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Surrogate motherhood programs
There are instances when a woman can conceive (her ovaries are functioning and can produce eggs. So theoretically fertilization can take place). But the problem is that some women cannot carry a child to term themselves.
Before modern ART (Assisted reproductive technologies) this condition meant that the couple would be facing infertility. IVF has changed this situation allowing such couples to have children.
Surrogate motherhood (SM) is a form of IVF which allows to address this form of infertility in couples. In this method, in vitro grown embryos are transferred not to the uterus of a biological mother, but into the uterus of a surrogate mother who will bear the pregnancy to term for her. Hence, surrogate mother takes the responsibility for the baby throughout the gestational period. That is why surrogate mothers are often called «gestational carrier» («gestation» is the period of prenatal development of a child, or the pregnancy).
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There are a lot of speculations and rumors regarding surrogacy. We will try to present a clear picture regarding the surrogacy in Russia
«Surrogate motherhood is a crime». Surrogate motherhood is legal in Russia and is completely regulated by the law. A written contract is signed with a surrogate mother and a couple, which clearly specifies the rights and obligations of each party involved. In Russia, there are many legal and professional agencies which specialize in surrogate motherhood and have been working for many years. The primary objective of these agencies is to ensure that surrogate mother will fulfil her duties while a couple will fulfil their.
«Surrogacy is a toy for the rich». Surrogate Motherhood is a resort for a few certain and well-defined medical conditions such as:
if a woman suffers from congenital or acquired defects of the reproductive organs, making it impossible to conceive and/or carry a child (for example, the absence of a uterus);
a woman has a medical condition which make gestation either impossible or dangerous for her and/or the child;
a woman went through repeated unsuccessful attempts of IVF and/or unsuccessful pregnancies in the anamnesis.
It is natural, that for the hard work of bearing a child, involved hardships, deterioration of health during pregnancy along with the loss of actual income during maternity leave, surrogate mothers want to receive decent compensation. This compensation is the bulk of the cost of the surrogate motherhood program. Nevertheless, there are cases of closely related surrogate motherhood, when the close relative of a family (sister, mother, daughter, etc.) plays the role of surrogate mother. Naturally, in such cases, the question of compensation, as a rule, does not arise.
«The surrogate mother gives her child to strangers." This conjecture is a lot simpler to solve than it seems. First and foremost aspect is that the surrogate mother has no genetic relationship to the child she is carrying. Even if a woman does not have biological material of her own the law clearly defines that only donor’s eggs can be used in IVF process. Surrogate mother taking up a responsibility to bare somebody’s child clearly understands that this child is a stranger to her, that he is entrusted to her only for the gestation period he must be returned to the parents.
Prime candidates for surrogate programs
a women went through hysterectomy procedure due to some severe gynecological issue (like bleeding caused by uterine fibroids, cervical pathology, hypotonic bleeding after childbirth, or other complications after surgical interventions resulted in removal of the uterus);
uterine scarring after several surgical interventions (for example, several cesarean sections) with the signs of a failure of the scar on the uterus
atrophic vaginitis, which cannot be medically treated (a frequent consequence of abortion complications, purulent inflammation or uterine mucous membrane trauma);
other conditions which can prevent a woman from getting pregnant (for example, severe cardiac pathology, acute kidney, severe diabetes, etc.)
Surrogacy. Interesting Facts
Thanks to the Surrogate Motherhood (SM) program, we can take your oocytes, fertilize them with your spouse’s sperm and transfer embryos into the uterus of a young healthy woman who has no contraindications for pregnancy. She will bear your child under the constant supervision of specialists: an obstetrician-gynecologist, a therapist, a psychologist, and right after the birth you will take your baby away.
Surrogate motherhood in Russia is absolutely legal and is regulated by a law. A written contract is signed with the surrogate mother, which clearly specifies the rights and obligations of each party. There are many professional recruitment agencies for surrogate mothers in Russia which control the fulfillment of their duties by the surrogate mother throughout the entire gestational period and take all the responsibility and security guarantees of such protocol from both legal and medical perspectives.
How to choose a surrogate mother?
The ministry of health of Russian Federation in the order 107 recommends that a surrogate mother should be a woman under the age of 35, preferably has a child of her own and has been declared fit for pregnancy after a complete medical examination.
In addition to standard blood tests checking for infections, RV, HIV, hepatitis and others, which are recommended to all women before planning a pregnancy, a surrogate mother additionally undergoes a mandatory consultation with a psychiatrist to ensure sound mental health of potential surrogate mother. Moreover a therapist and an ophthalmologist are consulted to ensure that a potential surrogate mother can carry a baby throughout the gestation period and can deliver a baby through the birth canal.
From the perspective of a gynecologist, while choosing a surrogate, the primarily interest is in the course of her previous pregnancy and childbirth. A doctor carefully looks into such details as if there were any complications during a delivery led to surgical interventions or without any. A gynecologist is also carefully examines the state of cervix of a potential mother to ascertain that candidate can endure the pregnancy and will not have complications during the gestation period and delivery.
Another important aspect of medical examination is the state of uterine mucosa, as it corresponds to the phase of the cycle and responds to drug correction during the preparation for pregnancy.
