What are the differences between surrogacy and normal pregnancy?

In the past, childless infertility issues are untreatable. But medical science advancement offers different fertility treatments. Surrogacy is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) which is considered as a reproductive treatment option for couples who want to build their family, but unable to do so due to their reproductive system disorders.

Surrogacy and normal pregnancy

Following are some general difference between surrogacy and normal pregnancy:

  • In a normal pregnancy, couples do not require any assistance from a third party to conceive. Whereas surrogacy is considered as the third party assisted reproductive system. Here it is necessary to mention, surrogacy gives an alternative option to infertile couples to raise their children.
  • Normal pregnancy is ethical and socially accepted from long back. But both social and ethical challenges are common in surrogacy. However, nowadays, people are starting to accept surrogacy with increasing general awareness.
  • In a normal pregnancy, women conceive through natural insemination, which means unprotected intercourse during ovulation is resulting in pregnancy. However, this same process followed in traditional surrogacy. In this case, the surrogate is naturally inseminated instead of a female partner. Many countries ban traditional surrogacy. In gestational surrogacy, artificial insemination is done through IVF.
  • In surrogacy, estrogen and progesterone hormonal therapy prescribe to surrogate for preparing the uterus to receive the IVF treatment. This treatment is not compulsory for every normal pregnancy. Depending upon the woman’s health doctors decide the requirement of hormonal therapy in case of normal pregnancy.
  • In the case of surrogacy, the clinician discussed with the intended parents and single or multiple embryo transfer to the surrogate to improve the chances of pregnancy or consider the health of the fetus. However, in normal pregnancy, the couple does not get such a selection option.
  • In a normal pregnancy, fertilization is an in-vivo process, which means conducted naturally inside the female reproductive system. But, the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) process is the crucial step to obtain pregnancy in surrogacy.
  • Subsequent steps of fertilization like implantation of the embryo in the uterine wall naturally conducted. No clinical assistance and clinic visits required to do this. But in surrogacy, the clinician implant the selected embryo/s into the uterus of the surrogate approximately after 40 hours later of the embryo production in the Petri dish (IVF). This process usually conducted on an outpatient basis and surrogates need to take leave from her job for one or more days.
  • In surrogacy, intended parents get the option to cryopreserve the surplus embryo for future use or embryo donation. But no such option is there for a normal pregnancy.
  •  Ten days after the conception pregnancy takes place in case of normal pregnancy and missing of the menstrual cycle is the primary indication. But in surrogacy, after two weeks of IVF procedure, the surrogate must visit a clinic to receive a routine blood test to ensure the embryo has successfully implanted in the uterine wall of the surrogate. Additional blood tests require to find out the successful pregnancy result.   

In both normal pregnancy and surrogacy, successful conceiving gives similar symptoms like breast tenderness, tingling sensation in the nipples, hunger pains, and mild spotting. And estrogen and progesterone hormonal therapy is then prescribed to both the cases for the healthy development of the child. In both normal pregnancy and surrogacy, visit the clinic after a regular interval for a check-up the status of development of the fetus is essential for giving birth to a healthy child/ children.

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