Third party reproduction

The use of another person’s gametes to have your baby is referred to as third party reproduction. As more and more people face infertility due to poor gamete quality or quantity, it is becoming increasingly common to use donor eggs or sperm for pregnancy. In cases where the gametes of both partners are inadequate, couples may also choose to adopt an embryo.

Another form of third-party reproduction is surrogacy, in which the gametes may come from one or both of the intending parents but the pregnancy is carried by another woman. This is usually done if the female partner has some medical issues that make carrying a baby in her womb medically risky or just impossible.

Third-party reproduction can be a socially, legally complex arrangement, and different countries have different rules for these treatments.

Commercial surrogacy is allowed in only a few countries, but many places will allow it if done for altruistic reasons. Sometimes people also have their friends and relatives carry a pregnancy for them.

The rules for gamete donation are surprisingly less complex. However, this is an area that needs global understanding and agreement as children born with donor gametes have a genetic connection to someone who is not family to them.

In some countries, these children, on reaching the age of 18, are allowed to get in touch with their genetic mother or father, if they choose to. But the arrangement is not so transparent in all places. Many countries only allow anonymous gamete donation, which means the parents or the donor never meet or find out about each other. This is usually done to avoid any legal complexities, but it may result in an identity crisis for the child who carries the genetic traits of a stranger without any knowledge of it.