Forms of surrogacy
There are two forms of surrogacy. In the first, the surrogate mother’s own egg cell is used to conceive the child. In the other form, there is no genetic relationship between the surrogate mother and the child.
Two ways to become a surrogate mother
Naturally or by artificial inseminationThe surrogate mother can become pregnant naturally or by artificial insemination. The fertilised egg is her own. This is known in the Netherlands as ‘low-tech surrogacy’. The surrogate mother is the child’s genetic mother.
By implanting an embryoAn embryo produced by IVF is implanted in the surrogate mother’s womb. The egg cell is not her own. This procedure is known in the Netherlands as ‘high-tech surrogacy’. The surrogate mother is not the child’s genetic mother.
Position statement by medical professionals
Doctors are involved in every ‘high-tech surrogacy’ procedure carried out in the Netherlands. In 2016 the Dutch Association for Obstetrics & Gynaecology issued a position statement on surrogacy (in Dutch). The indications for surrogacy have been expanded. In the past, this option was only open to women with functioning ovaries but no uterus.
Now, surrogacy is also available to intended mothers with a serious health problem, for whom pregnancy would be potentially life-threatening or otherwise inadvisable. Gay men who want to have a child are also eligible. In view of the medical risks and success-rate statistics, the age limit is 43 years for egg donors and 45 years for surrogate mothers.