Gestational Carrier Program

Gestational surrogacy allows individuals unable to carry a pregnancy become biological parents with the help of a gestational carrier. A gestational carrier is a woman who agrees to carry and give birth to a baby genetically related to the child’s intended parent or parents but unrelated to the gestational carrier.

Our gestational surrogacy program is reserved for individuals and couples who cannot carry their own baby due to medical risks worsened by pregnancy or lack of a uterus due to a genetic disease or hysterectomy.

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Gestational Carrier Program

How is gestational surrogacy achieved?

We use assisted reproductive technologies (in vitro fertilization). The intended mother or an egg donor takes fertility medications to produce multiple eggs. When the eggs mature, a physician will perform a short procedure to retrieve the eggs. A lab technician will then inseminate the eggs and cryopreserve (freeze) the resulting embryos. We freeze embryos to avoid unnecessarily preparing the gestational carrier medically. At a later date, the doctor performs an embryo transfer to place the rewarmed embryo in the gestational carrier’s uterus.

Who is eligible for gestational surrogacy? 

We have guidelines in place to ensure that gestational surrogacy is the appropriate treatment option for both the gestational carrier and the intended parents. 

Intended parents:

  • Must have a medical reason that a/the female partner cannot carry a pregnancy
  • Must be less than 55 years old (exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis)
  • Must be willing to work with an agency
  • Must be willing to cryopreserve (freeze) embryos

What should I consider before choosing gestational surrogacy?

It’s important to consider the potential challenges and complications involved in this process before deciding to use a gestational carrier. Discuss these issues with an experienced health care professional. Challenges may include medical risks for the couple, medical risks for the gestational carrier, ethical and legal effects on your family, and cost for the service. 

Fees for gestational surrogacy often include:

  • Associated legal and agency fees
  • Cost of in vitro fertilization
  • Gestational carrier’s health insurance
  • Gestational carrier’s life insurance

Why do I need to work with an agency?

By partnering with a trusted agency, we can better ensure gestational carriers are prepared, qualified, and suited to be a surrogate for the intended parents and that the complex treatment process runs as smoothly as possible. The University of Iowa Center for Advanced Reproductive Care collaborates with an independent outside agency called Alternative Reproductive Resources (ARR) to:

  • Ensure appropriate payments are made
  • Facilitate matches with known gestational carriers
  • Facilitate psychological and legal support services
  • Identify and screen appropriate gestational carriers
  • Match intended parents with gestational carriers
  • Organize any necessary remote monitoring and travel

Watch Jeanne and Dewayne’s story if you are interested in learning more about our gestational carrier program.

Care Team