Gestational surrogacy

Hum Reprod Update. Sep-Oct 2003;9(5):483-91. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmg033.

Abstract

Gestational surrogacy is a treatment option available to women with certain clearly defined medical problems, usually an absent uterus, to help them have their own genetic children. IVF allows the creation of embryos from the gametes of the commissioning couple and subsequent transfer of these embryos to the uterus of a surrogate host. The indications for treatment include absent uterus, recurrent miscarriage, repeated failure of IVF and certain medical conditions. Treatment by gestational surrogacy is straightforward and follows routine IVF procedures for the commissioning mother, with the transfer of fresh or frozen-thawed embryos to the surrogate host. The results of treatment are good, as would be expected from the transfer of embryos derived from young women and transferred to fit, fertile women who are also young. Clinical pregnancy rates achieved in large series are up to 40% per transfer and series have reported 60% of hosts achieving live births. The majority of ethical or legal problems that have arisen out of surrogacy have been from natural or partial surrogacy arrangements. The experience of gestational surrogacy has been largely complication-free and early results of the follow-up of children, commissioning couples and surrogates are reassuring. In conclusion, gestational surrogacy arrangements are carried out in a few European countries and in the USA. The results of treatment are satisfactory and the incidence of major ethical or legal complications has been limited. IVF surrogacy is therefore a successful treatment for a small group of women who would otherwise not be able to have their own genetic children.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / methods
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Selection
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Religion
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted / ethics
  • Surrogate Mothers* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Surrogate Mothers* / psychology
  • Terminology as Topic
  • United Kingdom
  • United States