Congratulations! You have made a life changing decision to become a surrogate. Ask any of the amazing women who have taken this journey, and you will find that they would describe it as an incredibly fulfilling experience, and one that a lot of them have chosen to do more than once.Here are some helpful tips on getting the most out of your surrogacy experience:
Matching/Screening: Once you are matched with Intended Parents who you would like to take this journey with, you will have a medical screening at the fertility clinic. Surrogacy agencies and fertility doctors are looking for healthy surrogates who do not drink or smoke and have not had any complications with past pregnancies or deliveries. Take care of your body just as you would if you were planning to conceive your own child. This will be the new home for the child these parents have been dreaming about!
Legal Contract: Once you have been thoroughly screened and approved by the agency and clinic, you will begin the legal contract between you and your Intended Parents. This process can seem a bit slow going at times, but try to be patient. This is a very important step in the surrogacy process and ensures that both parties are legally protected and have a thorough understanding of what to expect in just about every scenario possible during the surrogacy arrangement. You will be represented by your own attorney and it’s important to make sure you take the time to review your contract carefully before signing.
Embryo Transfer/Medications: Once the legal contract is complete, you will receive a calendar based on your cycle and the cycle of the donor or the Intended Mother. This calendar will be your guide from the beginning of you medications until your embryo transfer. Depending on the clinic, you will use patches, suppositories or injectable medications. It is very important to follow the medication instructions exactly and make sure you contact your case manager and the clinic if you have any problems administering the medications. It is also your responsibility to let the clinic know if you run low on any of your medications so they can ensure you receive your refill(s) in a timely manner. If the cycle is using fresh embryos, the embryo transfer will usually take place anywhere from three to five days after the egg retrieval. If frozen embryos are being used, the process will vary slightly. The embryo transfer itself is painless and a very exciting time for both the surrogate and the Intended Parents. Expect to be on strict bed rest for anywhere between 48 and 72 hours following the transfer. It is important to have lots of support from friends and family throughout the process, but especially during this time.
The Pregnancy: Hopefully the transfer was successful and you are pregnant! You will remain under the care of the fertility doctor until about 10 weeks gestation, then you will be released to your obstetrician. Hopefully by this point you have developed a bond and a friendship with your Intended Parents and they are sharing this joy with you. Involve them in the pregnancy as much as you can. Try to make time to meet with them in person if they are local, and use Skype and send photos if they are distant or international. Always remember having a child of their own is something they have wanted for years, and you are helping to make their dreams come true! Surrogates are amazing, selfless and compassionate people and this would never be possible without you!
Article composed by April Alvarado, Fertility Source Companies Director of Operations – Northwest Region