Selective Reduction

Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists

2/10/17

Success stories of IVF and babies born by gestational surrogates can be inspiring. Anyone struggling through the process should be encouraged by positive tales of families who've gone through it. When planning for a successful pregnancy, most intended parents want to focus on the health and well-being of their child or children. As common as the acronym IVF has become, it is still a medical procedure with risks attached. It is not a guarantee. Based on the medical histories of all involved parties, the doctor may recommend multiple embryos be transferred to the gestational surrogate's uterus at one time. This may increase the chances for implantation and pregnancy, as the gestational surrogate may end up pregnant with multiples. A multi-fetal pregnancy can be exciting, but can also invoke concerns. At such times, IPs, their gestational surrogate, and the doctor may have the discussion to consider selective reduction.

What is Selective Reduction?

Selective reduction is a medical procedure that reduces the number of fetuses in the uterus during a multi-fetal pregnancy. An injection of potassium chloride into the fetus ends the growth and development, and eventually results in the woman's body absorbing the matter. There is no trace of the fetus once it has been terminated. Selective reduction is most likely to occur between weeks nine and twelve of the pregnancy.

Medical Reasons

In some instances, selective reduction is recommended for medical reasons. These reasons may include eliminating a fetus or fetuses determined to have health risks that may reduce their chance for survival. Carrying three or more babies at once can also pose health risks to the carrier. Selective reduction may allow the remaining fetus or fetuses a better chance to develop to term inside the uterus. The longer the baby or babies can develop in the uterus, the greater their chances are for being born healthy. 

Personal Reasons

While parenting is truly the greatest and most rewarding life choice, it is not easy! Challenges are continually present, and all obstacles become the projects for parents to overcome and make better. Intended parents who want desperately to grow their family and are willing to commit to the ultimate obligation may know they only can have one or two children. Perhaps finances drive their decision, or maybe it's their lifestyle. Whatever the reason, if the intended parents believe selective reduction is in their best interest, then it is an option to explore.

Although the thought of eliminating a part of what you've worked so hard to create may sound unimaginable to some intended parents and their surrogates, it might be necessary. All the time, energy, and money spent throughout the process can make it hard to believe anyone would ever consider a reduction, but sometimes they do. Make the decision you believe will be best for your family. Discuss all your options with your doctor and do your own research to weigh the pros and cons. While the surrogacy contract may already stipulate when and why selective reduction would be considered, your feelings might change once the decision needs to be made.

*Please note: This is a general synopsis. You should speak with your healthcare provider for more information and details about your individual process. 

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