Explain about Altruistic surrogacy
- Published on August 12, 2022
Are you unable to conceive and wish to go for surrogacy as an alternative? Or, in case you can conceive, do you want to volunteer as a surrogate?
If the answer to either one of the questions is yes, keep reading. As discussed below are all the things you need to know about altruistic surrogacy, which you can opt for without being exploited.
What is altruistic surrogacy?
Just like other surrogacies, altruistic surrogacy involves a surrogate (close relative or friend) carrying a baby in her womb for a couple and giving birth to that baby. And once the baby has been born – handing over the baby to the couple.
Besides this, altruistic surrogacy is different from surrogacy like commercial surrogacy in other aspects.
In altruistic surrogacy as a couple, you don’t have to compensate the surrogate with a monetary fee. Instead, you only have to pay or reimburse the surrogate’s medication, medical-related expenses, and insurance coverage.
Reasons for altruistic surrogacy
The main indication you might need altruistic surrogacy is the inability to become pregnant or conceive (infertility). There may also be structural malformations of the uterus, absence of a uterus, and chronic health conditions, which make it inevitable for you to choose altruistic surrogacy to have a baby.
There are several causal factors for opting for altruistic surrogacy:
- Health illnesses
Health illnesses like cancer, cardiac diseases, heart problems, etc., can complicate pregnancy. These conditions pose a risk to your life as a pregnant mother and threaten your baby’s life.
Besides this, the medicines you take for the above health conditions affect your fertility levels negatively and make becoming pregnant difficult.
- Uterine anomalies
Genetic uterine abnormalities are malformations of your uterus such as the unicornuate uterus, bicornuate uterus, septate uterus, etc.
These abnormalities can lead to miscarriages and make it very troublesome for you to carry out a pregnancy successfully.
- Uterine conditions
When some uterine conditions, like end-stage endometriosis, fibroids, adenomyosis, etc., are unresponsive to treatment, they can make conceiving difficult or even impossible.
- Same-sex couple
If you are a same-sex couple, it is biologically impossible for you to conceive. In this scenario, the last resort to having a baby entails adoption or going for altruistic surrogacy.
- Issues with prior pregnancy
If you have experienced serious complications during your previous pregnancy, your doctor may recommend opting for altruistic surrogacy the next time. It’s to prevent you from succumbing to life-threatening complications.
If you have undergone a hysterectomy, i.e., removal of a uterus, due to some chronic disease like uterine cancer, you can’t conceive. In this situation, the most probable option for having a baby is to go for altruistic surrogacy.
PROS AND CONS OF ALTRUISTIC SURROGACY
Altruistic surrogacy can be a worthwhile and positive experience for the intended parents. However, with it comes along some benefits as well as challenges. Read below to find out a few pros and cons of altruistic surrogacy-
- This type of surrogacy is legal in India and intended parents can easily opt for it because paid surrogacy is illegal.
- Altruistic surrogacy or identified pregnancy is generally less expensive compared to commercial surrogacy.
- The intended parents may share trust and the surrogacy is typically a friend or a family member.
- In some cases, the intended parent may feel that they don’t have enough control over the surrogacy as it is not paid.
- At times, the surrogate may feel exploited because of emotional pressure during pregnancy. This can take a toll on the relationship with the intended parents.
Altruistic surrogacy process
According to the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, before the treatment process can begin, as a couple opting for altruistic surrogacy, you need to fulfil the following requirements:
- You must possess a certificate of essentiality from a District Medical Board stating your inability to conceive due to some causal factor
- You need to have an order of custody and parentage from the Magistrate Board for the baby, which the surrogate helps you conceive
- You should have insurance coverage for the surrogate’s postpartum delivery complications for 16 months
- As a woman, you should be 23-50 years old, and as a man, you should be between 26-55 years of age
- You must be a citizen of India
- You should not already have any child at present
- You have to undergo medical evaluation and counselling from a fertility specialist and a psychologist
As a surrogate, to become eligible for the treatment process of altruistic surrogacy, you need to meet the following requirements:
- You must be 25-35 years old and an Indian citizen
- You should be married and have a child of your own
- You ought to be a close friend or relative of the intending couple
- You need to pass a thorough screening process that will include undergoing blood tests, physical tests, hysteroscopy, etc., to ensure you are healthy enough and your uterus is in good condition to carry out a pregnancy
- You have to go through counselling to ascertain that you are mentally fit to conceive a baby
If you qualify and the consent form has been signed, the treatment process for altruistic surrogacy begins with a mock cycle.
– Mock cycle
During this cycle, a fertility specialist prescribes identical medicines to you, which will also aid you in getting ready for the actual embryo transfer. Your fertility specialist will inspect your uterus to ensure that your uterine lining is responding properly to the medication.
Throughout the mock cycle, you’ll have numerous ultrasounds and blood tests done to monitor your hormone levels and uterine lining.
– Embryo transfer
If everything goes well during the mock cycle, the next step for altruistic surrogacy – embryo transfer starts.
In a frozen embryo transfer, the transfer takes place five days after reaching your mid-cycle, as the embryo usually requires time to travel through your fallopian tube before implantation.
In the case of a fresh embryo transfer – your cycle is synced with the egg donor or intended mother. You are also prescribed birth control tablets and Lupron injections to stop hormone production, which allows the doctor better control over your cycle.
The intended mother or egg donor is also administered injectable fertility hormones to encourage the production of multiple eggs from her ovaries.
After eggs have matured, their retrieval takes place. After that, they undergo fertilisation with the intended father’s sperm or donor sperm and then incubation for five days.
A few days before transfer, you start taking progesterone injections or pills and stop the intake of Lupron and birth control pills. Progesterone helps maintain the proper amount of hormones in your body, keeps your uterus healthy and facilitates a stable pregnancy.
Once five days have passed since you have reached your mid-cycle – a syringe with a flexible catheter attached at the end is used to transfer one or two embryos. The syringe is pushed through your cervix into your uterus. An abdominal ultrasound is used to ensure the embryo’s precise implantation.
– After embryo transfer
Once your pregnancy is confirmed using an HCG test, you will regularly need to visit your doctor until you give birth – to have ultrasounds to check for developments and ensure that your pregnancy is going well.
Altruistic surrogacy is like any other surrogacy, but it doesn’t involve direct monetary compensation to the surrogate. The only payment you have to make under altruistic surrogacy cost comprises – insurance coverage for the surrogate and medical and other pregnancy-related expenses.
So, if you want to opt for altruistic surrogacy, reach out to the skilled fertility specialists and counsellors at Birla Fertility and IVF. They will guide you through the process and answer your questions and doubts. With advanced testing facilities every clinic thrives for a high success rate for all fertility treatments.
Visit a nearby branch of Birla Fertility and IVF centre or book an appointment with Dr. Meenu Vashisht Ahuja.
1. Why is altruistic surrogacy important?
When you can’t conceive because you are infertile, suffering from chronic health issues, missing a portion of your uterus, or a same-sex couple, etc., altruistic surrogacy is very important because it can help you have a baby through a surrogate.
2. Is altruistic surrogacy legal in India?
Yes. With the passing of The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, altruistic surrogacy has been legal in India since 2019.
Dr Meenu Vashisht Ahuja
Dr Meenu Vashisht Ahuja is a prominent gynaecologist and fertility specialist with 17+ years of training and work experience across India. She has extensive experience in the field of infertility and IVF and has been associated with the best IVF centers in Delhi. Currently, she is working as a visiting consultant specialist at multiple fertility centers across Delhi.
Over 17+ years of experience
Rohini, New Delhi
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