Surrogacy For Infected People: AIDS/Hepatitis/Syphilis

It’s natural for people who decide to spend the rest of their lives together to want to take an even bigger step. The most natural next stage is to start a family, having children and raising them. Unfortunately, that process of pregnancy and giving birth to a healthy child isn’t one that is always available through conventional means for some hopeful families.

People with illnesses, for example, may not be a good fit for a traditional pregnancy. A woman diagnosed with uterine cancer, or some other disorder, for example, may have her uterus surgically removed to save her life. Without a uterus, she no longer has the biological systems required to safely grow and nurture an embryo into a baby. And then there are people with illnesses that do not affect their reproductive systems but can pose other risks. People with AIDS, hepatitis, and syphilis fall into this category.

Putting The Baby At Risk

When a mother has an illness or other medical condition, this can also sometimes endanger a baby. A woman that is alcoholic, for example, can severely damage the health of a developing baby because her consumption of alcohol is shared with the growing embryo. In the same way, genetic disorders such as Down’s Syndrome or cystic fibrosis, which are passed down to successive family members may carry over to the next generation when a child is conceived.

This is is also, unfortunately, true when it comes not only to substance abuse or genetically inherited disorders but to sicknesses contracted through viruses or bacteria. This is one of the reasons why expectant mothers must be careful when they contract low-grade illnesses, such as fevers due to colds. But it becomes much more serious with other diseases. These can have dramatic negative effects on the health of a developing baby.

It Passes On

Illnesses like AIDS, hepatitis or syphilis can be contracted by women in any number of ways. Unsanitary drug injection, for example, with unsterilized, already used needles can sometimes pass on viruses. Unprotected sex with someone infected, or even receiving a blood transfusion from someone infected, without proper screening can also result in the contraction of these diseases.

In some cases, diseases such as AIDS or syphilis may, on the far end of the severity spectrum, be terminal, resulting in the death of the recipient. In other cases, however, careful treatment or even genetics may blunt the most severe symptoms of these diseases, and allow people to live for many more years. This does not mean, however, that the disease has been cured. For more recent illnesses, such as AIDS, no vaccine, antibiotic or other drug currently exists that can cure the disease, only suppress its symptoms. This means that it’s possible for some people to live the rest of their lives with the disease in their bodies.

AIDS, hepatitis, and syphilis, however, are not genetic diseases. This means that egg or sperm within the reproductive system of the infected person is not infected. Moreover, that also means that there may yet be hope for having a child, without endangering that child.

Surrogacy Can Help

The biggest danger with diseases like AIDS and syphilis is that these diseases remain “active” in the body of the infected. So while a woman who has AIDS may be fortunate in not expressing its most lethal symptoms, she still carries a live, active AIDS virus in her body. Should she decide to become pregnant, her embryo would be at risk of contracting the disease, as a direct result of sharing her blood and cells as it grows from fetus to baby. In other words, a sick mother can pass that sickness onto her child in her womb.

However, since the DNA within an egg is unaffected by outside forces like the AIDS virus, this means that it’s still possible for a healthy baby to be born from a mother’s genes, provided that baby doesn’t grow in a body infected with the disease. This is where a surrogate mother can help.

With a surrogate mother, a hopeful family’s uncontaminated egg can be collected, and then used for in vitro fertilization. This means that the mother and father can still combine their DNA to create an embryo that, as with traditional childbirth is 100% a genetic combination of the two parents. Where surrogacy differs is that once the in vitro fertilization has been confirmed as successful, that egg is now implanted in a “clean environment,” that of a surrogate mother.

This is known as gestational surrogacy, meaning that the surrogate mother is strictly playing the role of providing a healthy, infection-free uterus in which the fertilized egg can safely grow. As long as the surrogate mother remains healthy, the embryo will too, eventually growing into a healthy baby that, nine months later, is safely born and introduced to his or her intended parents. However, it’s important for people serious about a successful gestational surrogacy to make sure they look at the services offered by experienced surrogacy groups.