Third-party parenting involves the use of eggs, sperm, or embryos that are donated from a third person for the use of an infertile couple. Donors may be anonymous or they may be a friend or relative of the couple.
It can also involve a surrogate or gestational carrier, who can carry the pregnancy if a woman cannot.
Third-party parenting can be a complicated process. Donors, surrogates, and gestational carriers must be thoroughly screened medically and psychologically before any procedures begins. Couples need to make important decisions about their relationship with the third party and come to terms with the emotional aspects of having another person involved with their family planning. Finally, the legal implications of third party parenting must be carefully considered and advice from an experienced attorney is highly recommended.
Using donor eggs is an option for women who have experienced ovarian failure or do not have their own oocytes available. However, they can still carry a pregnancy.
Infertile couples may obtain donor embryos from other couples who have undergone in vitro fertilization (IVF) and no longer need the embryos.
For couples who cannot use the male partner’s sperm, using donor sperm can be an option. In most cases, the donor is anonymous, but the couple may also ask a friend or relative to donate sperm.
Surrogacy is an option for couples in which the woman cannot carry a baby to term. Instead, another woman undergoes the pregnancy.