Surrogacy in IranFertility Treatment
Gestational surrogacy is a form of third-party reproduction in which a woman agrees to carry a pregnancy for an infertile couple who cannot conceive naturally due to medical reasons. Surrogacy is a complex procedure and requires medical and legal expertise. Luckily, various corporations in Iran can get you through this treatment. In this article, you will get more information about surrogacy in Iran.
What Is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is an assisted reproduction method in which the sperm and egg of a couple are fertilized in the laboratory. The resulting embryo is transferred to the uterus of a surrogate mother. This method is used when the biological mother loses the whole uterus or some parts of the genital tract. Also, doctors recommend surrogacy for women with life-threatening diseases that make the pregnancy dangerous.
In most cases, the intended (biological) parents use their sperm and eggs for surrogacy, but sometimes, a donated egg is required. It is noteworthy that gestational surrogacy cannot use a mother's eggs. It means the gestational carrier has no genetic relationship to the child she carries.
Types of Surrogacy
Surrogacy is one of the methods of assisted reproduction that is performed using the uterus of a gestational surrogate. There are two types of surrogacy; Traditional and Gestational, which are introduced as follows:
- Gestational Surrogacy
Gestational Surrogacy, also known as Full Surrogacy, is carried out using in vitro fertilization (IVF). In this method, eggs and sperm are taken from an infertile couple and transferred into the surrogate mother's uterus after being fertilized in the laboratory. Therefore, the fetus is biologically related to the intended parents, and the surrogate mother is considered the third parent.
- Traditional Surrogacy
In contrast, traditional surrogacy is a procedure through which a surrogate uses her eggs to conceive with sperm from an intended or commissioning father. As a result, the baby is biologically related to the surrogate mother and intended father.
Why Is Surrogacy Needed?
The first baby conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) was born at Yazd Reproductive Sciences Institute in 1990. After the invention of the IVF method, physicians faced a new problem. In some cases, although infertile couples produced good germ cells and healthy embryos were grown in the laboratory, the embryos failed to implant or were aborted. The issue of IVF surrogacy was raised here. Through IVF surrogacy, instead of using the intended mother's uterus, the resulting embryo is transferred into the surrogate mother’s uterus, which is in normal and good health condition. The third party or surrogate mother is also called the mediating mother. The use of a surrogate mother's uterus can solve some of the problems of IVF failure.
In normal conditions, a sperm cell meets an egg cell in the fallopian tube. At this time, fertilization takes place, and the newly fertilized cell, called a zygote, arrives in the uterus after three days and implants into the uterine lining. At this stage, the pregnancy begins. On the other hand, in the IVF procedure, fertilization is performed under a microscope through which sperm is inoculated into the egg. Once the zygote cell is formed in the laboratory and begins to divide, which will be in stage 7 or 10, it will be transferred into the uterus. It should be noted that a successful IVF process depends on several factors, which include:
- Normal male gametes;
- Normal female gametes;
- A healthy uterus.
If for any reason, it is not possible to transfer the embryo to the intended mother's uterus, a surrogate mother’s uterus can be used. Therefore, the IVF procedure is performed using a surrogate's uterus. In this method, the egg taken from the intended mother is joined with the sperm taken from the intended father in a laboratory environment. Instead of using the intended mother's uterus, the doctor transfers the resulting zygote to the surrogate’s uterus, where fetal development takes place until birth.
Is Surrogacy Legal in Iran?
Iran is one of the leading countries in offering fertility treatments. There are fertility treatment centers in Iran that provide a variety of advanced treatment methods for infertile couples. Iran’s brilliant history in offering several different types of treatments to achieve pregnancy and a high level of satisfaction in this regard have made this country a hub for fertility treatment in the Middle East.
Surrogacy is one of the most popular assisted reproduction techniques offered to infertile couples. As you may know, surrogacy is illegal in some countries, so many infertile couples travel to other countries to receive this service. It seems that the cost of performing surrogacy in Iran is lower than in other countries, which is a great reason for many foreign couples to choose Iran as their treatment destination.
