Like most Reproductive Medicine practices, we perform what we refer to as “Third Party Reproduction” meaning we use donor sperm, donor eggs, gestational carriers for couples who need these procedures. One of the problems with the use of an egg and sperm donors or surrogates and gestational carriers, is that using them can be rather pricey. A lot of effort is required to make sure all parties involved are protected medically and legally, and so many patients may be tempted to do this at home without medical intervention. This story of a “Turkey Baster” do it yourself surrogacy from the UK illustrates why it is so important not to try this at home.
One of the remaining challenges in Reproductive Medicine is helping women who were born without a uterus, or have had the uterus removed or have severe scar tissue in the uterus making it difficult or impossible to carry a pregnancy. One of the problems we see from time to time in our practice is women with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome who are born without a uterus. The only options for these couples is to use a gestational carrier with IVF to carry the pregnancy for them, what most people think of as a “surrogate.” Picking up on research that began over a century ago, doctors in Sweden are using modern surgical techniques and medications to enable transplantation of the uterus. The big unknown is whether the blood supply in the transplanted uterus will enable adequate delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the unborn fetus and whether the drugs used to prevent rejection are safe for the pregnancy. Only time will tell.