A gestational carrier can be used by individuals and couples who are unable to carry a pregnancy themselves. Same sex couples, single men, and women (single or in a relationship) who have uterine obstructions, no uterus or are unable to safely carry a pregnancy are all candidates for using gestational carriers.

The parents-to-be are known as the “intended parents” and are involved with the gestational carrier from the beginning of the process. Once the child is born, the intended parents raise the child. The split between frozen and fresh embryo transfers is about 50/50 for our gestational carriers. In either treatment plan, the gestational carrier takes progesterone and estrogen to thicken the uterine lining which is needed to support implantation and development of the pregnancy. The uterine lining is monitored and an embryo transfer date in scheduled. The transfer procedure takes approximately 2 minutes and no anesthesia is needed.

We work with a number of agencies who help intended parents find and select the best gestational carrier for them. View a list of agencies we recommend to our patients.

Surrogate vs. Gestational Carrier

The word “surrogate” is often used interchangeably with “gestational carrier” but there is a big difference between the two. A traditional “surrogate” is a woman who uses her egg and is inseminated, with the sperm of the intended father or a sperm donor, to become pregnant. The resulting child is biology hers. A gestational carrier is a woman who carries an embryo created through the process of IVF (using the intended mothers or a donor’s egg and the sperm of the intended father or a sperm donor) to become pregnant. The resulting child has no genetic link to the gestational carrier.

The costs associated with a surrogate tend to be lower than a gestational carrier because a separate egg donor isn’t needed. However, the emotional/legal risk of using a traditional surrogate greatly out-weights the potential cost savings. Traditional surrogates have been known to change their mind once a child is born. Depending on the laws of the state where the child is born, gestational surrogacy contracts are not enforceable.

With this in mind, we strongly recommend patients choose a gestational carrier. A gestational surrogacy contract is necessary and required for all patients using a carrier in our fertility clinic. This legal contract should outline the specifics of the situation and what is expected of each party. This documentation is put in place to protect the best interests of both parties. With the proper legal contracts, patients can safely use gestational carriers delivering in Illinois and Missouri where our fertility clinics are located. If delivering in another state is possible, it is important to understand the laws in that specific state. We have a list of recommended reproductive attorneys, who understand and are up-to-date on the intricacies reproductive law, who can help you draft and execute this agreement.

See a list of recommended reproductive law attorneys, who work with our patients on a regular basis.