Making the decision to become a parent through the process of surrogacy is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. As intended parents you’ll have a lot to consider, including this: with surrogate procedures multiple births are common, with the possibility of one baby becoming two…or even three.
It’s not uncommon for gestational surrogacy to result in the birth of twins and triplets. There are two main reasons for a high incidence of multiple births during surrogacy: the IVF process and the fertility health of the surrogate.
The IVF Process
One of the biggest expenses of surrogacy is the procedure of IVF. During the process of IVF, the embryo is transferred to the surrogate mother. Since each IVF transfer is costly, multiple embryos are often transferred to increase the likelihood of a pregnancy.
Each embryo that’s transferred can result in a pregnancy – this means that two transferred embryos could result in twins. And three or four embryos can mean triplets or quadruplets. When multiple embryos are transferred, there’s no guarantee how many will survive. This is why many intended parents elect to have more than one embryo transferred – to increase the chances of their surrogate conceiving so they can limit the number of IVF treatments they need to go through.
Surrogate’s Fertility Health
To be a surrogate, a woman needs to be healthy and have already had at least one successful pregnancy. In the prime of her fertile years, surrogates already have higher chance of conceiving than women not at the height of their fertility. Add fertility drugs and IVF procedures, and the chances of a successful pregnancy increase even more. And when more than one embryo is transferred, the chances of a multiple birth are even higher.
Healthy Donor Eggs
Another factor for surrogate procedures and multiple births is the health of the donor eggs. Women who want to donate eggs for IVF are carefully screened. They need to meet numerous requirements before donating. Egg donors must between the age of 18 to 30, be a non-smoker and not use illegal drugs, and be of a healthy BMI (body mass index). This ensures that the eggs used for surrogacy and the IVF process are of the best quality.
Transferring Multiple Embryos
It’s important to keep in mind that during the surrogacy process, most intended parents and their gestational surrogate will agree beforehand how many embryos to transfer. Some surrogates will only want to carry one baby at a time and only agree to a single embryo being transferred. If you’re hoping for twins, you’ll need to choose a surrogate who is open to the possibility of a multiple birth.
Are you and your partner on your way to using surrogacy to start your family? Be sure to consider that with surrogate procedures multiple births often occur. This means that not only will you be taking home one precious little baby – your family just might get larger much faster than you think!
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