The Current State of Surrogacy?
We were recently looking up some statistics about surrogacy and came across these two documents about surrogacy trends around the world and surrogacy statistics for the US, specifically.
While these numbers and reports are interesting, nobody is very surprised to see that surrogacy rates are one the rise. One has to look no further than their local news stand to see that the number of stories about celebrities having children with surrogates are numerous.
At New Hope Fertility Center, the number of third party reproduction cases involving a gestational carrier (surrogate) has increased by 30% over the past 3 years. We believe that this is an accurate reflection of the rest of the US. Not only is surrogacy becoming more accepted as a way to have children, but it is becoming more necessary as the numbers of single men and same-sex couples rise.
While there are many countries where people can turn for surrogacy, like India, Thailand, Ukraine, and China, to name a few — many of those countries have poor or no legal protection for the surrogates or the children born out of surrogacy — in fact, surrogacy is completely underground in some of them, making it very unregulated.
Even in countries where it was legal, international law disputes can make things very complicated. A recent case like this involved a German couple who turned to international surrogacy because it was strictly outlawed in Germany. The couple went to India for their child, the surrogate delivered a baby created from the sperm and egg from the German couple, but because of the laws in Germany, the child was not allowed back into the country and the parents were told that their baby would not be recognized as a German citizen. Conversely, although surrogacy is a legal practice in India, under Indian law, the baby also was not recognized as an Indian citizen, so the child is essentially nation-less. Indeed, more laws and legislation are needed in order to make these cases less of a concern. This is one of many reasons why many couples look to the United States for surrogacy if they can manage it.
What makes New Hope unique with regard to surrogacy?
1) Superior Technology: New Hope is a world leader in advanced technology for fertility and reproductive care. In particular, we have the most state-of-the-art process for cytopreservation (freezing eggs and embryos): vitrification. Vitrification freezing technology means that you no longer run risks when freezing eggs/embryos. Because of this technology we are able to easily match up a high quality embryo with an optimally healthy womb and combine them without the traditional need for synchronization.
* What’s Synchronization?
In 99% of IVF clinics, the intended parent or IP (woman who wants to use her egg to make a baby but for whatever reason cannot use her womb) goes to an IVF clinic to have them watch her cycle, predict when her body will produce a mature egg (one that is ready to be fertilized and implant in the uterus to make a baby), retrieve it, fertilize it, and transfer it, fresh, into the surrogate. Because there are only are certain times when you can retrieve a mature egg, and only certain times when the uterus is able to take the egg and nurture it into a healthy baby, this synchronization is very difficult. Often times parties find themselves traveling a lot or using high doses of medications in order to make sure that the IP and the Surrogate have synchronized cycles. At New Hope, because of our freezing technology, we don’t need to synchronize the IP and the Surrogate…
2) Enlightened Protocols: At New Hope, we use Natural and Minimal Stimulation IVF (Mini-IVFTM) protocols, which are much easier on the body than traditional IVF. In particular, for older women (40-44 years old, who are the primary demographic for surrogacy) because they may be running out of eggs in their ovarian reserve, medications and drugs intended to stimulate ovulation are less effective. In contrast, Natural and Mini-IVFTM are effective methods for getting eggs since they allow us to focus on retrieving the one good egg that the body naturally produces.
3) New Hope Maximizes Effectiveness with Efficiency. With our vitrification technology and surrogacy protocol which does not require synchronization, egg production can be done much like an assembly line. One could think of it as a form of “organic egg farming.” Unlike normal IVF, where one would produce eggs, and then try to get it to implant in their own uterus (meaning that they can only do one or the other with the same body), surrogacy allows you to use two bodies, so that the IP can produce eggs and freeze them and wait until she has enough good embryos, and then the surrogate can try to get pregnant at the same time (and, while the surrogate is pregnant, the IP can even keep producing eggs for future pregnancies).