Assisted reproduction involving gestational surrogacy: An analysis of the medical, psychosocial and legal issues: Experience from a large surrogacy program

Shir Dar, Tal Lazer, Sonja Swanson, Jan Silverman, Cindy Wasser, Sergey I. Moskovtsev, Agata Sojecki, Clifford L. Librach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


study question: What are the medical, psychosocial and legal aspects of gestational surrogacy (GS), including pregnancy outcomes and complications, in a large series? summaryanswer: Meticulous multidisciplinary teamwork, involving medical, legal and psychosocial input for both the intended parent(s) (IP) and the gestational carrier (GC), is critical to achieve a successful GS program. what is known already: Small case series have described pregnancy rates of 17-50% for GS. There are no large case series and the medical, legal and psychological aspects of GS have not been addressed in most of these studies. To our knowledge, this is the largest reported GS case series. study design, size and duration: A retrospective cohort study was performed. Data were collected from 333 consecutive GC cycles between 1998 and 2012. participants/materials, setting, methods: There were 178 pregnancies achieved out of 333 stimulation cycles, including fresh and frozen transfers. The indications for a GC were divided into two groups. Those who have 'failed to carry', included women with recurrent implantation failure (RIF), recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) and previous poor pregnancy outcome (n = 96; 132 cycles, pregnancy rate 50.0%). The second group consisted of those who 'cannot carry' including those with severe Asherman's syndrome, uterine malformations/uterine agenesis and maternal medical diseases (n = 108, 139 cycles, pregnancy rate 54.0%). A third group, of same-sex male couples and single men, were analyzed separately (n = 52, 62 cycles, pregnancy rate 59.7%). In 49.2% of cycles, autologous oocytes were used and 50.8% of cycles involved donor oocytes. main results and the role of chance: The 'failed to carry' group consisted of 96 patients who underwent 132 cycles at a mean age of 40.3 years. Therewere 66 pregnancies (50.0%) with 17 miscarriages (25.8%) and 46 confirmed births (34.8%). The'cannot carry pregnancy' group consisted of 108 patients who underwent 139 cycles at a mean age of 35.9 years. There were 75 pregnancies (54.0%) with 15 miscarriages (20.0%) and 56 confirmed births (40.3%). The pregnancy, miscarriage and live birth rates between the two groups were not significantly different (P = 0.54; 0.43; 0.38, respectively). Of the 178 pregnancies, 142 pregnancies were ongoing (surpassed 20 weeks) or had ended with a live birth and the other 36 pregnancies resulted in miscarriage (25.4%). Maternal (GS) complication rates were low, occurring in only 9.8% of pregnancies. Fetal anomalies occurred in only 1.8% of the babies born. limitations, reasons for caution: Although it is a large series, the data are retrospective and conclusions must be drawn accordingly while considering bias, confounding and power. Due to the retrospective nature of this study, follow-up data on 6.3% of birth outcomes were incomplete. In addition, long-term follow-up data on GCs and IPs were not available to us at the time of publication. wider implications of the findings: To our knowledge, this is the largest GS series published.We have included many details regarding not only the medical protocol but also the counseling and legal considerations, which are an inseparable part of the process. Data from this study can be included in discussions with future intended parents and gestational carriers regarding success rates and complications of GS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-352
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Assistant reproductive technology
  • Counseling
  • Gestational surrogacy
  • Legal issues
  • Medical indications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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