At this stage of medical examination those candidates who have shown any signs of gynecological diseases that can interfere with pregnancy (uterine fibroids, for example, scars on the uterus, chronic endometritis after multiple abortions) are immediately excluded from the potential candidates list.
Another important aspect is the blood type and Rh factor of a candidate so that to avoid any risks related to Rh-conflict during the pregnancy which can harm fetus. Besides a surrogate mother should have rubella antibodies in order to eliminate the risk of a baby becoming infected during the pregnancy. If a candidate does not have any antibodies it does not exclude the candidate from the list. A potential surrogate mother is vaccinated and IVF procedure will be carried out only after the antibodies are present in the blood post vaccination.
Common fears related to Surrogacy
There are few false impressions related to surrogacy programs which still hold back couples from choosing the program. For example, the topmost fear is that surrogate mother will claim her rights for a child as her own. Most of such fears are fueled by stories from «soap operas» and «yellow» press, but in practice we have never come across such instances. The primary reason a surrogate mother goes through this difficult job is for the sake of her own family. She understands from the very beginning the gestational surrogate is mostly being an «incubator» for the pregnancy, this is her work for which she will receive compensation.
She is supervised throughout the pregnancy term by special services and dedicated supervisor constantly monitor the way she fulfills her obligations. According to the rules in Russian Federation, surrogate mother does not get to see a baby after giving birth, she does not know his/her gender, weight or height. The child is passed to the biological parents immediately after the delivery.
The second aspect that worries those who are forced to use the services of surrogate mothers is the high cost of such a program. The cost is primarily associated with the hard work of carrying a child, deterioration of health during pregnancy and childbirth, as well as the loss of income during maternity leave. Thus it is fare that surrogate mothers want to get decent compensation, which is the bulk of the cost of the surrogacy program.
Relatives or close friends can also become a gestational carriers, if they have children of their own, they are healthy and they can meet all the selection criteria. In many cases, a relative or close friend would be willing to carry a baby for without accepting any compensation or for much lower one.
However, you need to bare in mind that in this case you will have to take a complete responsibility for the surrogate mother to fulfill her duties. Perhaps to have an assisted reproduction lawyer involved in order to draft a surrogacy agreement that protects everyone involved and clearly states the expectations and intent of each party involved would be a good idea.
Choosing a clinic DO remember:
We select surrogate mothers for our patients in a close partnership with professional agencies that have a solid reputation and years of experience — as a guarantee of professionalism, knowledge of all the subtleties and nuances of the process, and responsibility towards our patients. We employ only high qualified doctors, use state-of-the-art equipment, medical consumables and medical supplies throughout the process. Having in-house laboratory allows us to receive test results quickly and take immediate action if necessary, which allows to keep your baby safe and healthy.
In GMS IVF, we are ready to provide you all of services according to European standards, in order to make your pursuit for motherhood comfortable, safe and as simple as possible. Welcome to GMS IVF and we will help your dream come true!
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Anna MorozovaMedical director, Obstetrician-Gynaecologist, Fertility specialist, Endocrinologist
When I saw those 2 lines on my pregnancy test, I went crazy with joy; I cried and laughed at the same time
Long time ago, when I was 18, I got pregnant but I didn’t know about it. Those were days when I was a carefree girl who didn’t really pay attention to menstrual cycles; if my periods were delayed, I didn’t think much about it. Now it’s hard to believe I was like that, but it’s true.
I remember looking in my bathroom mirror and thinking, «I’ve put on weight. Maybe I should start running every morning to get back to normal». I did not even realise that I was pregnant when my breast got bigger and the only thought that occurred was that my boyfriend would be pleased. I realized that I was pregnant only when a accidental fall led me to bleed and a resulting miscarriage.
The accident was a life changer and something in me changed fundamentally. In a few years time I was looking to get pregnant but was unsuccessful. This worried me and I started seeing doctors who told me everything was ok. My second husband though was not happy and we decided to see a fertility expert. I finally was diagnosed with secondary infertility. I had pelvic adhesions, and polycystic ovary syndrome in the left ovary. I had to undergo dilation and curettage because of some bleeding, which revealed a polyp on the cervix. I had heard of IVF and even read about it before on the Internet, but I didn’t have enough money to have that kind of treatment.
Through a stroke of luck, my health insurance started to cover IVF. I had a bunch of tests, went through all the necessary red tapes, and received a treatment plan. The first procedure did not reveal any results. I was exhausted after all the treatments and was mentally exhausted. I decided to take a break for 2 months and then try again. This time I has a favourable result and I for pregnant. I’m so thankful to Anna Morozova, my fertility specialist. I will be thankful to her for the rest of my life! When I saw those two lines on my pregnancy test, I went crazy with joy: I cried and laughed at the same time. After 9 months, as planned, I gave to birth a baby girl. I joked that she was a little warrior like her father: she weighed 4800 g and was 52 cm long. I had a difficult delivery, which is understandable because it was my first full-term pregnancy at the age of 37. Now our little girl is already two years old. Well, that’s how I finally became a mother 20 years after my first pregnancy. A word of advice to the young, «Count your blessings: keep your pregnancy and don’t get an abortion!»
