When intended parents consider a surrogate baby, one of the main questions on their minds is whether the baby will look like the surrogate mother. After all, she provides the egg the father’s sperm will fertilize. Or, the surrogate mothers will offer nutrients to the baby in case of gestational surrogates. So, it worries some parents that their child might have some physical resemblance with the surrogate.
Well, not necessarily. The baby will usually look like the intended parent because surrogacy does not involve DNA transfer.
However, a few factors can contribute to the surrogate mother’s transfer of DNA to the baby.
Factors for DNA Transfer in the Surrogacy Journey
The first factor is whether or not the intended parents are using their own eggs and sperm. If the couple contributes with its genetic formula, then the baby will look like the related intended parent. However, if the surrogate mother is also an egg donor, there are chances that the baby’s genes will have the surrogate’s characteristics.
The second factor is what type of surrogacy arrangement they have. Only traditional surrogates are more likely to resemble the baby. However, if the couple has a gestational surrogacy arrangement, then it is less likely that the baby will resemble the surrogate mother. In this case, the surrogate is only a gestational carrier providing her womb as a safe environment for the baby. Thus, you can expect the baby to look like an egg and sperm donor.
Make sure you ask all of your concerning questions regarding genetic material and the process before you give in.
What Is the Difference Between Gestational Surrogacy and Traditional Surrogacy
If you are considering surrogacy to help grow your family, you need to know the difference between gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy. Here is a brief overview of the two types of surrogacy to help you decide which is correct.
Gestational surrogacy, also sometimes called “host” or “full” surrogacy, involves the aid of in-vitro fertilization. The surrogate mother carries a baby conceived via IVF. The doctors use the egg and sperm from either biological parents or donors.
One of the benefits of gestational surrogacy is that it offers parents more control over their child’s genetic makeup. Additionally, since the gestational surrogate is not biologically related to the child, there is typically less risk of legal complications.
In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is also considered the child’s biological mother. This is typically done via artificial intrauterine insemination using the father’s sperm. The traditional surrogate uses her egg in the process, and the baby is born with traits of the intended father and woman whose egg cells were involved.
For couples having trouble getting pregnant or carrying a child to term, gestational surrogacy offers a solution. Single parents or same-sex couples who want to have a genetically related child can also use this process. While traditional surrogacy arrangements can be less expensive, gestational surrogacy offers potential parents more control over the pregnancy and the child’s genetic makeup.
What Is IVF, and How Is It Helpful in Surrogacy?
IVF is a process by which professionals fertilize an egg in the laboratory with sperm. Furthermore, they transfer the embryo to the uterus of an experienced surrogate or biological mother. Many couples can use IVF if they are having difficulty conceiving. Moreover, if women somehow surgically remove their fallopian tubes, they can use IVF to conceive. Another practical application of IVF is surrogacy.
Surrogacy is when another woman carries and delivers a baby. The surrogates do so on behalf of another person or couple. IVF is also helpful in surrogacy arrangements when the intended mother cannot hold a pregnancy herself or when the intended father’s sperm cannot fertilize the intended mother’s egg. The couple may use their eggs and sperm, or they may use donor eggs or sperm. In both situations, the surrogate mother does not share DNA with the child she is carrying.
Does a Surrogate Mother Transfer DNA to the Baby
This question basically asks, ‘Is the surrogate mother related to the child’. The question of whether or not surrogate mothers share DNA is a complicated one. It depends on the type of surrogacy you opt for. If the baby develops through a gestational surrogate with the help of the IVF process, the surrogate does not share DNA with the baby.
In this case, a surrogate mother is simply a carrier throughout the pregnancy and the birth mother. The parents who help fertilize the embryo are the biological parents. Hence, the surrogate mother doesn’t have any genetic connection to the baby. So while the role of the surrogate mother in the baby’s development is significant, it does not appear to impact the baby’s DNA.
However, if a surrogate conceives through traditional surrogation, she will be genetically related to the baby. The baby born as such will share DNA with the surrogate and may end up looking like her. However, this is not always the case.
Does a Surrogate Mother Share Blood With the Baby
Epigenetics is something that people do not understand about surrogacy. Some people think the woman who carries the baby for another woman shares blood with the baby. It is a common myth that the surrogate has a blood connection to her child or shares blood.
The reality is the surrogate has no relationship with her child’s genetics and no genetic connection with the baby. The nutrients and oxygen are passed on to the baby through the placenta. The placenta acts as a barrier that inhibits blood or genetic exchange between the baby and the surrogate.
Does Who the Child Resemble Matter?
Because a child is formed from existing cells, they will always resemble someone. That might be the intended parents, the surrogate mother, or whoever the egg and/or sperm donor was.
Sometimes, parents might see some resemblance between their child and the surrogate mother. However, if it was gestational surrogacy, that resemblance is purely coincidental. Moreover, sometimes your mind might remind you of the pregnancy and get you seeing things whenever you look at your child.
But, at the end of the day, you must ascertain whether resemblance matters. Will you be unable to love your child if they look like the surrogate mother? Does that resemblance stop you from caring for your child? Is it the worst thing in the world if your child looks like the woman who happily fulfilled your dream to become a parent?
Of course, the child might have questions as they grow, but this will invite you to have an open and honest conversation about their conception. It doesn’t change your parental role.
Furthermore, your main focus should be a safe and healthy pregnancy. Once you hold your bundle of joy, all those questions and doubts will be replaced by an overwhelming amount of love.
Can You Say That a Surrogate Baby Is Biologically Yours
Surrogacy is a highly personal decision, and there are various reasons couples may choose to use a surrogate. For many, the decision comes down to one simple fact: they cannot have children on their own.
In these cases, if both intended parents provide egg and sperm, the child is biologically related to them. So, the biological father provides his sperm for in vitro fertilization (IVF). After fertilization, the experts implant the embryo in the surrogate’s womb. The child shares DNA with the biological father and mother but not with the surrogate mother.
While the child is not biologically related to the surrogate, she still plays an essential role in its life. In gestational surrogacies, the mother provides the child with a nurturing and healthy environment during pregnancy.
However, your DNA is used to create the child. If you believe that DNA is the only factor that determines paternity, then a surrogate baby is biologically yours. However, if you think that carrying and giving birth to a child also makes them biologically yours, then a surrogate baby would be considered yours biologically.
A surrogate baby is not biologically related to gestational surrogates. Thus, the father provides his sperm for in vitro fertilization (IVF,) which combines with the biological mother’s egg. Furthermore, the experts implant the egg in the surrogate’s womb. The child shares their DNA with the biological father but not with the surrogate mother.
However, if the surrogate offers her eggs in the process, there are chances that the baby may end up looking like her. So, if you want your child to have genetic relationships with the intended couple, you should use the advanced surrogacy method.
Whether you want a gestational or traditional surrogacy process depends on your personal choice. Both offer intended parents the opportunity to grow their families through surrogacy. Talk with your fertility specialist and surrogate agency to learn more about each type of surrogacy and decide which one is right for you and your family.