There are many reasons why people seek out a gestational surrogate. One of the most common reasons is when a woman is dealing with an infertility issue. For individuals and couples who are unable to conceive, surrogacy can help them create the family that they desire.
However, for many people, transitioning from fertility treatment to third-party reproduction can be an emotionally taxing journey. While this is a completely normal reaction, it’s important to remember that the medical conditions that led you to this decision are largely out of your control. When moving forward with any type of third-party reproduction, it can be helpful to understand the various issues that lead to the use of a surrogate.
Pelvic and Uterine Complications
There are several pelvic and uterine conditions that can cause structural damage to the uterus and prevent implantation of an embryo, making it difficult or even impossible for a woman to achieve a traditional pregnancy. These conditions include:
- Endometriosis, a condition where uterine tissue grows outside the uterus onto the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and pelvis
- Submucosal uterine fibroids, a condition in which benign tumors develop on the walls of the uterus
- Pelvic adhesions, a condition in which bands of scar tissue bind together internal organs, including ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the uterus
Absence of Uterus (Congenital or Acquired)
The uterus plays the most central role in the implantation and development of an embryo. When the uterus is severely underdeveloped or nonexistent, traditional pregnancy is impossible and therefore requires the use of a surrogate.
The absence of a uterus from birth is one of the main characteristics of a rare congenital disorder known as Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH). Also known as vaginal agenesis, this disorder can also affect the development of the vagina.
The uterus is also absent in women who have had a hysterectomy, which is the surgical removal of the uterus. Hysterectomies are performed to treat a wide range of conditions, including uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease (PIV), general infection, and cancer.
Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is defined by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) as a condition in which a woman experiences two or more clinical miscarriages before 20 weeks of pregnancy. RPL can be caused by a variety of conditions, including:
- Genetic abnormalities
- Lifestyle and environmental factors
- Unrelated medical conditions
- Anatomic anomalies
While RPL can sometimes be treated with surgery, medicines, or even lifestyle changes, surrogacy is another option that many women experiencing RPL choose.
When intended parents have an in-depth understanding of the infertility issues that led to using a surrogate, they are better equipped to emotionally process their new trajectory. If you are dealing with infertility and want to learn more about surrogacy and other third-party reproductive methods, please contact the Fertility Source Companies for more information.