IVF vs. Surrogacy

In vitro fertilization and surrogacy are options intended parents can pursue if natural fertilization, pregnancy, or both are challenging or impossible. These two processes are similar, but they have a few noteworthy differences.

IVF is a procedure that develops an embryo in a laboratory for implantation into a uterus. Surrogacy is a process that implants an intended family’s embryo into a surrogate who carries and delivers the baby for them. Understanding the differences between these processes can help you determine what’s better for your family.

What is IVF?

IVF is an assisted reproductive technique that takes sperm and eggs, combines them to form an embryo, and implants them into the uterus. While IVF treatment is a medical process professionals perform inside a lab, it produces a natural embryo exactly like one that would form inside the uterine wall.

How does the treatment process work?

In IVF, a health care professional takes mature eggs from the intended mother’s or an egg donor’s ovaries. They then pre-wash sperm from the intended father or a donor and use it to fertilize the eggs in an embryology laboratory.

Before or after fertilizing eggs to produce embryos, medical professionals use hormone replacement therapy to prepare the uterus for implantation. Hormone replacement therapy thickens the womb’s inner lining, preparing it for pregnancy.

Who needs IVF?

People typically need IVF if they experience infertility or are in a same-sex relationship and wish to have a baby. Heterosexual couples need IVF if they experience difficulties getting pregnant naturally. Getting pregnant can be challenging based on various factors, but a couple typically needs IVF if they have well-timed unprotected sex for a year with no pregnancy.

A same-sex female couple may choose reciprocal IVF if both partners want to participate in the pregnancy. In this process, one woman donates her eggs for fertilization, and her partner carries the baby.

What is surrogacy?

Surrogacy is when a woman agrees to go through pregnancy and give birth to another person’s child. A surrogate carries a baby to term and delivers it on someone else’s behalf. In some cases, parents use surrogacy when the intended mother’s uterus cannot carry a baby to full term or if the intended mother experiences severe medical complications or discomfort during pregnancy. In other cases, a couple or individual may choose surrogacy if they do not have a uterus.

Does surrogacy involve IVF?

While it is a different pregnancy journey, surrogacy takes IVF a few steps further, implanting an embryo into a surrogate’s uterus instead of the intended mother’s. IVF develops an embryo for implantation, and the surrogate carries the baby until birth.

Since the IVF process typically uses the intended parents’ sperm and egg, there is no genetic link between the baby and the surrogate. However, some parents use sperm or egg donation, giving the baby different DNA from the parents. A surrogate could only pass DNA onto a child if she is also the egg donor.

Differences between surrogacy and IVF

IVF and surrogacy provide individuals and couples with medically assisted pregnancy options. While they use similar procedures, the IVF and surrogacy processes differ in the following ways.

IVF versus surrogacy success rate

The rate of reaching a healthy birth following IVF is approximately 75%, but this rate increases to 95% after implanting an embryo in a surrogate’s uterus. Additionally, IVF typically has a 52% success rate when using a donor egg, but using a surrogate for this process improves these odds.

IVF and surrogacy success rates can vary because a healthy birth depends on factors such as infertility diagnosis, age, and previous pregnancies and miscarriages. Talk to a medical professional to determine how successful IVF could be for you. If you want to learn more about surrogacy success rates, a surrogacy agency can help you navigate the process.

Working with an agency that closely screens surrogates results in the best outcomes because the company ensures each surrogate is physically and mentally fit to carry a child. While complications are possible for any pregnancy, a reputable surrogacy agency offers the highest success rates.

Additional support and legal considerations when using surrogacy

Surrogacy requires you to follow specific legal processes to reach a positive outcome. While IVF requires you to work closely with medical professionals, the surrogacy journey may involve health professionals, surrogacy lawyers, and a surrogacy matching coordinator.

Seeking assistance from a surrogacy agency and law firm allows you to receive specialized support as you pursue the most positive outcome possible. Surrogacy agencies thoroughly screen surrogates and help you choose the best match for your family’s needs. With an experienced surrogacy lawyer by your side, you can navigate the legal documents, planning, parentage rights, and the potentially complicated relationships that come with surrogacy.

IVF vs. surrogacy cost

Since surrogacy requires more steps than IVF, it has a higher overall cost. However, the total price tag for an intended family varies because it depends on the following factors:

  • Medical IVF costs
  • Applicable donor expenses and fees
  • Pharmaceutical expenses
  • Professional fees
  • Surrogate compensation
  • Surrogacy program fees
  • Legal fees
  • Screening costs
  • Insurance

While surrogacy has a high cost, there are various ways to finance this option. If you want to grow your family through surrogacy, consider looking into grants, loans, and fundraising to cover your costs. Some agencies also offer financial assistance through special discounts.

Is surrogacy better than IVF?

Choosing between surrogacy and IVF is essential for families requiring reproductive assistance. While both processes often result in positive outcomes, the right decision for your family depends on the following factors.

  • Reproductive condition: Your reproductive condition may make surrogacy your only option if you do not have a uterus or have a uterine abnormality preventing you from carrying a baby to term.
  • Reproductive health: Reproductive health is another consideration when deciding between IVF and surrogacy. An intended mother may be able to carry a baby to term but have a higher risk for medical complications during pregnancy or birth. For example, you may consider surrogacy if you experienced hyperemesis gravidarum during a past pregnancy or have diabetes.
  • Mental health factors: A traumatic pregnancy or birth may cause some intended mothers to avoid becoming pregnant a gain. Similarly, witnessing someone else undergo a traumatic pregnancy or birth may invoke discomfort with pregnancy. In these situations, you can grow your family without reliving trauma. Surrogacy may be your best choice if you experienced birth complications in the past or have fears surrounding pregnancy.
  • Desire to carry: IVF is an option if you can physically carry a baby to term and have a strong desire to experience pregnancy. However, surrogacy may be better if you prefer the freedom to focus on your career or wish to maintain your current physique.
  • Finances: Since surrogacy costs more than IVF, your financial situation is a critical factor. Consider your household budget and what you can afford before deciding between IVF and surrogacy.

Pursue your surrogacy journey with Creative Family Connections

IVF and surrogacy offer excellent alternative options for individuals and couples hoping to start or add to their families. Creative Family Connections offers screening, matching, support, and legal assistance for families pursuing surrogacy. If you believe surrogacy is right for your family, CFC’s compassionate team can support you every step of the way or provide legal services for independent journies. Contact us to learn more.

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