For most women, getting pregnant is an opportunity of a lifetime. However, not every woman is able to achieve this entitlement due to various biological factors. Some of the factors that may hamper pregnancy may include repeated miscarriages, failure of embryo impartment in the womb, hysterectomy or a pelvic disorder, impaired uterus, a dangerous heart condition, high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, or multiple failed IVF treatments, that might risk the health of a woman. Nevertheless, with the latest medical advancements, not all hope is lost; a woman might not be able to conceive but may be able to become a mother through surrogacy. Dr. Manjiri Mehta, Consultant Gynaecologist at Hiranandani Hospital has shared everything you may want to know about surrogacy. Read along to know:
What is Surrogacy?
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It is a well-known and tested infertility treatment where a woman agrees to carry a pregnancy for another, who will become the newborn's parents post birth. It is a method of assisted reproduction where embryos are created in the lab and are transferred into the uterus of the surrogate. There are two types - Gestational Surrogacy and Traditional Surrogacy.
Gestational Surrogacy: Here the sperm is taken from the intended father and eggs from the mother, and the embryo is created through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) which is then transferred into the surrogate for further growth. When the baby is born, he/she inherits the traits from the parents and does not have any traits from the surrogate mother.
Traditional Surrogacy: In this surrogacy, the surrogate is impregnated naturally or artificially where the father’s sperm is used. Here, the child has traits of the father and the surrogate mother.
Breastfeeding A Surrogate Baby
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Many mothers taking help of a surrogate are anxious and excited to know that they can too breastfeed the baby, though they have not carried the pregnancy. This is possible through induced lactation whereby they get to enjoy the process of breastfeeding and derive the benefits too. This process starts much before the baby is born, and the medications are given in a stepwise manner. First, oral contraceptives pills are given for some duration, then they are stopped after which, nutritional supplements and drugs that induce lactation are started (Domperidone-a drug used for treating vomiting also helps in lactation). This is combined with pumping of milk daily, and gradually increasing the frequency and duration, till milk production increases.
The last stage is the actual process of nursing with supplements and Supplemental Nursing System (SNS). Here the supplemental milk, either formula milk or that given by the surrogate is put in a container with tubes and is taped to the chest. In this manner when the baby is fed, along with the breast milk there is enough to fill the baby’s tummy and take care of the nutrition. Don't Miss Reading How To Keep Your Child Safe At Home?
Breastfeeding a surrogate baby is not an easy task and it requires a lot of efforts and perseverance. Also, the mother has to keep in mind that only her breast milk may not be enough for the baby. There are certain pros and cons related to this:
- Health benefits for the baby by providing immunity.
- Bonding between mother and the baby.
- Convenience as compared to a bottle or formula feeding.
- Breastfeeding requires significant time and energy, as babies feed up to 10-12 times in a day.
- It can take time to get the hang of breastfeeding, especially in case of intending mother’s as they also have to get used to Supplemental Nursing System (SNS).
- Breastfeeding in case of surrogate pregnancy may not be very convenient and may become cumbersome.
- The decision of breast feeding or not, is individual and should be taken considering all the merits and demerits of individual case.
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