Gestational Carriers

A gestational carrier (carrier) is a woman who carries an embryo to delivery. The embryo is derived from the egg and sperm of persons not related to the carrier; therefore the carrier has no genetic relationship with the resulting child.

Since a gestational carrier will be accepting the biological tissue of others, there is mandated FDA testing for infectious diseases that must take place prior to IVF. Virginia IVF and Andrology Center will gladly assist in the required FDA infectious disease testing protocol for patients who wish to use a gestational carrier during IVF. If testing is performed by your physician’s office, Virginia IVF and Andrology Center will complete a review of all the testing and the results to ensure that it is appropriate under FDA requirements for the IVF to take place. Appropriate fees will apply.

The woman producing the eggs will undergo an IVF cycle as the gestational carrier’s uterine lining is prepared with estrogen and progesterone for embryo transfer and conception. Once embryos are ready for transfer, one or more embryos will be transferred to the uterus of the carrier. The gestational carrier and the intended parents must agree on the number of embryos to be transferred in advance. If the embryo transfer is successful and pregnancy is achieved, the gestational carrier will carry the fetus through delivery.

Gestational carriers may be appropriate for women with absence of a uterus, significant uterine anomaly, or a serious medical condition that could be exacerbated by pregnancy or cause significant risk to a fetus. In addition, male patients without a female partner who wish to produce a genetically-linked child will need a gestational carrier.

A gestational carrier can be found through an attorney specializing in the area of reproductive law or a reputable agency representing gestational carriers and surrogacy. Sometimes a family member or friend agrees to be a gestational carrier. Psychosocial evaluation and counseling is strongly recommended for the gestational carrier and the intended parents, regardless of the relationship between them.

A legal agreement will be required between the gestational carrier and the patient and partner. Each should seek separate legal counsel regarding their legal rights under this agreement as Virginia has specific laws regarding surrogacy contracts and parental rights. Virginia IVF and Andrology Center cannot perform IVF without confirming the presence of such an agreement.