Anna MorozovaMedical director, Obstetrician-Gynaecologist, Fertility specialist, Endocrinologist
I sit and watch my little 6-month-old wonder peacefully burbling in the cradle and look back to every memory from the…
I sit back and watch my little 6-month-old wonder, peacefully burbling in the cradle. I have an opportunity to look back at every memory from the beginning.
I didn’t think about having children at a young age. I wanted to «live for myself» and more importantly I wanted to pursue a career. When I turned 34, my husband and I decided, «That the time was right for us ». I stopped birth control and the first half year went without any success but we were not too worried. It was after that, we started to worry. We tried a lot of different things, which included changing our diets completely, Medical examinations in various clinics and I even tried handstands after sex to improve the probability of egg getting fertilized. We could not get any proper reasoning from the Doctors, who were at complete loss. We were exhausted, disappointed and upset. We even had four IVF treatments in two different clinics over the period of six months, but only one pregnancy which ended in a miscarriage in the early stage.
I was so overwhelmed that I almost gave up. There were arguments with my husband; as he had wanted a baby much earlier and I was the one delaying. He had now started to nag me—it was my fault that we ran out of time. All in all, I have no idea how everything was going to work out and what was going to happen it happened so unexpectedly.
During the summer, I decided to go to my mother’s home country. An old friend was there with her husband playing with their two toddlers in the playground. We had known each other since we were kids. Our parents were close and we were virtually neighbours both in the city as well as in our country homes. We grew up together but had lost touch since I moved away. We may not have been best friends, but we most certainly weren’t strangers. On the following evening I was invited over to dinner and I obliged. Once there, over the dinner table the discussion began and before I realized, I was already telling her about my situation in detail. At this point she confided in me that her twins were actually result from IVF treatment. She revealed to me her own struggles while trying to get pregnant and she advised me to meet her doctor while I was still here.
I knew that I has nothing to loose and hence went for the first visit. My fertility specialist, as my friend as suggested, was Anna Morozova. She has an aura of comfort and ease about her and I immediately felt calm and comfortable with her. There was no typical doctor gibberish, that I had experienced in my previous consultations at other clinics. For example, a very common phrase that I kept hearing was «if you don’t understand anything, just listen carefully and do what I say». I found discussing my issue with Anna was very easy and natural and we were on the same page from the beginning and discussed everything. One of her key phrases that I still remember was: «Unexplained infertility doesn’t mean that there isn’t a reason. Its just that we just haven’t found it yet and we will look for it until we will find it». She was true to her word and the procedure included 11 cells and 8 embryos, 5 of them had very good morphology. From then on, everything was simple — we selected the embryo’s sexual gender and I got pregnant after the first attempt! Now, here I am: a 39-year-old «young mommy» sitting in the kitchen, cooking dinner, and looking after my baby, Anya.
Anna Vladislavovna Morozova, there are no words that can express my gratitude how grateful I am. A word of advice to young girls: do not waste time. Time is what you may not have enough of.
Anna MorozovaMedical director, Obstetrician-Gynaecologist, Fertility specialist, Endocrinologist
Doctor Anna Morozova was both a wonderful expert and a great source of strength during my procedure
My infertility story is one of the most common ones. From the age of 15 every month I had horrible pain; doctor’s advice to me was «everything will be fine after pregnancy» and that I should have a baby as soon as possible.
At 23, I had a medical examination for a kidney stone and the examination revealed that I had two endometriotic cysts: the first one was 7 cm and the second 8 cm. In 2005, I had to have an abdominal surgery. I always wanted to have a couple of children and after the surgery, I was worried that it had affected my chances to have a full family. At this point my doctor ensured me that everything was ok and the surgery had in no way interfered with my ability to get pregnant and have children in future.
Believing the doctors at the time, I put this worry behind me and forgot about it. In 2007 I got married and both of us wanted a baby. I decided not to take any contraceptive and we had a regular sexual life, but at the end of every cycle I was still not pregnant. It was already 2011 when we started to worry and approached doctors for medical advice. The process was exhaustive and the reason for infertility was diagnosed only in 2013, when I came to GMS where I was suggested to have Laparoscopy. I had laparoscopy/hysteroscopy, which revealed a tubal obstruction and endometriosis diagnosis. I had to have an adhesiotomy for my fallopian tubes and a tubal cauterization for the endometriosis. After that, I decided to undergo an IVF procedure and I was very lucky that I had Anna Morozova as my doctor. She was both an amazing expert and a great source of strength during my procedure. The first two weeks were a bit fuzzy, but I took a beta-HCG test, which revealed that I was pregnant! Wow! On the first try! On the twenty-first day after IVF procedure, there was one embryo (2 were transferred) and on the twenty-eighth day we heard a heartbeat on the ultrasound... Nine months passed and I had been taking care of my bump like crazy. After a Caesarean operation, I had my little boy, Vasily. Now he’s 15 months old.
I owe a big thanks to the team of doctors who helped me — especially Anna Vladislavovna Morozova! Without them, I do not know how much struggle I would have had to achieve this happiness.