Reasons to Need Surrogacy

Surrogacy offers hope to prospective parents who face medical and social obstacles to parenthood.

The Variety of Indications for Surrogacy

We welcome all future parents who are considering Dr. Lori Arnold and the California Center for Reproductive Medicine to help create their families through IVF and surrogacy. Congratulations on taking this important step.

All of you have different reasons for needing a surrogate mother, also known as a gestational surrogate or gestational carrier. This page outlines some of the most common reasons you could require one.

Many women need a surrogate mother to have children because they have a medical condition preventing them from conceiving or carrying a pregnancy. These women have a deep longing to become a mother and realize surrogacy is their best option to have a genetic or donor-conceived child, be involved in the pregnancy, and be present during the delivery and birth of their baby.

Same-sex gay male couples and single men who want to become parents also need a gestational carrier to help them have biological children. In addition, they will need an egg donor to provide her eggs or oocytes as genetic material. Surrogacy affords intended fathers the opportunity to be involved in the pregnancy, delivery, and birth of their child.

Women without a uterus

A small percentage of women are born without a uterus because their Müllerian duct failed to develop during fetal development. This congenital abnormality is known as Mayer–Rokitansky–Küster–Hauser syndrome (MRKH) as well as by the more technical term Müllerian agenesis.

A woman often learns she has MRKH during puberty when she fails to get a menstrual period even though she has functioning ovaries. It also can affect parts of her vagina and cervix, making intercourse painful.

In addition, other women might need to undergo a hysterectomy, which is the surgical removal of their uterus, due to cervical cancer, uterine fibroids, or uterine prolapse, which occurs when the uterus moves from its normal position to the vaginal cavity.

Prospective surrogate mother

Structural problems with the uterus

A nonfunctioning uterus will make it difficult to conceive or sustain a pregnancy because of:

  • Fibroids: noncancerous muscular tissue growing in the uterine wall that can cause abnormal uterine bleeding, pain, and miscarriages
  • Asherman syndrome: uterine scarring from previous abdominal surgery
  • Bicornate or double uterus: a rare condition where a wall or septum divides the womb, or there are two uteri.


A woman with severe endometriosis may have difficulty conceiving or carrying a pregnancy and need a gestational surrogate. Endometriosis causes excess endometrial tissue from the uterus to lodge in her reproductive organs and potentially in other regions of the body, such as the intestinal cavity, where it should not be.

Advanced maternal age

Women in their forties and older often turn to surrogacy because they have trouble sustaining a pregnancy, even with donor eggs. We help women with IVF and surrogacy until they turn 54.

Difficult past pregnancies

Women who have experienced severe pregnancy complications may pursue surrogacy because they want more children but are reluctant to experience another high-risk pregnancy. Some complications are:

  • Preeclampsia or gestational hypertension
  • Severe morning sickness
  • Cervical incompetence or weakness that requires prolonged bed rest

Medical conditions

A woman may decide to forgo pregnancy because of medical conditions such as heart disease, infectious diseases transmitted to babies via pregnancy, kidney failure, autoimmune disorders and other diagnoses that could make pregnancy or childbirth dangerous for either the mother, baby or both.

Repeat miscarriages and IVF failures

Women who have experienced two or more recurrent pregnancy losses because of uterine abnormalities or repeated IVF failures frequently contemplate surrogacy.

Delivery complications

About one percent of women undergo serious delivery complications like placenta abruptia or placenta accreta. These problems severely damage a woman’s uterus during delivery and prevent her from carrying another pregnancy. With placenta abruptia, the placenta detaches from the womb; placenta accrete causes severe hemorrhaging.

Elective surrogacy

Professional women with work and business obligations may choose elective surrogacy because they can not undergo a pregnancy.

There are numerous indications for surrogacy. Surrogacy can help you overcome these hurdles to having a child. We are happy to help you navigate this life-changing experience as you explore this option to have a baby and create your family.

Single dad who used an egg donor

Same-sex gay male couples and single men

Since the more widespread successful use of surrogacy and egg donation, a growing number of same-sex male couples and single men have decided to become parents this way. They will need both a gestational surrogate and an egg donor as well as have their sperm tested.

Though some men may have a family member or friend donate eggs, most will need to find an egg donor.

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