Surrogacy has developed into a well-recognized and essential service for many looking to build their families. Surrogacy has significantly evolved over the years as social norms have changed and with advances in reproductive endocrinology. Some of the significant changes in the space are the movement toward Gestational Surrogacy, the legalization of compensated Surrogacy, the proliferation of same-sex couples utilizing Surrogacy for family building, the increase of success rates, and the rise of assisted reproduction employer benefits.
Before 1985 one hundred percent of all surrogacy cases were Traditional Surrogacy. Traditional Surrogacy is a method of family building where the woman carries the child and is also the genetic contributor. This contrasts to Gestational Surrogacy, where the carrier has no genetic link to the baby being carried. Gestational Surrogacy is now the most common form of Surrogacy and is what most people refer to when they use the general term “surrogacy.” Whereas traditional Surrogacy relied on IUI (intrauterine insemination), advances in IVF (in vitro fertilization) have allowed for increased success rates in embryo transfers to gestational surrogates.
As Surrogacy became a family building option, many states had to consider the legal parameters of compensated Surrogacy. While there are still a handful of states in the US that strictly forbid compensated Surrogacy, most states now have laws regulating the practice. However, each state has different laws surrounding the surrogacy process, and it is always best to consult with an agency or attorney before beginning a surrogacy journey in your state.
As laws have become more and more favorable to the surrogacy process, they have also come to recognize the equal rights of same-sex couples. Many states now protect same-sex couples through pre-birth-order judgments of parentage. This has opened more doors and simplified the process for same-sex couples looking to build their families through Surrogacy. Most IVF clinics now actively pursue LGBTQIA+ clients, and public visibility has helped educate and popularize this method of family building.
Advancements in the IVF process have paved the way for more successful surrogacy journeys. Advances in reproductive endocrinology, pharmacology, and embryology have significantly increased success rates and the health and safety of embryos and surrogates alike. It was not long ago that many patients of IVF would give birth to multiple babies due to the transfer of multiple embryos. However, that process has evolved where most physicians will only need to transfer a single embryo. This practice greatly benefits the child’s development and the health and safety of the surrogate.
For most of its history, IVF and Surrogacy have been out-of-pocket expenses for Intended Parents. However, as time has passed and views on infertility and the right to build a family have evolved, more and more employers are offering benefits that include surrogacy services. Tech companies and startups have led the way in providing these benefits, but more and more varied companies are joining the ranks. These benefits are helping make assisted reproduction more accessible and attainable across the board.
With a history of just over 40 years, Surrogacy has already been through profound changes. The following 40 will undoubtedly bring many more as it continues to help people build the family of their dreams.