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REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES | New York Times Magazine Examines Infertility, Surrogacy

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES | New York Times Magazine Examines Infertility, Surrogacy
[Dec. 1, 2008]

The New York Times Magazine on Sunday examined the experiences of the author, a New York Times writer, who had mutiple miscariages and ultimately had a child through gestational surrogacy.

About 7.3 million people in the U.S. are affected by infertility, according to the advocacy group Resolve. About one-third of infertility cases are attributed to the female partner, and one-third to the male partner, while the other one-third are caused by a combination of factors or cannot be explained, Times Magazine reports.

According to the Times Magazine, in vitro fertlization became a standard fertility treatment about 15 years ago. Prior to that, traditional surrogacy, in which a fetus is fertilized with the pregnant woman's egg and donor sperm or sperm from the intended father, was the only available treatment for couples unable to become pregnant who wanted to be biologically related to the child. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not genetically related to the fetus and a donor egg or the intended mother's egg is used along with sperm from a donor or the intended father.

Although national statistics on surrogacy are not available, surrogacy agencies have said that gestational surrogacies have become more common in recent years. According to Shirley Zager, director of the Organization of Parents Through Surrogacy, there have been about 28,000 traditional and gestational surrogate births since 1976. Sherrie Smith of the Center for Surrogate Parenting said that about 226 of the 1,355 infants born through the group's program since 1980 were created through traditional surrogacy, while the rest were created through gestational surrogacy. According to Times Magazine, surrogacy, which costs between $30,000 and $60,000, is largely unregulated and laws differ among states (Kuczynski, New York Times Magazine, 11/30).