The medical process in surrogacy can be different for everyone — but there are usually a few things that every process has in common. It can be a scary, confusing time for everyone involved. We believe it’s crucial for the parents and the surrogate to have all the relevant information they need before beginning the process.
If you’re considering embarking on the surrogacy journey, this guide will take you inside the medical process so that you know what to expect each step of the way.
Medical Process in Surrogacy Overview
The surrogacy process can be a little overwhelming at first. Deciding to have children through surrogacy is a big step for both the parents and the surrogate. Luckily, the medical process is designed to make the journey as safe, transparent, and seamless as possible.
In both geostationary surrogacy, using in vitro fertilisation, or IVF, and traditional surrogacy, your doctors should make sure that the parents and the surrogate are completely involved in all decision making, medical tests, and updates about the progress of the pregnancy.
The Screening Process
The first step in the surrogacy medical process for parents is screening. It’s crucial that you and your partner find a surrogate who is well suited physically and emotionally to carry your baby.
Your surrogate will need to undergo a medical screening process that includes a standard physical examination, blood testing, and an ultrasound to examine the health of the uterus. This screening will ensure that the surrogate can provide a healthy home for the baby while it grows in the uterus.
The screening should also include a psychological and social examination to ensure that the surrogate’s mental health is stable prior to beginning the pregnancy. Being a surrogate can present a range of psychological pressures, so it’s important to examine the surrogate’s mental state prior to beginning the process.
This screening process is crucial for both the parents and the surrogate. For the parents, it will reassure them that their surrogate is a suitable choice. For the surrogate, it will reassure them that physical or psychological complications are unlikely to occur.
In gestational surrogacy, egg donation is a crucial step, as the surrogate’s eggs aren’t used. Syncing cycles is usually part of this process. It simply means that the donor and the surrogate’s menstrual cycles are synced up to maximize the chances of success.
This process makes pregnancy more likely, as the donated egg can be placed in the surrogate without delays. Synchronization can be done using fertility drugs. Both the donor and the surrogate should start carefully tracking their cycles as soon as possible to ensure the synchronization is as close as possible.
Surrogacy Medical Process For Parents
So, what can parents expect when it comes to a surrogate pregnancy?
Prior to egg retrieval, your doctor will want to put you on certain medications to improve the chances of success.
Egg donor medications include:
- Birth control pills – to stabilise hormones and menstrual cycle for timing purposes.
- Corticosteroids – to suppress hormones in the case of poly cystic ovaries
- Follicle stimulating hormone – to help stimulate eggs that will be donated
- A shot of Human chorionic gonadotropin – to fully mature egg prior to retrieval
- Antibiotics – to reduce the risk of infection during retrieval
All of these medications come at specific times in the run up to egg retrieval. Your doctor will be able to talk you through the details of what medications you can expect and when.
Egg Retrieval and Egg Freezing
In gestational surrogacy, the parent may donate an egg to be implanted in the surrogate. This means that an egg will need to be retrieved from the donor and frozen prior to fertilisation and implantation.
Egg retrieval can be a little intimidating for some. After an ultrasound determines that your eggs are ready for retrieval, the process can begin. You’ll get an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin to finalize the growth of your eggs.
You’ll likely be under sedation for the retrieval procedure, so it shouldn’t be painful. The doctor will use a needle attached to an internal ultrasound probe to gentle suction eggs and the surrounding fluid from within the egg follicles.
Once the egg has been retrieved and tested, a single sperm is injected into the egg, or the egg is mixed with sperm in a petri dish.
Being A Part Of The Egg Transfer
Parents often want to be present for the egg transfer. Depending on your arrangement with your surrogate and doctor, this can be an exciting moment to share as your journey to parenthood really begins.
Medical Process In Surrogacy
Going Through Mock Cycle
In most gestational surrogacies, the surrogate will go through one mock cycle prior to the embryo transfer. During this mock cycle, the surrogate will receive the same medication that will be used in the real transfer. This will give your doctor a chance to ensure that the surrogate’s uterine lining responds well.
For the surrogate, surrogacy starting medications can include:
- Birth control pills
- Lupron – to prevent your natural hormones that control your cycle to prevent premature ovulation. Used to synchronize the cycles.
- Progesterone – taken by the surrogate in the days prior to the embryo transfer to help maintain a stable pregnancy.
- Aspirin – can assist with cycle stimulation and implantation rates in the surrogate.
- Doxycycline – to treat potential bacterial infections in the pelvis.
- Estrogen – to thicken the uterine lining to help coordinate cycles.
- MedFolio – a steroid to control the autoimmune system and encourage embryo implantation.
Setting Up Surrogacy Calendar
Your doctor will go through a surrogacy calendar to ensure that you and your donor’s cycles match up and that the egg transfer can take place at the perfect time. The calendar will include dates and times for each appointment and new course of medication.
If you’re using a donor’s eggs, these eggs will need to be implanted in your uterus. This process usually occurs one to five days after the egg is retrieved.
During the implantation process, you will probably be given a mild sedative, so the procedure should be totally painless. You may experience mild cramping. The doctor will use a long, thin tube called a catheter to insert the embryo or embryos into your uterus.
Testing For Pregnancy and Beginning Prenatal Care
After your eggs or your donor’s eggs have been fertilized and implanted, the rest of the process will be like any pregnancy. The next step will be to test for pregnancy and begin your course of prenatal care.
Joy Of Life is Here to Help
Here at Joy of Life, we are dedicated to making your surrogacy journey as seamless and worry-free as possible. We understand the process inside and out, so you and your family can rest easy. Find out more about how we can help you on the journey to parenthood today.