What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Surrogacy and IVF?
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What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Surrogacy and IVF?

In the world of fertility treatments and intervention, two of the most successful ways are in vitro fertilization and surrogacy. These two methods are used to treat infertility in couples and help them achieve their desire to have children. The two treatments have different methods with the same goal: to provide a child for a couple who have been trying and failing to get one. In this article, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of surrogacy and IVF.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Surrogacy and IVF?
Picture courtesy: Freepik

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

This is currently one of the most successful ways of assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments that is done to address infertility in couples. The treatment involves many steps. The woman first undergoes tests to see if she can benefit from the treatment. If she is fit, she then meets the IVF doctor who gives her medication that will help in the stimulation of multiple follicles in her ovaries. The follicles are monitored, and just before ovulation, they are harvested in a minor procedure. 

The eggs are then extracted from the follicles and either stored or mixed with sperm to create an embryo. The embryos are then grown in the lab for some days, and some viability tests are carried out before they are transferred to the uterus of the woman. The woman then carries the pregnancy to term and delivers the baby. That is the ideal sequence of an IVF treatment, but a lot of things can happen in the steps to make the process fail.

What are the advantages of IVF?

The biggest advantage of IVF is of course a successful pregnancy and the birth of a healthy baby. Unfortunately, this is not a guarantee, and the outcome usually is not the same for everyone carrying out the process. Another advantage of IVF is that it is a good way to bypass issues with a woman’s fallopian tubes that are causing her infertility. The procedure was developed for this reason, so that women with tubal damages or blockages could still bear children. 

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Surrogacy and IVF?
Picture courtesy: Freepik

The confirmation of fertilization is also an advantage of having an IVF treatment. This helps in pinpointing exactly where the issue is stemming from. In an instance where the sperm and the egg do not interact in IVF, it is called a ‘failed fertilization’. While bad, it is not devastating as it can provide answers on why the couple have not been having success in achieving pregnancy naturally in the past. In this case, the next step would be an intracytoplasmic sperm injection, where the sperm is injected directly into the egg. IVF also allows the embryo to be tested for some abnormalities like Down’s syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis before being transferred into the uterus.

Disadvantages of IVF 

The main disadvantage of this treatment is that it is not guaranteed. Less than 50 per cent of all couples starting an IVF cycle will achieve a pregnancy. Of those that do get pregnant, not all the pregnancies will result in a baby. Another disadvantage of IVF is since the process involves an operative procedure, the associated risks of infection, anaesthetic risks and haemorrhage exist. The stimulation of the ovary using medication also predisposes it to the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. While many couples do not consider multiple pregnancies a risk, the complications that can occur in multiple pregnancies and the frequency with which they can occur make it a disadvantage. IVF is also expensive. Having access to Medicare entitlements can lead to the treatment being subsidized, but there are still out-of-pocket expenses that can come with the treatment, making it quite expensive.


Surrogacy is a fertility treatment where a third party agrees to carry a pregnancy for a couple that cannot carry a pregnancy successfully. The third party is called a surrogate while the couple is referred to as the intended parents. Surrogacy is usually the last option that exists for the couple to have a child with a biological relationship with them. There are two forms of surrogacy, the commercial and the traditional forms. In the commercial form, the process happens like in IVF, the only difference being that the embryo is transferred to the uterus of the surrogate who then carries the baby to term. In the traditional form, the woman is inseminated with the sperm from the intended father. She then gets pregnant and carries the baby to term and delivers.

Advantages of surrogacy 

The first major advantage is that the couple will have a child that is genetically related to them. The surrogate having previously experienced pregnancy just means the process would be easier. Another advantage is that because only the highest quality embryo was chosen, the baby will be in good health. While surrogacy can be expensive, it is also straightforward and can sometimes be cheaper than infertility treatments. Infertility treatments can take many years and may not be successful. Loss of fertility can also happen during the duration of the treatment. Thus surrogacy can save valuable time and money. Surrogacy can also lead to the strengthening of the family as they navigate pregnancy together with the surrogate, achieving success and happiness in the end.

Disadvantages of surrogacy

Surrogacy is not available to everyone. In some countries, the treatment is illegal. In others, it is legal but very expensive without a guaranteed result. Meanwhile, in some other countries, commercial surrogacy is not legal. This does not mean that it will be less expensive. However, the absence of a childbearing fee is more than offset by the cost of medical and legal services. 

The second disadvantage is that not all reproductive centres offer guaranteed programs. This means that the couple will have a limited number of embryo transfer attempts. This usually means in the case of an unsuccessful or interrupted pregnancy, the process is started afresh, and the couple has to pay all over again. It is costly both financially and psychologically. The confusing legislation around surrogacy is also a disadvantage. In most countries, despite the signing of an agreement between a woman carrying a child and his biological parents, if there is a dispute, the court will side with the surrogate.

The information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It is not intended to replace professional medical consultation, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any decisions regarding your health. Read more

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