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  • Choosing Surrogacy or a Gestational Carrier- Options for Your Journey

    In this day in age, infertility is not all that uncommon. If you and your partner have been struggling with infertility then you also know it’s a lot to deal with or think about. Not to mention the fact that the number of options available nowadays to support infertility has increased. But still even with these advancements, some of these options could leave you feeling overwhelmed, worried or unsure. All of which are very common and expected. Also, if you’re anything else like the 11% of women in the US dealing with infertility, you’ve probably done tons of research trying to figure out your best option. That alone can be exhausting to navigate.  

    Think about all the options that are in front of you- medicines, surgical procedures or assisted contraception. The list and information tied to these options again is a lot. Especially when you’re also juggling the emotional aspect of things.

    So where do you turn? What do you do? 

    That’s where this article and experts like me, Tekla Barrett, come into play. With personalized therapy for your fertility journey the path you choose may not feel as hard. Meeting with a therapist can help you navigate your options, emotions and allow you to discuss your concerns in an open and calm environment. Therapy for infertility also gives you and your partner a chance to reconnect together, develop coping skills and move forward. But above all, remember these tips and strategies are all just suggestions. Talking with your doctor openly about your cause and also about what plan suits you and your partner best should always be at the top of your “to do” list. 

    Now let’s learn more about two options: surrogacy or using a gestational carrier. Keep an open mind, heart and above all always believe in your journey.

    Using a Surrogate Mother- What to Expect and Know

    Oftentimes surrogacy and a gestational carrier are confused or used inner-changabley. But there is a difference and it’s important to know how they differ. Surrogacy. By definition surrogacy is a process in which a woman carries and delivers a child for a couple. There is a legal process involved so keep that in mind as you are deciding if this option best meets your needs and situation. 

    With surrogacy, there are two kinds of surrogates. One being traditional and the other, gestational. If we’re talking about traditional surrogacy then that means a woman is artificially inseminated with the sperm of the father (or donor). The traditional surrogate carries the baby to term, delivers the child and then you and your partner raise the child. The carrier is the biological mother because her egg is being used with the father’s, or donor sperm. 

    The second type, gestational, is a little different. With gestational surrogacy IVF or in-vitro fertilization is used. Gestational surrogacy makes it possible to collect eggs from the mother (or donor), fertilize them with the sperm of the father (or donor) and then place the embryo into the uterus of a gestational surrogate. The gestational surrogate is called the “birth mother” but the biological mother is still the woman whose egg was fertilized. 

    Who is surrogacy best suited for? Oftentimes women who have certain health implications choose surrogacy for their journey. Some of these could include-

    -Medical problems with their uterus

    -A hysterectomy

    -Health conditions that make pregnancy difficult or risk

    Of course these are only some reasons someone may choose surrogacy. Maybe you’ve tried IVF before and haven’t been successful. If that’s the case then surrogacy could also be an option for you and your partner. However, make sure you analyze your situation and speak with your doctor before making any decisions. Remember your doctor should be someone you trust, rely on and can go to with any and every question you may have. It’s your body, your choice and your life. If you are reading this and questioning the relationship you have with your current doctor or aren’t feeling comfortable with him/her then by all means, find a new doctor. Your doctor should be someone you don’t think twice about talking with openly, and honestly. Fertility doctors are experts in their field for a reason, but if you have yet to make a connection with your doctor then it may be time to move on and find someone new. There’s no harm in it! Advocate for yourself, your body and your future. 

    Be mindful, knowledgeable and explore all options when it comes to your fertility. It’s important to speak your mind and know you have choices to make. And although it may be tough to find statistics on gestational surrogacy, it is a path that has helped thousands of couples grow their families. 

    But the choices right? Aside from dealing with infertility now you have choices to make as well? Yes, you do. And it may seem overwhelming and stressful but again that’s where therapy can help. When choosing to see a therapist, it’s all about you. It’s about how someone can help you think through your thoughts, and talk you through your journey. 

    Emotions may arise that link directly to making a connection with the surrogate and/or dealing with the biological aspect of your situation. Building supportive networks along the way are essential during this process. As you move forward and new emotions arise you’re going to need someone with experience to work with because the process can feel a bit like an unraveling ball of yarn. A little out of control, frustrating and exhausting. But therapy can help. Therapy can help you come out stronger, perhaps calmer and believing in your journey.

    Did you also know many turn to therapy to break through the stigma of infertility? There’s no need for you to feel like infertility is your fault, or sole responsibility. Therapy helps you realize this. It gives you the chance to connect with someone that can listen in a non judgemental way, provide you with coping tools, giving you and your partner a chance to reconnect. Especially when it comes to choosing a path like surrogacy or, as you’ll read about next using a gestational carrier. Regardless, opening up and finding comfort in your situation is essential for moving forward. 

    Using a Gestational Carrier- What is it and how does it differ from surrogacy?

    So maybe you’ve talked with your partner, doctor or therapist about using a gestational carrier. What exactly is a gestational carrier and how does it differ from surrogacy? Let’s outline the difference. 

    A gestational carrier is a woman who carries and delivers a child for an individual or a couple. It’s a beautiful gift if you can’t carry to term on your own. This differs from a surrogate because a surrogate is a woman who donates their egg and then carries the baby for a couple. Surrogates also share a biological link. With a gestational carrier there is no biological link. 

    Again this is a choice that only you can make. And yes, these decisions are hard and can feel overwhelming, but that’s why finding support is essential. You don’t want to feel alone.

    Infertility and Your Journey

    Ultimately the choice is yours, but it’s important to always analyze your situation and think about what makes you and your partner the happiest. Infertility is something you don’t have to go through alone. From knowing your unique situation to thinking about, talking about and knowing your choices, I can provide comfort and support every step of the way. It’s always going to be about you, what you and your partner are comfortable with and what feels right. Believe in you, believe in your journey