What You Need to Know about Multiple Births for a Surrogate

Recently, a pregnancy story hit news headlines that grabbed attention around the world, and particularly in the fertility industry: “Woman Gives Birth to 9 Babies”. Even more miraculously, all of the babies survived. While Surrogates and Intended Parents need not worry about the occurrence of 9 embryos successfully implanting and growing in the Surrogate’s womb (namely because a physician would not allow the transfer of 9 embryos at once), there is a chance of having multiple babies by surrogacy that both parties should be aware of and prepared for.

So, what are the chances of multiple births occurring in surrogacy? As it turns out, the frequency of unplanned multiple births in surrogacy have decreased over the years, due to improvements in IVF technology and processes. In case you’re wondering why cases haven’t increased (the point of surrogacy is growing families for those who cannot follow a traditional path to birth, so wouldn’t more babies be a better thing?), this is actually great news, as it doesn’t mean that planned multiple births are less likely.

When IVF first became a treatment option for women struggling with infertility and Intended Parents via Surrogate, there was less chance of an embryo successfully attaching to the uterine wall, so more embryos would be transferred in an attempt to achieve a higher chance of success for one of the implanted embryos. The problem with this–if you consider this a problem–is that sometimes the “excess” embryos that were implanted for a higher shot of one success, turned into two or sometimes more successful, healthy implants. Currently, the highest number of these kind of births via Surrogate is five.

Over time scientists have been able to refine the IVF treatment process so that these days it’s not just typical for only one embryo to be implanted, but doctors and clinicians actually advise against the transfer of more than one embryo unless twins or triplets is what the Intended Parents and Surrogate have agreed upon.

While the transfer of multiple embryos is the most common way for twins, triplets, quadruplets or more births to occur, there is one other option that is far less likely: a successfully implanted embryo could naturally split and turn into identical twins. The chances of this occurring are slim, but with fertility treatments chances are still greater than naturally, with a roughly 0.95% chance of occurrence with IVF/surrogacy vs. a 0.45% chance naturally.

Why You Should Only Choose to Implant One Embryo If Your Goal is for a Single Birth

As discussed above, IVF treatments have come a long way and scientists have had the time and resources to refine the process. Because of this, the need to implant more than one embryo for a higher success rate has become unnecessary in most cases and runs the risk of multiple births instead.

Unless advised by your fertility professional, and agreed upon by the Surrogate, or if twins/triplets is the goal of the surrogacy, only a single embryo needs to be transferred for a single birth surrogacy.

What to Consider if your Goal is to have Multiple Births

If you choose to have multiple embryos transferred to your Surrogate’s womb, there are a number of factors to take into consideration.

The Health & Safety of your Babies

Even as far as medicine has come, there are still risks associated with a multiple pregnancy. A number of risks posed are for the carrier but the fetuses could also be at risk, including after delivery. Some risks to the fetus include:

  • Low birth weight
  • Placental abruption
  • Preterm delivery
  • Congenital abnormalities

It is important to note that these risks are very unlikely as additional check-ups will be scheduled that a healthy singleton pregnancy would not necessitate and the fetuses will be closely monitored throughout the process.

The Health & Safety of your Surrogate

At Simple Surrogacy the health of our Surrogates is a top priority. Before being approved to carry the gift of a child for Intended Parents, Surrogates are thoroughly vetted and medically cleared. You can learn more on the Surrogate approval process here. While only Surrogates who have the highest chance of successfully carrying a pregnancy to term are approved, there is always a chance that unforeseen complications could arise, and that risk increases with instances of a multiple pregnancy. Some of these risks to consider include:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preterm labor
  • Cesarean section

While Surrogates are aware of the chance of a multiple pregnancy occurring and all parties have come to an agreement regarding that occurrence before embryo implantation, these unlikely risks are important to be aware of.

Cost during Gestation

Should you opt for a multiple birth pregnancy, instead of a singleton pregnancy, there are a few areas where costs for Intended Parents will increase. During gestation, a Surrogate’s allowance could increase up to $100 per month, and their total maternity clothing stipend would increase another $200. There is also a fee per additional fetus of $15,000. Other costs to keep in mind would be medical fees for additional check-ups to ensure both Surrogate and fetuses are healthy with the increased risk of  this type of pregnancy, along with additional hospital fees for multiple births and aftercare/stay for the babies.

None of this is to say you shouldn’t have a multiple birth surrogacy! If your aim is to have twins or triplets then a Surrogate will be matched with you with the intention to carry more than one embryo. Going into an arrangement with the intention of having multiple babies will mean fewer unexpected costs, lower risks for both Surrogate and fetuses (as a Surrogate with better chances of successfully carrying multiple fetuses to term will be chosen), and more time to prepare for a bigger family! 

Why Choose a Multiple Birth Surrogacy

There are also multiple reasons to choose this particular surrogacy:

It is Less Expensive to Grow your Family

If you are planning to have more than one child via surrogacy, then having multiples at once cuts back on the cost. At Simple Surrogacy, while there is the additional aforementioned $8,000 fee per fetus carried plus the increases to the Surrogate’s allowances, these additional costs are far less than paying for a full second surrogacy journey down the road.

It Saves Time

The surrogacy process can be lengthy; by having multiples through a Surrogate at once it saves time not only when it comes to the gestation period, but also the time it takes to match with a Surrogate (and if you choose to use the same Surrogate, there is a recovery period), any medical appointments, and the legal process.

Both Parents Could be Genetically Related to a Twin

Having twins via Surrogate might be particularly appealing for gay Intended Parents, as each embryo could be fertilized by a different parent and each parent could be biologically related to one of the twins.

Whether you plan to have more than one baby by surrogacy or not, the team at Simple Surrogacy is here to guide you through your journey to grow your family. Call us today at 1-866-41-SURRO or visit us online to learn more about surrogacy and to start your unique journey!

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