Why do intended parents need a surrogate?

There are many different reasons why parents need the help of a surrogate to carry their child:

Men who are single or in same-sex relationships – male same-sex couples and single men need the help of a surrogate (and egg donor) to conceive a genetic child.  Having a family as a gay couple or a single dad takes planning and most dads through surrogacy have spent a long time considering their options before they go ahead with a surrogacy arrangement.

History of infertility or pregnancy loss – some intended parents have had a difficult history before considering surrogacy which may include explained or unexplained infertility, repeated cycles of fertility treatment which have been unsuccessful and/or a history of miscarriage or stillbirth.  Often surrogacy follows a long, tough road for parents to conceive a child.

Physical and psychological issues – some women know they are physically unable to carry a pregnancy, perhaps because they:

  • have had a hysterectomy (sometimes due to a cancer history or a previous traumatic birth),
  • were born without a womb (a condition called MRKH),
  • are transgender or
  • suffer from tokophobia (a diagnosed condition of phobia of pregnancy and birth).

Such parents may have had time to prepare themselves for surrogacy as their only option for conceiving a child.

Issues which make carrying a pregnancy unsafe or inappropriate – there are a range of medical reasons which make pregnancy unsafe for a woman, including cancer history, heart, bone density, liver and kidney problems and other medical issues.  Transgender fathers also sometimes may have the option of becoming pregnant, but identity issues or medical treatments supporting gender transition may make it unsafe or counter-intuitive. Surrogacy can be a difficult emotional decision where pregnancy is technically possible, but might put the life, health or wellbeing of the parent or child at risk.

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