The advancement in science has permitted new and advanced family building choices. Surrogacy is a good family building option for those couples who are not able or not willing to carry a pregnancy.
There are different reasons for people to opt for surrogacy:
- Infertility issues like repeated miscarriages force couples o look for surrogacy for family building.
- A weak health-related issue in a woman like uterine anomalies or absence of uterus doesn’t allow her to carry the pregnancy for a certain time.
- Lesbian and gays who are biologically unable to have children find the option of surrogacy very attractive,
- This is one of the best choices for single people who want to have their babies.
Types of surrogacy
Gestational surrogacy, a surrogate woman agrees to carry a pregnancy for another person. The future mother usually provides her egg or occasionally a donor egg and the future father provides his sperm or occasionally a donor sperm. Then by way of in vitro fertilization (IVF), an embryo is created. This embryo is then transferred into the gestational carrier (i.e., surrogate woman). The baby will have a biological connection with the surrogate woman but will not have any genetic connection with each other.
- Traditional surrogacy
In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate woman uses her egg to develop pregnancy. Her egg is fertilized with the sperm of the intended father. Usually, this type of surrogacy is performed through intrauterine insemination (UI) but sometimes in vitro fertilization (IVF) is also used. IVF is only used when intended parents desire to perform embryo’s genetic testing before its transfer to the surrogate woman. In this type of surrogacy, the surrogate woman has biological as well as a genetic connection with the baby.
Nowadays, gestational surrogacy is more common than traditional surrogacy. Since traditional surrogate will donate her egg and is also the biological mother of the child, it can create complex legal and emotional issues between the surrogate woman and actual parents of the child.
Some requirements for surrogate mothers:
- She must have delivered her child and completed her pregnancy without any complications.
- She must be in the age between 21 and 41 years.
- The body mass index of a surrogate woman must not be exceeding 33.
- She must not be addicted to alcohol, smoking or any kind of drugs
- A surrogate woman must be good mental health and not infected with any sexually transmitted infections.
Process of surrogacy:
- A willing person either a surrogate or a parent first needs to apply and get themselves registered.
- In the case of surrogates, they need to meet all the above-mentioned requirements, and parents need to complete the initial consultation process.
- Then the surrogates and parents are matched and medical screenings are done.
- Once the process starts, all necessary steps like surrogate medication, embryo transfer, etc. are performed.
- After the embryo is transferred, there comes the time for confirmation of pregnancy.
- After that, the whole procedure of nine months of a baby is delivered and further formalities are completed.
Unexpected issues with surrogacy:
Though surrogacy has a high success rate, everything doesn’t turn the same way. Some unexpected issues may arise in surrogacy and one should be prepared for them as well
- IVF or UI doesn’t guarantee a pregnancy. Sometime it may take a few trials for developing a successful pregnancy.
- The couple should always keep in mind that miscarriages are possible at any point in time.
- Surrogacy not always gives you a single child. There are chances for twins or triplets.
- The surrogate mother can have any health issues or complications during pregnancy.
ICSI stands for Intracytoplasmic sperm injection. It simply means injecting the sperm directly into the middle of the egg. Once the egg is retrieved from the female, ICSI is an effective method of fertilization of the egg.
ICSI is very similar to IVF (in vitro fertilization). They both fertilize the egg and the sperm, but the only difference is the method that they use for fertilization. In IVF, the egg and the sperm are left in a petri dish to fertilize on their own. The sperm naturally penetrate the egg leading to fertilization. In ICSI, one sperm is directly injected into the egg.
The procedure of ICSI treatment
The procedure of ICSI is done carefully in many steps:
- Ovarian stimulation
The first and foremost step in ICSI is preparing and inspecting the ovaries of the woman. To keep a check on the most fertile days, the menstrual cycle of the woman is regulated for two to three weeks. The thickness of the endometrium layer of the womb is also regularly checked to get the egg attached properly. Certain fertility drugs and injections are given to the woman to stimulate her ovaries adequately.
- Egg collection
The next step in the ICSI treatment process is the collection of eggs from ovaries. The doctors check the maturity of follicles, the woman is sent for egg collection after all the necessary medications.
The male partner is then asked to supply the sperm sample (or the frozen sperm) which is inspected and if approved, injected into the egg.
A medical procedure called progesterone support starts at this stage, in which cyclogest suppositories are given to the woman. Progesterone is the hormone that enhances the womb and develops endometrium lining to fertilize the embryos.
Now the doctors and the specialists carry the step in the laboratory. They will inject a single viable sperm into the egg and will keep a regular check on its progress till the fertilization is completed and the embryo is developed.
- Embryo transfer
The last step in the ICSI procedure is when the embryo is ready to be transferred to the womb. Embryo takes around five days to get attached to the uterus. Once the embryo reached this stage of attachment, the chances of pregnancy are very high.
Situations when ICSI is used:
ICSI is usually used when sperm is not able to fertilize an egg naturally, It happens when:
- Sperm count is very low or maybe zero
- Sperm is not able to move properly
- The abnormality rate of sperm is quite high
- The sperm is directly extracted from the testicles
- Level of antibodies present in the semen is very high
- The sperm has already been frozen.
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Is the egg retrieval painful?
During egg retrieval, you will be sedated and given medication so that you don’t’ feel the pain. After the surgery/procedure, you may feel cramps, soreness, or fullness.
Is bleeding expected after egg retrieval?
After egg retrieval, vaginal bleeding/spotting is common. It is similar to bleeding in periods. In case of excess bleed, you should contact the doctor immediately.
How long do I have to stay in the hospital during and after the procedure?
IVF Procedure does not require any hospitalization. It only requires frequent visits from time to time.
How soon can I return to normal life after IVF?
Once the embryo transfer is done, you can resume your normal life. You may experience cramps because there might be a minor swelling in the ovaries. Stick to a mild routine and avoid exertion as it may affect your chances of getting pregnant.