Tammy Enders, RN, BSN, OCN @ Carolina Conceptions
As you probably know, one in eight couples has difficulty conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy. Of this group, there are women who still dream of motherhood, and have viable eggs to fertilize with their partner (or have donor eggs and/or donor sperm), and cannot carry a pregnancy at all due to medical complications. These women need a gestational carrier. Same sex couples also use gestational carriers to achieve their goal of having a biological family.
The term gestational carrier is often confused with the word “surrogate.” A surrogate is a woman who donates both the use of her eggs and her uterus. A surrogate is therefore, the biological mother of the embryo, even if she provides the baby to the intended parents upon delivery.
A gestational carrier is a woman who carries a pregnancy for someone else’s embryo. The carrier is not biologically or genetically related to the child she agrees to carry. She provides her uterus for the fetus to grow, and after she delivers, the baby goes to the biological or intended parents.
How Does the Gestational Carrier Program at Carolina Conceptions Work? After a couple decides to use a gestational carrier, Carolina Conceptions will assist them in their search for the perfect match. Intended parents can choose to use a family member or friend who meets the physical requirements, or they can view profiles of women who offer their services through Carolina Conceptions. The intended parents and prospective carrier will meet to determine compatibility. If all agree to work together, they complete psychological screening to make sure all parties involved understand the process. Next, they consult with an attorney and draw up a contract outlining their relationship as well as expectations regarding compensation for the carrier’s time and medical expenses through delivery.
After the contract is signed by all parties, medical testing and treatment begins for both sides.
- Physical Exam for Gestational Carriers & Intended Parents including a uterine evaluation for the carrier. Intended parents and the gestational carrier’s partner (if applicable) are all screened for infectious diseases to protect all parties, including the embryo.
- Medical Treatment for a Gestational Carrier includes a uterine ultrasound to check the lining of her uterus along with medication of estrogen and progesterone to prepare her uterus for embryo implantation. While the carrier is completing her part in the cycle, the intended parents complete an IVF cycle (or obtain donor eggs and/or sperm), including egg retrieval, and fertilization of the retrieved eggs with the intended father’s sperm in the lab. All parties discuss and agree upon the number of embryos to transfer into the uterus of the gestational carrier. The embryo transfer takes place at Carolina Conceptions. The gestational carrier will continue progesterone medication for the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. An ultrasound will be done at 6 weeks to verify a healthy pregnancy.
- Upon Delivery, the carrier will relinquish all parental rights to the baby as stated in the legal contract.
Why choose the Gestational Carrier Program at Carolina Conceptions? Carolina Conceptions is a local clinic with a proven program. They have completed successful pregnancies for women with conditions such as Asherman’s syndrome, blood clotting disorders, adenomyosis, hyperemesis gravidarum, and heart disease. Carolina Conceptions has also helped same sex couples achieve parenthood through its carrier program.
The gestational carrier program at Carolina Conceptions has consistently maintained a 60% and higher pregnancy rate since it was developed in 2009.
To learn more, watch a video with Gestational Carrier Coordinator, Tammy Enders (RN, BSN, OCN), or schedule a consult with one of our physicians at (919) 782-5911.