Exploring surrogates and blood type
As any parent can tell you, understanding the biological side of pregnancy takes time, research and multiple discussions with a medical professional. Even then, for every question answered, there is another question that pops up during those nine months. For parents using surrogacy, there may be even more questions, including ones about surrogates and blood type.
DNA and the surrogate mother
Basically, the surrogate mother is carrying a baby with someone else’s DNA, not hers. She does not contribute genetic material to the creation of the embryo. However, there is a possibility that a tiny bit of the surrogate’s DNA will transfer during gestation. However, it is such a tiny amount that it has no significance. A baby’s DNA comes from his or her biological parents. Half comes from the mother, and half from the father. As a result, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about surrogates and blood type.
Blood type and choosing an egg donor
If you are choosing our IVF/egg donation program, should you be concerned regarding the blood type? There are 3 blood types: A, B, and O, and some types are rarer than others. When choosing an egg donor, you are replacing the intended mother’s biology with the egg donor’s. Many parents often choose a donor based upon similar physical characteristics as the intended mother. These may include hair and eye color, height, ethnicity, educational background and personality.
Medically, however, differing ABO blood types between the surrogate and your child is not a factor. There is little potential risk of medical conditions as a result. The antibodies to the ABO blood types are large and unable to cross the placenta between the surrogate and the child. However, there is a factor that can cause issues but is easily addressed. That is the Rh factor.
In traditional pregnancies, doctors use many tests to check the mother’s health and her baby. On the first prenatal visit, a blood draw determines the pregnant mother’s Rh factor. It will either be Rh positive or Rh negative. Rh positive means the mother has the Rh factor, an antigen carried by red blood cells. Rh negative means she does not. The baby can inherit the Rh factor from the biological father or mother.
Around 85% of the Caucasian population is Rh positive. The number for Asians, African Americans, and Native Americans is even higher. That leaves between 10% to 15% of humans who are Rh negative. The concern is that if a Rh negative woman is carrying an Rh positive baby, the baby’s blood cells can enter the mother’s circulatory system. Her immune system may see this as a foreign substance and attacks the baby. This could cause the baby to develop a type of anemia called rhesus disease.
Women go through a significant health screening and a battery of tests before being considered as a potential surrogate. If the surrogate is Rh negative, and the biological parents are positive, she will receive a shot of RhoGAM at 28 and 34 weeks, and again after the birth. The RhoGAM vaccination is given to prevent sensitization to the Rh factor, which protects the baby.
It’s your baby – Surrogates and blood type
Surrogacy is an alternative, yet loving way to create a family. It’s a very personal process, and requires intended parents and the surrogate to share their very intimate and private information regarding medical history, psychological health, financial information, and more, with people they don’t know. But the medical and personal screenings are essential for a successful surrogacy, and a healthy new baby—your baby. The surrogate mother has chosen to help you bring your child into the world, as you have entrusted her to care for your little boy or girl for those nine months until the birth.
The Center for Surrogate Parenting team helps facilitate and guide the process, but you’re the parents, regardless of the way the conception occurred or what biological details may differ from yours. If you’re just beginning your journey, or if you’re considering surrogacy for the first time, please feel free to ask questions. We’re here to answer them and provide the support you need to make decisions along the way.