For women who have healthy ova but cannot sustain a pregnancy to term, surrogate parenting is an option. The couple’s sperm and ovum are combined, and the zygote is implanted in another woman, called a gestational carrier. One gestational carrier relates her experiences:
It’s wonderful being a carrier. It’s not easy, but it’s wonderful. You feel all the emotions, it’s like a roller coaster. You try to help the parents cope; but, at the same time, you’re trying to deal with your own emotions. I feel very proud when I see the little one I carried—I love watching him with his parents; it’s so overwhelming sometimes. They gave him life; I sustained that life and gave birth to him. It’s wonderful. A very good high; I could burst with pride sometimes just watching him. (Author’s files)
Women who can neither sustain a pregnancy nor produce their own ova may arrange to have another woman’s ova fertilized by the father’s sperm. The woman who carries the fetus is called a surrogate mother. At birth, the child is given to the noncarrying woman and her partner.