What Happens If a Surrogate Mother Has Twins?All About Surrogacy
For the most part, pregnancies with multiples are a natural phenomenon. In other words, a woman will end up with multiple viable embryos in their womb quite by chance. Most of the time, the parents are shocked but accepting of the fact they are going to have twins or more. Similar situations occurs with surrogate twins.
In the realm of gestational pregnancy with surrogates, it’s possible for a surrogate mother to carry multiples for the benefit of the intended parent or parents. It may not always be by choice, but the choice does exist for intended parents who are interested in having a larger family sooner rather than later.
Let’s take a look at the concept of surrogacy and surrogate twins.
What is Surrogacy?
When a person or couple wants a baby but can’t conceive and carry a baby through natural means, they have to consider other alternatives. On the list of alternatives are two primary options.
The first alternative is adoption. While it’s a viable option, it’s one that doesn’t offer adopting parents a lot of control over the process. In most cases, they are left at the mercy of an adoption agency that has the power to say yes or no while still charging a significant fee.
For individuals and couples who want more control over the creation of their families, the surrogacy process stands as an excellent option. It involves the intended parent or parents contracting with a surrogacy agency to mediate the surrogacy process.
Subsequently, the surrogacy agency creates a contractual agreement between the surrogate mother and the intended parent or parents. The contract states the intended parent or parents will get a surrogate baby and the surrogate will get compensation for becoming a surrogate and delivering a surrogate baby.
There are two primary types of surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy involves the surrogate providing the egg cell with the sperm coming from the intended father or a donor. Gestational pregnancy or surrogacy involves the use of the intended mother’s egg cell with the sperm and again coming from the intended father or a donor. In most cases, intended parents prefer the gestational surrogacy process because the intended mother will have a genetic connection to the baby.
Having Surrogate Twins
There are instances when intended parents will request the chance to have surrogate twins or higher multiples. This is common among intended parents who would prefer having more than one baby while only having to go through surrogacy once.
The process of surrogacy multiples involves one of two procedures. The first and most common procedure is done through an intentional multiple embryo transfer process. The process involves a fertility doctor identifying multiple fertilized egg cells that have healthy embryos inside. Yes, this is one of the reasons fertility doctors will harvest as many healthy egg cells as possible. After identifying the healthy embryos, they implant the multiples in the surrogate’s womb. The process doesn’t always take, but when it does, the surrogate raises twins for delivery to the intended parent or parents.
The second and less common procedure involves a call from nature. After a single embryo is implanted in the surrogate’s womb, the embryo will split by natural means, creating surrogate twins. It’s worth noting that twins created naturally via in vitro fertilization will have a 95% likelihood of being identical twins.
Possible Complications of Having Surrogate Twins
The main advantage for intended parents who pursue surrogate twins is getting the chance to grow their family faster with only one surrogate process. Sometimes, that results in significant financial savings. Setting aside this advantage, we would be remiss to not detail the potential complications related to surrogacy multiples.
Yes, there are potential complications that can range from health issues to financial concerns. Let’s take a look at some of the potential complications.
Potential Financial Costs
If intended parents request multiples, most surrogacy agencies will offer the surrogate an extra fee for delivering multiples. The amount could go as high as $5K, something the intended parent or parents would have to cover.
If the multiples were created by natural means, the intended parents are given a choice to accept and pay for the multiples or request the selective reduction of embryos. Either way, there is an additional cost to the intended parent or parents.
Where things can get really expensive is when complications arise that call for the surrogate and or babies to receive special medical care. An example of this would involve the delivery of premature babies that need extra hospitalization in a special care unit. Complications happen a lot with multiples. When they do happen, the intended parent or parents are usually responsible for the additional costs. Other complications that can create a financial burden are listed below in the next section.
Pregnancy and Delivery Complications
Going through pregnancy and the delivery of one healthy baby is a complicated process unto itself. If you add a fetus or two, the process becomes exponentially more complicated. It can lead to medical complications for the surrogate and or babies, complications like
- Preterm labor and delivery
- Babies being born with low-weight issues
- The mother could encounter medical conditions like Gestational diabetes, Preeclampsia, and Placental abruption
- Increases the likelihood the surrogate will need to submit to a C-section procedure for birth
- Premature babies have a much higher incidence of birth defects
Delays in Locating a Surrogate
Given the extra stress that carrying and delivering multiples creates, it takes an extraordinary surrogate who is willing to bear the extra burden and become a surrogate. That accounts for the fact that significantly fewer surrogates are willing to carry multiples in spite of the extra compensation. It’s also worth noting that not all surrogates who are approved to carry one baby will be approved to carry multiple babies at the same time.
Since the pool of available surrogates who are willing to carry multiples is low, it takes longer for an agency to match a surrogate with an intended parent or parents. This is further complicated by the fact more intended parents have been requesting multiples in recent years.
As the intended parent or parents, you are well within your rights to request twins or higher multiples through surrogacy. With that said, you really need to think carefully about the information we provided above. If you are willing to accept the additional costs and risks, it’s a process worth pursuing. It will be incumbent on you, as the intended parent or parents, to be patient with the process and let our surrogacy agency do our job of finding you the right surrogate.