Surrogacy describes any situation where a woman carries a child to term for an intended parent (IP) or parents. Traditional surrogacy occurs when the surrogate‘s egg is fertilized by the intended parent’s sperm. In contrast, gestational surrogacy occurs when an embryo is created outside the body and implanted into the surrogate’s uterus, and the surrogate has no genetic link to the baby and does not share DNA with the child.
A gestational surrogate carries a child created through in vitro fertilization (IVF). The embryo created through IVF may be conceived using the intended parents’ sperm and eggs or using donor eggs and donor sperm. Gestational surrogacy offers a way to create a family for infertile couples, single men, and gay couples. The process requires a significant financial investment on the part of the intended parents, so naturally, many IPs are interested in gestational surrogacy success rates.
What impacts surrogacy success rates?
Surrogacy success depends on several factors. Nutrition, surrogate health, and the quality of the sperm and egg used to create the embryo all play their roles:
Surrogates must tend to their nutrition needs to keep the child they carry healthy. In this regard, surrogacy is no different than any other pregnancy. The surrogate works closely with an obstetrician and nutritionist to maintain a healthy diet that meets both hers and the developing child’s needs.
Age and General Health
Ideally, surrogates are between the ages of 21 and 40, and in good physical health. Intended parents may favor surrogate profiles that indicate the woman has carried pregnancies to term in the past, as this means the surrogate already understands how pregnancies progress and is more likely to bring the intended parents’ child to term.
The same environmental factors that can adversely impact any pregnancy apply to gestational surrogacy. Exposure to tobacco smoke, air pollution, heavy metals (such as lead in drinking water), and radiation exposure are just some of the factors that can impact surrogacy success rates. Whenever possible, steps are taken to reduce exposure to damaging environmental factors.
Egg, Sperm, and Embryo Health
The age of the egg donor is the most crucial factor when determining the odds of success of your surrogacy journey. After the age of forty the quality of a woman’s eggs declines and the risk of genetic abnormalities increases. Ideally, both the eggs and sperm used to create the embryo come from young healthy nonsmokers. Alcohol and recreational drugs can adversely impact the quality of sperm and cause fertility problems in men and women, so the use of such substances should be limited or reduced.
High-quality donor eggs and sperm increase the likelihood of a healthy embryo, which in turn increases the chance of a healthy child.
Approximately 1.9 percent of all babies born in the USA annually are conceived using some form of assisted reproductive technology. Success is closely related to the age of the egg provider. Using donor eggs results in a 65-70% live birth rate per embryo transfer, which increases to 75-80% if PGT-A is used. Birth rates gradually decline beyond the age of 35 and are lowest for women over 40.
Surrogacy embryo transfer success rate
Surrogacy embryo transfer success rate is mostly based on the embryo and less so on the surrogate. Women can carry pregnancies well into their 50’s with little decline in uterine function. Since surrogates are women who have successfully given birth, they have already proven the viability of their uterine function. Although success rates mostly rely on the age of the egg provider and whether the embryo was tested using PGT-A to determine normalcy, there are some surrogate characteristics that could influence both embryo implantation and birth. Among these are a history of failed embryo transfers or miscarriages, significant weight gain, complications in past pregnancies such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or preterm delivery and the development of medical conditions such as cardiovascular or autoimmune conditions. Mental health is also critically important given the responsibility that comes with surrogacy. Women with postpartum depression or history of mental health treatment need to be carefully screened to assure readiness for surrogacy.
How to increase your chances of having a successful surrogacy journey?
Intended parents can take steps to improve surrogacy success rates. Working with a well-established fertility expert like Santa Monica Fertility’s Dr. Jain has a significant impact on success rates, as do the following considerations:
Choosing an all-inclusive clinic
An all-inclusive fertility clinic simplifies the surrogacy process, as IPs can access egg donor database, IVF clinics, and surrogacy agency from one convenient location. When working with separate surrogacy agencies, egg donors, and fertility clinics, the logistics of securing an egg donation, transporting eggs to fertility clinics, and arranging for the surrogate to undergo IVF treatment are all made more complicated, raising the risk of something damaging the egg or embryo along the way.
Embryo genetic testing
Embryo genetic testing is used to screen embryos for known mutations and chromosomal abnormalities. The most common genetic tests used are PGT-A and PGT-M.
- PGT-A (preimplantation genetic technologies-aneuploidy) is used to determine whether the embryo has the correct number of chromosomes. A PGT-A test is also used to determine the sex of the embryo and is 99 percent accurate.
- PGT-M (preimplantation genetic technologies-monogenic) samples five or six cells from the embryonic blastocyst that will become the placenta and is used to test for specific genetic mutations that are present in the family history of the sperm and egg providers. The procedure is completed before embryo transfer
No genetic screening is completely accurate, but the risk of serious health issues caused by genetic mutations, hereditary disease, or chromosomal abnormalities is significantly lower when such tests are performed.
Premium Surrogacy only uses pre-screened surrogates. Before being accepted into our surrogate database, all applicants undergo extensive medical and psychological screening to ensure they are mentally and physically capable of carrying the baby to term with the greatest chance of success. Psychological screening is just as important as medical screening, as it assures intended parents their surrogate is mentally prepared for pregnancy and accepts the parental rights of IPs.
Choosing the right surrogate is an important step in the surrogacy process, and a decision intended parents take very seriously. By providing comprehensive surrogate profiles, Premium Surrogacy makes it possible for intended parents to choose a surrogate based on overall health, psychological soundness, personality, and even religion.
Ready to start your surrogacy journey?
If you’re considering surrogacy as a way towards parenthood, you likely have plenty of questions. You may be concerned with the legalities of surrogacy and what legal protections you have as the intended parents. You may want information on the surrogacy cost and using donor eggs, or want more information on embryo genetic testing or sex selection.
We encourage you to learn as much about surrogacy as possible while starting your journey towards your new family. Check out the Premium Surrogacy blog for a library of helpful articles, and don’t hesitate to contact us for more information. At Premium Surrogacy, we understand how important the decisions you make about surrogacy are for your family’s future. Let us know how we can make your surrogacy journey as easy as possible.