If you’re considering becoming a surrogate, you are probably asking, “What is the procedure for surrogacy?”
Any medical procedure can seem complicated and even a little intimidating, and the surrogacy procedure can seem even more so.
However, the surrogacy medical process is nothing to be afraid of, especially when you work with a trusted medical professional to complete the necessary steps. To help you get a good start on understanding the surrogacy medical process, this article describes each of the main steps you’ll go through.
Keep reading to learn more about the surrogate pregnancy process. You can also contact a surrogacy professional to get more free information.
7 Steps of the Surrogacy Medical Process
To help give you a better understanding of the surrogacy medical process, we’ve outlined the seven main steps below:
Step 1: Surrogate Medical Screening
Before any woman can begin the surrogacy medical process, her surrogacy professional must make sure she is physically ready for the challenges of surrogacy.
Some of this is done during a woman’s initial application to become a surrogate, while the rest is completed after she has been matched with intended parents.
So, what exactly does this screening process involve?
- Pap smear and physical
- Bloodwork to check for infectious diseases and conditions that could endanger your ability to be a surrogate
- Hysteroscopy, which is an examination of your uterus and fallopian tubes with a thin scope inserted through the cervix
- Saline sonogram, through which your uterus is flushed to check for fibroids or any other obstructions that would interfere with your pregnancy
- And more
Each medical professional has different standards for prospective surrogates, so what screening steps you have to take will depend on their particular program. You will also have to complete social or psychological screenings before you can begin.
Step 2: Mock Cycle
Before the embryo transfer can take place, your medical professional will need to prepare your body for the surrogacy medical process. This usually occurs through a mock cycle, where you will receive the same medications as those you will take for the surrogate embryo transfer process.
During this, your reproductive endocrinologist will monitor your hormone levels during your cycle to ensure that you are responding appropriately to your medication. You will likely need to undergo bloodwork and ultrasounds to check the lining in your uterus.
Your professional may also do a trial transfer, so the doctor can prepare for inserting the catheter to your body’s specifications during the actual transfer.
Step 3: Preparation for Surrogate Embryo Transfer
After your professional has completed your mock cycle, they will know more about your body’s needs. This is important so they can proceed with a transfer process that has the highest chance of succeeding.
If the intended parents are using frozen embryos, the embryos will usually be transferred five days after your mid-cycle. If the intended parents are using fresh embryos, your cycle will need to be synced with that of the intended mother or the egg donor.
You may need to take birth control pills and Lupron injections to shut down your hormone production and give your doctors more control over you cycle. Through this, doctors can ensure your uterus is ready at the exact time the embryos are ready for transfer.
At the same time that you are taking fertility medications for a fresh embryo transfer, the egg donor or intended mother will also take fertility medications to stimulate her production of eggs. Healthy, viable eggs will then be retrieved to create embryos for the IVF surrogacy procedure.
After screening any viable embryos, the fertility clinic will determine which are the healthiest and when the best time for surrogate embryo transfer is.
Step 4. Complete the Surrogate Embryo Transfer
Once the reproductive endocrinologist determines that you and the intended parents’ embryos are ready for transfer and it has been five days past your mid-cycle, your reproductive endocrinologist will transfer the agreed-upon number of embryos to your uterus. For this procedure, a thin, flexible catheter will be inserted through your cervix, through which a syringe will place the embryos directly in your uterus.
At this point, you will have stopped taking Lupron injections and started taking progesterone to maintain an appropriate level of hormones for a successful implantation and a stable pregnancy. Progesterone may be administered orally or through intramuscular injections.
You will also be taking estrogen replacements at this time, and will generally continue taking these medications until the twelfth week of pregnancy.
It’s also likely that you will be required to rest for a few hours at the clinic after transfer and a few days after you leave to increase the chances of a successful implantation.
Step 5: Confirmation of Pregnancy
About nine days after the embryos have been transferred, you will return to the intended parents’ fertility clinic to test for your pregnancy through a HCG screening. This test measures your pregnancy hormone levels, and any count over 50 will indicate a positive, stable pregnancy.
You will also undergo another HCG test about two days later to ensure that your pregnancy hormones are increasing, as they should double every two days. While you may have taken at-home pregnancy tests before this to measure your HCG levels on your own, these clinic tests will officially confirm your pregnancy.
If you are not pregnant after your first surrogate embryo transfer, remember that it’s normal to require another embryo transfer process if the first doesn’t succeed. The number of surrogacy embryo transfers you complete will be determined early on in your surrogacy contract.
Step 6: Six-Week Ultrasound
If your pregnancy is confirmed at the clinic, you will follow up with an ultrasound six weeks later to check for a heartbeat. Once a heartbeat is heard, you can start receiving your surrogate compensation.
Depending on your fertility clinic and the agreement with the intended parents, you may need to complete another ultrasound at 12 weeks.
Step 7: Prenatal Care & Delivery
Like any other pregnancy, you will need to receive appropriate prenatal care for a surrogacy pregnancy, which can be completed by your local, trusted OBGYN. Depending on the intended parents’ location, they may attend these appointments with you or you may send them updates after each appointment.
Once your pregnancy is complete, you will give birth with the intended parents present and complete your surrogacy medical process.
Talk With a Surrogacy Professional Today
Although the steps involved in the surrogacy medical process can sometimes be challenging, remember they are important and ensure that your safety and that of the baby’s is protected throughout.
Your surrogacy professional will fully explain what your personal surrogacy treatment will look like, based on your surrogacy goals and preferences, before you commit to becoming a surrogate. They are there to support you to make sure that your expectations for surrogacy and the surrogacy procedure are met.
To learn more about the surrogacy medical process, contact a surrogacy professional today.