If you want to be a surrogate, you also must consider abortion and selective reduction of embryos.
These medical procedures are relatively commonplace in the surrogacy process, but they can give prospective surrogates pause. In general, a surrogacy journey may include selective termination – also referred to as selective reduction abortion – if:
- The embryo is not developing properly
- More than two embryos implant
- A fetus has life-threatening disabilities or developmental issues
- A carrier’s life is in immediate danger
- Abortion is legal in the state where you are receiving care
We know this topic can be tricky to discuss. We encourage any prospective surrogate curious about selective reduction and selective termination to speak with a surrogacy professional or a fertility clinic for more information. Your level of comfort with these situations will ultimately be up to you. But, remember that your preferences will likely impact how your surrogacy journey proceeds.
Why is Selective Reduction and Termination An Important Topic in Surrogacy?
There are a lot of personal opinions about selective reduction and termination (otherwise known as abortion). But, if you’re thinking about starting the surrogacy process, you must try to view these procedures from a medical standpoint.
In an ideal surrogacy, selective reduction or termination of embryos is unnecessary. An embryo implants safely into a surrogate’s uterus and begins to develop as it should. The continuation of the pregnancy holds no undue risk to the surrogate or the baby the embryo will become.
When Surrogate Mother Abortion is Necessary
Depending on the intended parents’ views and relevant state laws, they may choose to voluntarily reduce the number of embryos implanted into a surrogate’s uterus or terminate the pregnancy entirely. Some reasons for this are:
- The embryo is not developing correctly: Reproductive endocrinologists quickly know whether an embryo transfer will result in a successful birth. Even if an embryo was genetically tested before the transfer, it might start to develop abnormally. As hard as it is, some intended parents may choose to terminate the pregnancy rather than wait for the heartbreak of a natural miscarriage later on.
- More than two embryos implant: Transferring multiple embryos to a woman’s uterus is no longer common practice, but sometimes, it’s still done. A doctor may implant more than one embryo simply for the higher chances of success. If more embryos implant than the intended parents are comfortable with, they may choose to reduce one or more of the embryos. This is done to reduce the risks of carrying multiples for the gestational carrier and increase the chance that a healthy baby will be born.
- A fetus has life-threatening disabilities or developmental issues: Even if an embryo passes genetic testing, genetic or congenital malformations can occur. Intended parents may make the tough decision to terminate a pregnancy if they are aware a fetus will not be able to survive on its own after birth. Other intended parents will choose to terminate for non-life-threatening conditions, but these terms will be in your surrogacy contract.
- A carrier’s life is in immediate danger: Sometimes, to save the life of a surrogate, surrogate mother abortion is the only option. Even if she has had healthy pregnancies, she may develop a condition that puts her life at risk during her gestational pregnancy. Both parties may choose to terminate to protect her life.
Remember, when it comes to surrogacy, all parties involved are working toward the best chance of success. In some situations, this involves selective reduction or termination of embryos. Before becoming a surrogate, you must determine whether this is a procedure you are comfortable with and if it is allowed in your state.
Can I Be a Surrogate if Abortion Is Against My Beliefs?
Just because selective reduction and termination can occur in gestational surrogacy, the procedures aren’t necessary for every journey. But, if you want to be a gestational carrier, you need to identify your comfort level if these situations occur.
To help you determine what you’re comfortable with, try to assess your answers to these surrogate questions:
- When is selective termination and reduction okay?
- Are they suitable in cases of life-threatening disability?
- What about a child with a disorder that will result in special needs, such as Down syndrome or cerebral palsy?
Being against selective reduction and termination won’t automatically disqualify you from surrogacy, but you may find it challenging to find intended parents who share your beliefs.
Talking to a Surrogate Specialist About Selective Reduction
When you apply to be a surrogate, your surrogacy professional will discuss your preferences for surrogacy, including your thoughts on termination and selective reduction. They will also review if this procedure is a viable option based on where you live. Your thoughts will play an important role in matching with intended parents. The specifics of each situation will be discussed during the drafting of your contract.
If you are absolutely against selective reduction and termination (otherwise known as “no term”), you should be prepared to wait longer to find intended parents who share your views. As mentioned above, every intended parent wants the best chance at a healthy baby, and selective reduction and termination are sometimes necessary for improving those chances. Most intended parents want to work with a surrogate comfortable with these procedures in certain situations.
If you are interested in being a surrogate mother, abortion and selective reduction are not subjects you can ignore. But, you always have the right to choose the surrogacy journey you want.
Please contact a surrogacy professional today for more information about selective reduction and termination.