Surrogacy Laws in Iran
Surrogacy in Iran is legal both commercially and altruistically. This has led many infertile couples from the Middle East and even European countries to choose Iran for performing surrogacy due to its legal easiness. You have to stay about 15 days to 1 month in Iran in case you don’t want to stay with the surrogate during her pregnancy. It also should be noted that Iranian law doesn’t permit the practice of surrogacy in Iran for single people, lesbians, or gays.
Who Is a Good Candidate for IVF Surrogacy?
It is important to note that since IVF failure has many causes, couples who had an unsuccessful first and second IVF cycle are not necessarily suitable candidates for IVF surrogacy. On the other hand, intrauterine problems are not always the reason for going through surrogacy. The doctor may prescribe this method to some women with prolonged exposure to certain diseases. In such cases, a woman is not allowed to get pregnant due to the use of certain medications that are contraindicated in pregnancy. Going through nine months of pregnancy can be dangerous for her; however, she can use her germ to develop healthy egg cells.
Surrogacy is a good option for women with the following health problems:
- Having uterine problems;
- Having no history of hysterectomy;
- Having a history of rough curettage;
- Women with heart diseases;
- Women with kidney diseases;
- Women with rheumatic diseases;
- Women with endometriosis
- Women with rare diseases.
Surrogate Mother Health Requirements
- Being under the age of 35;
- Not being single;
- Not being breastfeeding;
- Being in good physical, mental and emotional conditions;
- Not using orphan drugs;
- Not having diseases in which pregnancy is dangerous for both mother and fetus;
- Having at least one experience of successfully terminating a pregnancy;
- Having no history of miscarriage, preterm delivery, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and severe pregnancy complications;
- Not being infected with diseases such as AIDS, hepatitis, syphilis, etc. (both surrogate mother and her husband);
- Not being addicted (both surrogate mother and her husband);
- Provide an ultrasound scan for a healthy ovarian approved by the treating physician.
Does the Surrogate Mother Share DNA?
In gestational surrogacy, a baby’s DNA comes from his or her biological parents. Half comes from the mother, and half from the father. Therefore, the only blood communication between the surrogate mother and fetus is through the placenta. The surrogate mother only carries the baby until birth. There will be an emotional connection between the surrogate mother and the fetus, but there will not be any biological relations.
- Surrogacy helps childless couples reach their long-standing dream of having a baby, which leads to the family's survival. This will pave the way for reducing the divorce rates and solving the problems of infertile couples in this regard;
- The baby produced through this method has all the characteristics of its parents genetically. Therefore, Surrogacy is possibly the best-known alternative family-building method to adoption;
- This method helps women who do not have ovulation problems and have other fertility problems to get pregnant;
- From a jurisprudential point of view, a child raised through Surrogacy is considered legitimate.
What are the Risks of Surrogacy?
- This method is not yet accepted by society, and many people are unaware of it. As a result, there is not a proper social view toward the person who carries a baby for an infertile couple;
- The surrogate mother and her family, as well as the intended parents, may go through many psychological problems;
- The possibility of legal, financial, and medical abuse in this method has not been ruled out, which is claimed by the expansion of the brokerage market in this area.
- surrogacy requires a letter of recommendation from a gynecologist in which the need to use surrogacy is stated;
- Parents should not have diseases such as AIDS, hepatitis, syphilis, etc.;
- Parents should not be addicted;
- An ultrasound scan of ovarian volume and reserve is needed, which should be approved by the treating physician.
Process of Surrogacy in Iran
In Iran, surrogacy is done in 8 steps:
- Finding the right fertility center and infertility institute
The first step in surrogacy is choosing a facilitated fertility clinic or a good infertility institute. It is worth mentioning that the fertility clinic only performs the in vitro fertilization of sperm and egg. Still, the infertility institute also bears other responsibilities, such as catching up on the paper works of surrogacy.
- Medical examinations
In the next step, the intended parents and the surrogate mother should take medical and physical tests, most of which are performed by specialists at the clinic or institute.
- Genetic counseling
Genetic counseling is one of the most important stages of surrogacy because, in the counseling sessions, both parties' inherited diseases and disorders are identified.
