A surrogate is a woman who carries another couples baby to term and delivery. A surrogate is used when the fertility patient cannot carry the baby, usually because of a damaged or absent uterus or serious health concerns. She might also have unexplained repeat miscarriages.

The most common form of surrogacy is gestational surrogacy. In gestational surrogacy, the couple produces embryos in a standard IVF cycle that are then transferred to the gestational surrogate’s uterus. The resulting baby will have the genetic makeup of both the father and mother. The gestational surrogate’s menstrual cycle is synchronized with the mother’s, using medications, so that her body will be ready to accept the embryo.

The surrogate can be a family member, a friend, or supplied by an agency. Canadian law stipulates that surrogates cannot receive compensation for their time and efforts, so most pursue the process for altruistic reasons.

Obviously, legal contracts between the surrogate and infertile couple are essential. There are many lawyers who specialize in third party reproduction.