In the world of surrogacy, there are several terms and concepts that are important to understand. If you are considering going through the surrogacy process, here are some key terms you need to know:
Surrogacy: The process in which a woman (the surrogate) carries a pregnancy and gives birth to a child on behalf of a single person or a couple (the intended parents) who are unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy on their own.
Intended Parent\s (IP/s): There are single and coupled Intended Parents, both married and unmarried, straight and gay. The Intended Parent or Intended Parents are the individuals or couples who intend to take custody of the child being born to their Gestational Carrier. They are intending to become the legal parents. They may or may not be genetically related to the child. Whether or not there is a genetic connection to the child, the Intended Parent or Intended Parents are to become the legal and custodial parents.
Gestational Surrogate/Carrier: A woman who agrees to carry a pregnancy for IP/s with whom she has no genetic connection. In this arrangement, the surrogate agrees to relinquish any parental rights to the child.
Traditional Surrogate: When the surrogate is genetically related to the child she is carrying, typically because she provides the eggs through artificial insemination. Important information: Traditional Surrogate is not allowed in most countries, and Tammuz does not do the procedure this way.
Gestational Surrogacy: When the surrogate has no genetic connection to the child. The embryo is created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) using the gametes of the intended parents or donors and then transferred to the surrogate’s uterus.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): A reproductive technology used to fertilize an egg with sperm outside the body in a laboratory.
Embryo Transfer: The process of transferring the embryo into the uterus of the surrogate following IVF.
Pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT) formally PGS: PGT is a diagnostic procedure conducted on an embryo before embryo transfer (IVF). PGT serves as a preemptive strategy employed to detect chromosomal irregularities within an embryo, even when there is no established indication of a genetic anomaly in either parent. The process entails a thorough examination for deviations in chromosome structure, encompassing genetic markers for conditions like Down syndrome (Trisomy 21) and anomalies in the arrangement of chromosomes known as translocations. Normal human embryonic cells should comprise a total of 46 chromosomes, encompassing two of each chromosome from 1 to 22, along with either two X chromosomes in the case of females or one X and one Y chromosome in the case of males. Any deviation from this chromosomal arrangement, such as an excess or deficiency of chromosomes, represents an irregularity that could impact the embryo’s potential to develop, thrive, and successfully attach upon transfer, or indicates greater chance of the development of unwanted health conditions.
Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD): Similar to PGT, PGD is a technique carried out on an embryo to assess the likelihood of specific complications. However, in contrast to PGT, PGD is conducted exclusively when a couple is thought to have an increased chance of passing on certain genetic disorders.
Sperm Donor: Sperm donation is a method of assisted reproduction in which a man donates sperm which is used to help another individual to have a baby. Donor sperm may be combined with a female partner’s eggs or with the donor’s egg. Usually, in the surrogacy process, IPs can choose their sperm donor from a database.
Egg Donor: Egg donation is a method of assisted reproduction in which a woman donates eggs (oocytes) which are used to help another individual to have a baby. Donor eggs may be combined with a male partner’s sperm or with donor sperm.
Sperm Washing for HIV: Sperm washing for individuals who are HIV positive involves using a specialized technique to separate healthy and viable sperm from the semen while also removing the HIV virus from the sperm cells. After the sperm washing protocol, the purified sperm sample can then be used in assisted reproductive techniques such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) to increase the chances of conception while minimizing the risk of HIV transmission.
Surrogacy Agreement/Contract: A legally binding agreement between the surrogate and the intended parents that outlines the terms and restrictions of the surrogacy arrangement, including responsibilities, compensation, medical care, and parental rights.
Pre-Birth order: a legal document issued by a court that establishes the intended parents as the legal parents of a child who will be born through a surrogacy arrangement. This order is typically obtained before the birth of the child and is intended to ensure that the intended parents have full parental rights and responsibilities for the child as soon as the child is born.
Post-Birth Order: In countries where pre-birth orders are not allowed, the post-birth order is filed a few days after the birth of the child to establish the intended parents as the legal parents of the baby. (Though some intended parents may be concerned that the surrogate might change her mind, it is essential to understand that she has no legal rights to custody.)
Surrogacy Agency: An organization or company that significantly facilitates the surrogacy process, connecting potential intended parents with potential surrogates and providing support and guidance throughout the journey. Agencies like “Tammuz Family” aim to provide comprehensive support throughout the process.
Surrogacy Attorney: A lawyer specializing in reproductive law who assists with drafting and reviewing surrogacy agreements and navigates the legal aspects of the surrogacy process.
Understanding these key terms is vital if you are considering involvement in the surrogacy process. We wish you the best on your journey towards starting a family. Please contact the Tammuz team with any questions.