There are basically two groups of people who need Surrogates and/or Egg Donors to help in their family building endeavors (in the event they choose not to adopt). The first group (discussed below) includes infertile women or couples. The second group includes gay or single males. For obvious reasons, gay or single men who are interested in becoming fathers, but who choose not to pursue adoption, will need to find a woman to carry a baby/ies for them. In this case, they will need to determine whether they are interested in pursuing Traditional Surrogacy or Gestational Surrogacy with an Egg Donor. Since, as mentioned above, it is clear why gay or single males who want to be fathers need to turn to surrogacy, below we will concentrate on addressing some of the reasons infertile women (or heterosexual couples) may need the services of a Surrogate and/or an Egg Donor.
There are many potential reasons a woman may not be able to carry a baby (creating the need for a Surrogate), and a variety of conditions that could prohibit a woman from using her own eggs to conceive (creating the need for an Egg Donor). It’s also fairly commonplace, in terms of assisted reproduction, to need both the services of a Surrogate and an Egg Donor—thus, a Gestational Surrogate would carry the baby/ies created by an Egg Donor’s eggs and the Intended Father’s (or Sperm Donor’s) sperm. This is a subject that can be discussed in great length; however, we would just like to touch on a few of the most typical reasons a couple/individual may need to turn to Surrogacy and/or Egg Donation to create or add to their family.
The need for a Surrogate may exist when a woman does not have a uterus, due to a gynecological cancer for example, or when she has a syndrome known as MRKH (Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser Syndrome), in which she is born without a uterus (or with an under-developed uterus), and in many instances, without a vagina (or with an under-developed vagina). A large percentage of women with MRKH have perfectly functioning ovaries; therefore, Surrogacy has provided a wonderful solution in allowing them to use their own eggs and pass on their genetics to their future child/ren.
Even when a woman’s uterus and all of her other gynecologic organs are in tact, there are still many potential conditions that could prevent her from getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy. Some factors that may cause infertility are fibroids (benign tumors of the uterus), endometriosis (when endometrial cells form outside the uterus), blockage or scarring of the fallopian tubes, and cervical incompetence. About 10% of infertile women have unexplained infertility, in which a cause is really never determined, and another portion of the infertile community suffers from the devastating loss of recurrent miscarriage, defined as three or more consecutive miscarriages before twenty weeks gestation.
Finally, even when a woman is be able to carry a pregnancy, from a physical standpoint, there are many possible health reasons (for example, heart conditions, lupus, other autoimmune diseases, etc.) that make it inadvisable for her to become pregnant, because it could be potentially harmful to herself or the baby she would be carrying.
The reasons for needing an Egg Donor are different, on many levels, than those pertaining to the need for a Surrogate. In the case where the Recipient Mother is carrying the baby, the issue may be directly related to her egg quality or a problem with her genetics (for example, a chromosomal abnormality that she could pass on to her children). She may have had her ovaries removed (or had a full hysterectomy) due to cancer or another serious gynecologic problem. Other reasons to need the assistance of an Egg Donor are premature menopause, under-developed or malfunctioning ovaries, or poor egg quality in general due to age or other various causes. Recipient Mothers can achieve pregnancy and carry a baby successfully, but they need another woman’s eggs (genetic material) to make this a possibility.