To most, gestational surrogacy equates to pregnancy. And while this is true, there is an entirely separate process leading up to a surrogate pregnancy that often lends to a multitude of questions.
The first thing I want all potential surrogates to understand is that you are not going to be related to the baby your body is growing. Here at The Surrogacy Source, we only facilitate gestational surrogacy. This is where your body is literally the oven for the Intended Parents bun (embryos created with their own egg/sperm, or with donor egg/sperm).
Preparing for Gestational Surrogacy is quite medical, and will require surrogates to undergo several pokes, prods and a fair amount of scrutiny. Of special note is that both the surrogate and her partner are required to complete infectious disease testing on at least two separate occasions leading up to the embryo transfer.
Alongside all the blood draws and ultrasounds, surrogates are required to prepare their bodies for embryo transfer with near-daily injections of a variety of hormones over the course of about 3-4 weeks. To ensure the hormones are being absorbed by the body, and working as the physician expects, surrogates will complete a few follow up blood draws and ultrasounds in the weeks leading up to embryo transfer.
When it’s go time, the Intended Parents embryo is transferred into the waiting “oven” by way of an ultrasound guided catheter. Plain and simple, a very small catheter will be inserted into the surrogate’s uterus through her cervix, and everyone (hopefully including the Intended Parents) will be able to watch the entire process occur on an ultrasound screen. While many believe that the embryo transfer signifies the end of the injections, I assure you this is not accurate. One should expect the injections to continue for a minimum of another two weeks, though we hope longer (a positive pregnancy test means the continuation of the medications for another few weeks).
Roughly 10 days after the transfer occurs, surrogates will complete a quick blood draw to check their HcG (or pregnancy hormone) levels, typically with a repeat blood draw completed 2 days later.
Should the unfortunate occur, and the embryo transfer does not lead to a pregnancy, medications are stopped and a period/menstrual cycle should be expected shortly thereafter. If additional embryos are available, and all parties (physician included) approve proceeding forward again, then the process shall be repeat with the beginning of medications again.
At Fertility Source Companies, our case managers have the knowledge and experience to guide our gestational surrogates and Intended Parents through the process step-by-step. This is a wonderful attribute of the surrogacy process when working with an agency.
This article was composed by Arika Avedano-Tucker, Fertility Source Companies Senior Case Manager-Northwest Region.