Ask the Surrogacy Experts

“Surrogacy in North America is such a big investment. What’s the likelihood that I won’t get pregnant?”
— Mark


Hello Mark.

The typical IVF cycle conceives 4 to 6 high-quality embryos, and each embryo means one attempt at a pregnancy. Each time you attempt an “embryo transfer” to your surrogate, there’s about a 65% to 75% likelihood of a pregnancy (assuming both donors, the surrogate and your embryos are all reasonably healthy and fertile). So assuming there is no unknown infertility issue, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t eventually achieve a pregnancy.

If you make many transfer attempts and do not achieve a pregnancy, the likely reason would be:
• Embryos that haven’t developed well and are simply unhealthy or unstable (as graded on the Gardner Scale)
• Embryos that re chromosomally damaged, often because of a problem with the egg or sperm donor (which can be detected via PGS analysis)
• Undiagnosed fertility issues or incompatibility with your surrogate

Each of these possible risks can be mitigated through additional steps before the IVF cycle begins.
• We can choose only a donor with successful previous donation cycles, including successful pregnancies.
• To ensure we have sufficient embryos for multiple attempts, we can perform an ovarian scan to visibly confirm the number of eggs to retrieve.
• We can run fragmentation test on the sperm donor to make sure there are no chromosomal issues that could result in a failed IVF.
• We can test the embryos themselves with PGS analysis to ensure they are chromosomally complete.
• Plus of course we will choose a surrogate with a history of excellent fertility and successful pregnancies.

Of course in the end there is always a bit of luck that the embryo will “latch on” within the surrogate’s uterus — but if you are able to repeat the transfer multiple times, the effect of “dumb luck” is greatly reduced.

That said… less expensive programs are possible in clinics overseas. In Kiev you should expect about the same outcome from the IVF, but pregnancy rate is only about 60%. So while the possible financial loss is smaller in Ukraine, the likelihood of realizing that loss is higher. (Fortunately, in a country like Ukraine the costs are low enough that you can repeat the entire program if it is unsuccessful and achieve the same overall success rate as in North America — but you will pay for the program twice and spend twice the time.)

I hope this helps.
— Bill


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