You Might Be Surprised: The Surrogacy Success Rate

It’s normal for many couples around the world to decide to start a new phase of their life and begin a family. And while the majority of those couples do so the traditional way of allowing the woman to become pregnant and give birth to a baby nine months later, not everyone has that option. For some, medical circumstances make it too risky or even impossible to become pregnant. However, surrogacy, where another woman is medically evaluated as suitable, can be an alternative. Here, that other woman agrees to become pregnant on behalf of a hopeful family, and the baby goes on to meet the new parents and start life as a family.

But for some couples, there is an understandable concern surrounding surrogacy. If the reason traditional pregnancy is unfeasible for a couple is due to its low success rate, then what makes the surrogacy success rate any better? Here’s the breakdown of the different ways to interpret this important figure.

What Impacts Success?

Obviously, for those who are seeking surrogacy as a means to have a successful pregnancy, this often means certain factors of their circumstances are impacting success. For example, the most obvious one is specific types of surgery. If a woman has undergone a hysterectomy procedure and had her uterus removed to win the fight against cancer, then pregnancy now has a 100% failure rate because pregnancy can’t even occur; a uterus must be present.

But there are also other factors. Age is another variable that can play an important role. So, while it may be possible for women even in their 50s to become pregnant, as they age past their 40s, it becomes less and less recommended to do so because of increased medical risks.

Medical circumstances are another big factor. A woman with a heart condition is advised not to become pregnant because the increasing biological and metabolic demands of pregnancy can become too much in later states, putting both the mother and the child at risk when the body is no longer able to keep up.

The Right Surrogate Mother

This is why when it comes time to consider surrogacy, a cornerstone of success is finding the right surrogate mother candidate, a task often made much faster, simpler, and easier by working with a surrogacy center instead of trying to do the screening, interviewing, and managing all on your own.

Whether you work with a surrogacy center or not, the ideal surrogacy mother candidate remains the same in terms of characteristics for those focused on maximum chances of success. The ideal surrogate mother candidate is between 21-40 years of age. She is in good physical condition and, perhaps just as importantly, maintains a healthy lifestyle with no habits that would negatively impact pregnancy, such as smoking or drug or alcohol consumption. She also has already been pregnant at least once, which means that she has both the experience, psychological, and emotional background to understand what the pregnancy and birth process entails.

If a surrogate mother meets all of these conditions, the chances of success go up considerably.

The Actual Odds

So what, in terms of actual statistical numbers, are the chances of a successful surrogacy? It depends on the type. The most common type of surrogacy, known as “traditional surrogacy,” or the more technical term “gestational surrogacy,” involves the surrogate mother’s egg being used for fertilization. At the same time, donor sperm is introduced through well-established artificial insemination techniques.

In modern facilities with experienced medical professionals, gestational surrogacies now enjoy a 95% success rate due to the combination of choosing a suitable surrogate mother as well as having access to proper equipment and personnel.

However, the odds do drop somewhat for the In Vitro Fertilization or IVF surrogacy. This is a more complex process where a donor egg and sperm are used. The egg and sperm are fertilized in the lab and, upon confirmation, are then implanted in the uterus of the surrogate mother. This is a demanding process, and results aren’t always guaranteed.

However, with a suitable surrogate mother candidate, IVF procedures tend to have approximately a 75% success rate. These odds can be further reinforced if couples work with surrogacy centers that offer packages for multiple fertilization attempts. It’s generally more cost-effective to bundle in two more attempts right from the start than to invest in each one individually.

Different Definitions Of Success

However, another important factor to consider for success besides just the fertilization or pregnancy itself is the processes surrounding this goal. 

For example, another metric for success can be the time factor. Depending on how badly organized the surrogacy process is, it may take years before a hopeful family finally has a baby. On the other hand, it may happen in a year or less with a more experienced surrogacy center.

Another factor is legality. If a couple travels to another country for surrogacy, they may find upon return that the baby is not granted citizenship because this is not automatically rewarded to returning newborns. However, an experienced surrogacy center may have the legal measures in place to ensure citizenship application and approval.