with sperm in a clinical lab setting. The egg that becomes fertilized is known as an embryo, which is placed back into the womb to grow and develop.
The main difference between IUI and IVF is that, with IUI, fertilization occurs internally (sperm is directly placed into the uterus). With IVF, fertilization occurs externally (sperm is placed into the egg in a lab, then placed back into the uterus).
Using Donor Eggs, Embryos, or Sperm
Some families face infertility due to issues with the eggs being produced by the ovaries or low-quality sperm. For instance, a woman over the age of 40 may have trouble conceiving due to the quality of her eggs or poor ovulation. In this scenario, a family can consider using donor eggs, sperm, or embryos to grow their families. Using donor eggs, sperm, or embryos can increase the chance of a successful pregnancy.
Adopting is a wonderful choice for those who cannot conceive children naturally. Adoption does not involve any form of medical treatment or hormone therapy. Individuals can choose to grow their families by adopting from a private agency, going through the foster care system, or by pursuing a private adoption without an agency.
Finally, people can also choose to grow their families through gestational surrogacy. This process involves a family, known as the intended parent or parents (IPs), working with a surrogate, whose role is to carry a pregnancy on behalf of that family.
A gestational surrogate can carry a baby using:
- The mother’s eggs and the father’s sperm (full genetic relation to IPs)
- The mother’s eggs and donor sperm (only genetic relation to the mother)
- Donor eggs and the father’s sperm (only genetic relation to the father)
- Donor eggs and donor sperm (no genetic relation to either IP)
Why Is Surrogacy Often Overlooked?
Despite being a comprehensive family-building option that doesn’t require intended parents to carry a pregnancy themselves, parents often overlook surrogacy in favor of other options.
There are a few reasons why this is the case:
Reason #1: Surrogacy can be cost-prohibitive.
Many family-building methods come at a high price point, and surrogacy is no different. Much of the costs involved with surrogacy are due to the cost of fertility services, pregnancy, and delivery, which are all paid for by the intended parents. Surrogate compensation and agency fees are also necessary to consider. It is important to partner with a reputable agency, like Fairfax Surrogacy, that is transparent about the financial commitments and can offer financing options and guidance.
Reason #2: Surrogacy can seem intimidating.
Using surrogacy to start your family can be a bit intimidating. You’ll be entrusting the task of carrying and nurturing your unborn child to someone else, which can make you feel like you’re losing some control. It can be difficult to trust someone else to carry your baby for you, but with the right surrogate, surrogacy can be a wonderful way to build the family you’ve always wanted.
Reason #3: Surrogacy can be a long process.
There are a lot of steps to surrogacy. You have to find the right agency, get matched with the right surrogate, and anticipate possible complications… it is a lot and can quickly feel overwhelming. It is important for intended parents to choose a surrogacy agency they can lean on when challenges occur to ensure a successful outcome.
While these reasons for being intimidated are valid, don’t be quick to dismiss surrogacy as an option for building your family. It’s an incredible option for family-building. In fact, for many, surrogacy represents a fantastic opportunity for parents to have a biological child when they otherwise couldn’t carry a pregnancy on their own. Surrogacy allows many people to build their families with more favorable birth outcomes. So, while weighing your options, be sure to consider surrogacy.
For more information about surrogacy
If you’re considering surrogacy as a family-building option, it’s important to understand the process and partner with a reputable agency that can guide you through each step. At Fairfax Surrogacy, we provide compassionate care and expertise to intended parents every step of the way. We offer a complimentary consultation to discuss your options and answer any questions you may have about surrogacy. Complete our request for information today to schedule your consultation and learn how we can help you build your family through surrogacy.