Gestational Carriers: A Solution for You
Celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Angela Basset, all in their 40s, have expanded their families thanks to gestational carriers or surrogates. It makes people wonder if this is just a trend in Hollywood baby making or if it’s a real solution for any couple who has waited to start a family and is experiencing infertility issues.
Achieving pregnancy as you age
Virtua infertility specialist Gary Packin, DO, explains how difficult achieving pregnancy can be as you get older: “Patients come in who are 49 years old and still getting their period, so they think they can still get pregnant. But their chances of getting pregnant and carrying the pregnancy to term are less than 5%. In addition, there’s a 70% miscarriage rate in women older than 45. It’s extremely rare in women older than 48 to conceive with their own eggs; many use donor eggs (including celebrities).”
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine notes: “Stories in the media may lead you to believe that you can delay getting pregnant and then use assisted reproductive technologies to get pregnant when you’re ready. However, age affects the success rates of infertility treatments as well as your natural ability to get pregnant.”
Deciding which fertility method to use
The common policy in reproductive medicine is to discourage treatment for women age 50 and older. As more women seek the “celebrity” route to having children, individual practice guidelines for surrogacy and gestational carriers have grown more comprehensive.
“First, we sit down with the patients and discuss why they have come to us. Next, there is a psychological evaluation, a full medical history and a physical evaluation,” explains Dr. Packin. “Just because we can do more for couples experiencing infertility issues, doesn’t mean we should. Their safety is always the number one priority.”
The upside is that the world of reproductive medicine is ever changing, and gestational carriers, surrogates and donor eggs afford more opportunities to couples who may never have been able to have a family any other way.
Updated June 6, 2016