- Getting legal advice
Getting legal advice and being aware of the regulations and conventions of surrogacy puts an end to most concerns about legal issues of this method.
- Choosing an egg donor
If the couple needs a donated egg for surrogacy, they can either receive it from the egg bank of the infertility institute or ask for an egg donor. We should mention that the egg donor must undergo clinical screening before donating the egg.
- Choosing a surrogate mother
At this stage, the couple can either find the surrogate mother on their own or choose one of the surrogates suggested by the infertility institute. In any case, the gestational surrogate should take medical and psychiatric tests and provide a complete medical history to the doctor.
- Medical process
Before starting the surrogacy process, one of the assisted reproduction methods, such as IVF or IUI, should be chosen for fertilizing the egg. When doctors fertilize the egg, it is ready to be transferred to the surrogate's womb.
- Pregnancy and Birth
About 15 days after transferring the embryo, the surrogate should take a pregnancy test to confirm the pregnancy. If the surrogate gets pregnant, she will be fully supported by the team of the infertility institution and, of course, the biological parents. Finally, after the birth, the baby is handed over to the intended parent as was agreed.
How Long Does Surrogacy Process Take in Iran?
Surrogacy is a rather long and complex procedure, so it is essential to be patient and realistic when choosing this method of infertility treatment. The surrogacy process may take almost 15 to 20 months, from the day you compete for the initial application form to find a surrogate mother to the day you hold your baby.
Surrogacy Success Rate
Before the IVF procedure and embryo transfer, multiple medical evaluations are performed on the gestational surrogate to ensure that her body is ready to receive the embryo. So, when the doctors confirm pregnancy, the chance of having a healthy baby is more than 95%. However, some factors affect the success rate of surrogacy, such as:
- The quality of sperm and egg;
- The surrogate’s ability to carry a baby for nine months;
- The age of the surrogate and the biological parents;
- The process of fertilizing the egg; and
- If a donated egg is used, the age and health condition of the egg donor.
Is Surrogacy Allowed in Islam?
As mentioned, there are two types of surrogacies; traditional and gestational. It is interesting to know that the clergies of Islam have different points of view regarding these two types of surrogacies. Some Islamic scholars think that traditional surrogacy is not allowed in Islam. They believe that the child born is considered illegitimate due to the use of the surrogate mother’s egg in this method. This group of scholars is concerned that if the surrogate mother marries after the surrogacy process, her children will be mahram to the child she delivers to the intended family.
On the other hand, most Islam scholars have verified gestational surrogacy, and there are just a few of them that reject it. They approve of this surrogacy since the egg is obtained from the intended mother herself. So, the child belongs to his/her intended parents, according to Sharia.
Surrogacy in Shite and Sunni Islam
As you may know, although the practice of surrogacy is not allowed in most Islamic countries, it is permitted in Iran. Most Shiite scholars have issued fatwas that declare surrogacy is allowed in Islam and can be used as a fertility treatment for legal couples. On the other hand, most Sunni scholars agree that surrogacy is not permitted in Islam due to the involvement of a third party in pregnancy. So, if you are Muslim and wish to use surrogacy, we recommend you obtain the necessary information about the fatwā of your marji' taqlid before using surrogacy treatment.
Surrogacy Cost in Iran
An agreement between the two parties often determines surrogacy cost. In some cases, people prefer to use their relatives’ uteri to reduce costs. In addition, you will be required to pay a fee for the administration, coordination, and support throughout the treatment process.
It is recommended that the intended parents provide welfare and nutritional services as well as favorable mental and emotional conditions for the surrogate mother to help her give birth to a healthier baby. As you may know, anxiety and depression, as well as malnutrition, are considered harmful factors during pregnancy and endangers the fetus.
Overall, if you are considering doing surrogacy in Iran and still have questions in this regard, you can contact us for further information. We support and help you to find quickly and easily the right specialist for your needs! We offer the best clinics and doctors in the field of IVF surrogacy. To book an appointment with a doctor, begin here.
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