Donation & Gestational Carriers (Surrogacy)

Donation & gestational carrier facts

  • To expand their family, some patients may need egg, embryo or sperm donation, or a gestational carrier (a type of surrogate) to achieve a healthy pregnancy.
  • Donation and/or use of a gestational carrier in conjunction with assisted reproductive technologies allows an individual or couple to become parents when it may not be possible otherwise. This can benefit male/female couples, single patients and LGBTQ+ patients.
  • Donation in fertility treatment refers to a couple or individual using sperm, egg(s) or embryo(s) donated by another person in order to achieve pregnancy through in vitro fertilization (IVF) or other fertility treatment.
  • A gestational carrier refers to a woman who becomes pregnant through IVF using embryos created by the intended parent(s) in cases where there is no female partner or when the woman cannot carry the pregnancy on her own.
  • A traditional surrogate becomes pregnant using both her own eggs and uterus, a method that is not allowed in Texas. Instead we use a gestational carrier, meaning the woman carrying the child becomes pregnant with the patient’s or a donor’s eggs or embryo(s) for the intended parents.

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What is egg, sperm and embryo donation?

The donation of eggs, sperm or embryos are forms of third-party reproduction. The use of donors is in conjunction with other fertility treatments such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) and IVF.

Donors are used in fertility treatment typically because the recipient(s) are not able to get pregnant using their own sperm, eggs or embryos (fertilized eggs). These donations may offer a chance to bring home a baby in situations where it seems otherwise impossible.

A donor may also be used to create a pregnancy using a gestational carrier.

What is gestational carrier surrogacy?

Gestational carrier surrogacy is another form of third-party reproduction. A gestational carrier is used in fertility treatment when a woman or LGBTQ+ individuals cannot carry a pregnancy on their own.

Texas law does not allow the use of a traditional surrogate, which means the woman carrying the pregnancy becomes pregnant through the fertilization of her own eggs.

Instead, we use a gestational carrier, which is a form of surrogacy with a distinct difference. A gestational carrier does not become pregnant through the fertilization of her own eggs; instead she will either use the intended parent’s embryos or donated eggs or embryos in conjunction with IVF.

What you need to know about Texas surrogacy laws

  • The laws and regulations for using surrogates can vary from state to state.
  • In Texas, the use of a gestational carrier is the approved and legal method (when a woman becomes pregnant using someone else’s fertilized eggs).
  • This means the child a gestational surrogate gives birth to will not be genetically related to her.
  • Texas law does not allow the use of a traditional surrogate (when a woman carrying the pregnancy becomes pregnant through the fertilization of her own eggs). This is a controversial situation that is legally and psychosocially complex, so it is not allowed in Texas.

Finding a donor or gestational carrier

Donors and gestational carriers may be either anonymous or known by the recipient, such as a family member or acquaintance. The majority of donors and surrogates are found through a third-party agency.

Is donation or a gestational carrier right for me?

One of these services may be right for you if:
  • You or your partner are struggling with infertility, preventing the use of your own eggs or sperm.
  • The female cannot carry a pregnancy on her own.
  • The woman has conditions making pregnancy impossible or risky, such as a uterine anomaly or severe heart disease.

Learn about donation & surrogacy treatment options

Egg donation

Egg donation is used in fertility treatment for women who cannot use their own eggs to become pregnant, either due to poor egg quantity or quality, age or other genetic factors. LGBTQ+ couples may also use egg donation as part of reproductive assistance. Egg donors can be known or anonymous.

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Sperm donation

Sperm donation is used in fertility treatment for men when male infertility relates to the availability or quality of sperm or a genetic concern. Sperm donation can also help LGBTQ+ couples or women looking to be a single mom. Sperm donors can be known or anonymous.

Embryo donation

Once patients complete their family, they may have unused healthy embryos left over from IVF treatment. Patients can decide to donate these embryos to another patient or couple in need. Embryo donation can be used to overcome a number of infertility challenges or LGBTQ+ family building needs. Although the intended parent(s) won’t be genetically related to the child, embryo donation allows parents to either carry, or participate in, a pregnancy.

Gestational carrier surrogacy

A gestational carrier is a woman who carries a pregnancy for an intended parent or couple using either the intended mother’s eggs or donor eggs fertilized with the male partner’s sperm or donor sperm. Using a gestational carrier can help women who are unable to safely carry a pregnancy, as well as same-sex male couples.

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