Exploring Alternative Paths to Parenthood: Egg Donation and Surrogacy

There is no right or wrong way to grow your family. You have to do what’s best for you and your specific situation, whether you’re facing infertility, intend to be a single parent, or are part of the LGBTQ+ community. Luckily, modern fertility care can help all kinds of aspiring parents have children. 

This month, we celebrate National Infertility Awareness Week® (NIAW), a movement that not only supports those trying to conceive, but also raises awareness and breaks stigmas surrounding infertility. Two popular alternative paths to parenthood include egg donation and surrogacy — let’s touch on both. 

How Egg Donation Works

Individuals can donate their eggs to help others grow their families or receive an egg donation. The donation process involves egg collection and fertilization through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Then, a fertility specialist transfers the embryos to the intended carrier or surrogate.

When Is Egg Donation Recommended?

There are many reasons why an individual or couple might opt for egg donation to grow their families. For instance, they may be:

  • Infertile: Egg donation is a valid option for someone born without ovaries, those experiencing early menopause, or individuals with reproductive conditions or low egg counts. 
  • LGBTQ+: Egg donation often plays a significant role in LGBTQ+ family building, particularly for same-sex cis-male couples since they can’t produce eggs.
  • High risk for passing down genetic disorders: Some people have healthy reproductive systems but are carriers of genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia, making egg donation the safer option.
  • An intended single parent: Single individuals may opt for egg donation and surrogacy to have children.

What You Need to Know About Surrogacy

A surrogate is someone who carries and delivers a child for an individual or couple. There are two types of surrogacy — traditional and gestational. Gestational surrogacy is when the surrogate has no genetic relationship to the child and only acts as a carrier, whereas, in traditional surrogacy, the surrogate also acts as the egg donor and is the genetic mother of the child. In gestational surrogacy, the embryo is created using the egg and sperm from the intended parents or donors and then transferred to the surrogate to carry the pregnancy and deliver. Because of the ethical and legal complexities surrounding traditional surrogacy, the vast majority of surrogacy agencies and fertility centers only work with gestational surrogates. 

Why Do People Need Surrogates?

Individuals or couples may choose to use a surrogate if they are:

  • Unable to carry a pregnancy: The absence of a uterus, uterine structural problems, endometriosis, advanced maternal age, past difficult pregnancies, repeated IVF failure, and recurrent miscarriages are all reasons an intended parent may not be able to carry and deliver a child.
  • LGBTQ+: Surrogacy is a suitable option for LGBTQ+ parents or individuals looking to have children.
  • Single intended parents: Single individuals unable to carry a pregnancy may use a surrogate.
  • Choosing elective surrogacy: You don’t have to meet the above criteria to use a surrogate. Some intended parents choose elective surrogacy due to their careers or other responsibilities.

Grow Your Family With Fertility Source Companies

Egg donation and surrogacy are both increasingly common methods of having children. If you’re interested in learning more about these alternative paths to parenthood, contact the expert team at Fertility Source Companies™. As one of the largest egg donation and surrogacy agencies in the United States, we offer the support and guidance you need to successfully grow your family.