Do you need a surrogate?

After many years of trying to conceive, and usually after many failed IVF treatments, one of the options that many couples and singles consider is surrogacy.  They feel that they have tried everything else and believe that the only option left to them is to find a surrogate mother to carry their child.  We understand that place as we have been there ourselves before.

The truth of the matter is that in the majority of cases, what is required is an egg donor not a surrogate.  Many couples naively believe that a surrogate is the final answer to all infertility problems; and that surrogacy has a 100 % pregnancy rate. Sadly, this is just not true.  The success rate of surrogacy, like ‘normal’ pregnancy, depends largely on the quality and age of the eggs. (Among other issues like sperm quality, a healthy womb etc).

The cold, hard truth is that our eggs have an expiry date – and no matter how youthful you look on the outside – your eggs age.  We know that fertility declines after 35 and then rapidly after 40.  Unfortunately by the age of 45 your chance of conceiving with your own eggs and a surrogate is very slim.  However your success rate with donor eggs and your own healthy womb, or that of a surrogate is extremely good.  Unfortunately or fortunately, in the world of making babies, the age and quality of the egg is all important.

If you would like to have your ovarian reserve tested to see whether it is possible to conceive with your own eggs contact your fertility doctor and ask him or her to run the necessary tests such an AMH test and an antral follicle count.

Most people need an egg donor and not a surrogate, which is good news because egg donation is the ‘easy’ part – we have plenty of excellent egg donors available to donate immediately.  No waiting lists and plenty of choice.  For more information about egg donation and to view the list of available donors, visit Nurture Egg Donor Program www.nurture.co.za

Surrogacy is a complex (and expensive!) option, and is only suitable for women without a uterus, women whose uterus is damaged or for gay male couples.  In addition, the High Court will demand a medical certificate from your doctor saying that you are medically unable to carry a baby.

If it is determined that you are medically unable to carry a baby, then surrogacy is the option for you.  Surrogacy is a wonderful route to parenthood for many intended parents in South Africa.  However, while it is legally and medically possible, it is not always easily accessible.  As you can understand there are only a handful of women who are medically, emotionally and psychologically able to carry a baby for someone else.  The reality is that there is a shortage of suitable surrogates in South Africa.  This means that there is a waiting list of people who need a surrogate.  First prize is always if you can find someone close to you to carry your baby for you.  A sister, a cousin, a friend.  But of course, we know that finding someone to carry your baby is not as simple as sending an email saying “Hi, I need a favour…”, it’s a huge thing to have to ask of anyone.  Which is where we can help.  If you would like to be placed on the waiting list for a surrogate, please email info@surrogacy.co.za. Going on the waiting list is free, we do not charge anything for our services or support.