There are many reasons why people choose gestational surrogacy. Health issues may prevent a woman from getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term, or infertility issues may prevent couples from conceiving. Same-sex couples who would like to have children may choose surrogacy. Single people who want to have biological children may also consider surrogacy. However, no matter the reason, people who choose gestational surrogacy share one thing in common: they all want to welcome a child into the world, and have the chance to grow their families. Here are five key reasons why gestational surrogacy is growing in popularity around the world.
1. Infertility issues are on the rise.
Infertility is common—and it’s increasing. In 1950, there was a global average of five children per woman, according to the United Nations. In 2020, there was an average of two children per woman. While these statistics indicate a global decrease in fertility, the biggest decreases are in developed countries. The United Nations Population Fund reports that Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, and Eastern Asia have the lowest fertility rates in the world, with an average of 1.5 children per woman.
One of the reasons for this decrease is because many men and women in advanced countries are waiting longer to have children, often choosing to complete their education or begin careers first. While this is a positive development, advanced age does impact fertility, for both men and women. In the United States today, 10 to 15% of couples are infertile, according to the Mayo Clinic. The World Health Organization estimates that between 48 million couples and 186 million individuals live with infertility globally. While infertility is not the only reason to choose surrogacy, it is one of the biggest reasons.
2. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is growing.
The International Journal of Women’s Health and Wellness recently reported that more than 8 million babies were born with the aid of IVF since it was first introduced—and estimates suggest that by 2100, 3% of the world’s population will be born using IVF and other fertility treatments. As IVF is becoming more common, gestational surrogacy is, too.
3. Advances in technology are making IVF more successful.
Since IVF was introduced more than 40 years ago, many advances have been made. Some of the most important ones include cryopreservation of surplus embryos, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) for male factor infertility, chromosomal screening by preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), mitochondrial donation or three-parent IVF, cryopreservation of ovarian tissue, and uterine transplantation. As IVF methods continue to improve, success rates will rise. This will likely lead to more individuals and couples seeking gestational surrogacy.
4. Gestational surrogacy is becoming more widely accepted and available.
Between 1999 and 2013, gestational surrogates gave birth to 18,400 babies, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A CDC report from 2016 noted that the number of embryo transfers performed on gestational surrogates nearly tripled over a relatively short time period—from 1,957 in 2007 to 5,521 in 2015. Biospacerecently projected 24.8% growth in the gestational surrogacy segment over the period from 2019 to 2025. Unlike traditional surrogacy, which is banned in many locales, gestational surrogacy is legal in many U.S. states and countries, and laws are becoming more accommodating. Gestational surrogacy comes with fewer emotional and legal complexities than traditional surrogacy. It also gives intended parents the opportunity to have a child with whom they share a genetic connection.
5. Awareness of infertility and surrogacy is increasing.
As more people become aware of infertility treatments and gestational surrogacy, their popularity will continue to grow. Today, many organizations advocate for infertility awareness. For example, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association hosts National Infertility Awareness Week each year, promoting advocacy and access to care, support and education. Organizations like the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Hadassah, PCOS Challenge and others are also advocating to raise awareness of infertility issues, decrease stigma, and advocate for policy change. For many people struggling with infertility, gestational surrogacy is an attractive family building option—and as more people learn about this choice, its popularity will likely continue to grow.
If you’re considering gestational surrogacy, Newborn Advantage can help.
Contact us today to learn more.