Reach out to a surrogate professional to learn more about the surrogacy medical process and surrogacy medications that will be best for you.
Many times, when women are considering becoming surrogates, they’re excited for the opportunity to change someone else’s life.
However, it’s completely normal for women considering surrogacy to be wary of the surrogacy medications involved, especially if they have heard conflicting information in their personal research. Medication of any kind can have a huge impact on your body, and it’s natural to be cautious of the effects of the specific medicine required to be a surrogate.
Like with any other aspect of surrogacy, it’s important that you fully understand the medical process and all of the medications involved before you commit yourself to this life-changing process.
Keep reading this article for all the information you need to know about gestational surrogacy medications.
Do I Need to Take Surrogacy Medications?
In a natural pregnancy, the woman’s body takes care of all the hormones needed to prepare the uterus for conception, maintain the pregnancy, and help the embryo grow and develop. However, a surrogate pregnancy is not a natural pregnancy, so those hormones must be replicated with particular surrogacy medications.
Throughout your surrogacy medical process, you may be prescribed a variety of gestational surrogacy medications to coordinate and control your cycle. Any surrogacy medications you are prescribed will help ensure your uterus is as prepared as possible for the embryo transfer so that a successful implantation is more likely to occur.
As you are undergoing medical screening to become a surrogate, your fertility specialist will work with you to develop an individualized medication plan based on your body and the circumstances of your surrogacy.
Your doctor will be with you every step of the way to make sure you are comfortable and fully understand the surrogacy medications you are taking and any side effects that may arise. Any questions you have about your medical instructions should always be directed to your doctor or your pharmacist.
List of Common Surrogacy Medications
Each surrogacy is unique, which means that the specific medication you may need to prepare for and maintain a healthy pregnancy will be unique to you.
That said, there are a few common surrogacy medications you may need to take:
Doxycycline is an antibiotic used to fight bacteria, usually taken as an oral tablet. You have likely taken it before if you have experienced any infections or your general physician wanted to protect you from potential infections.
Often, the medication is just a way for doctors to ensure you are healthy and ready for a surrogacy cycle. It could also work to ensure your body accepts an implanted embryo.
Early in your cycle, you may be prescribed this medicine to fight any low-grade pelvic infections that you have. For most women, doxycycline does not cause any side effects.
Lupron is an important medication for any woman preparing for an embryo transfer, as it helps to inhibit and moderate the hormones associated with your natural menstrual cycle. Doctors prescribe this medication to help sync your cycle with that of the intended mother or egg donor, as it temporarily halts your ovaries from premature ovulation.
Typically, you start taking Lupron about 14 days after you start birth control, which is another medication used to help control your cycle prior to transfer. You will discontinue Lupron before the egg retrieval is performed on the intended mother or egg donor.
Lupron is the surrogacy medication that many surrogates might be wary of, as it is self-injected with a ½-inch needle. However, remember that your physician will completely explain the process of administering this, and you can enlist someone in your household to help you complete these injections. Most women get used to administering Lupron after the first few shots.
Some possible side effects of Lupron include:
- Hot flashes
Estrogen is an important hormone for the regulation of your menstrual cycle and a healthy pregnancy. Usually, estrogen is produced by the ovaries to thicken the uterine lining and maintain an early pregnancy. In surrogacy, you will take birth control bills to regulate the amount of estrogen in your system and coordinate with the intended mother’s or egg donor’s cycle.
You will take estrogen in combination with Lupron to regulate her cycle and prepare for the embryo transfer process. Usually, a woman continues her estrogen replacements until the 12th week of pregnancy, after which the placenta takes over the natural production of estrogen.
Estrogen may be administered by:
- Patch applied to the skin
Your doctor will work with you to find the appropriate method for your body. Depending on the method you use for your estrogen, you might experience difference symptoms, including:
- Skin redness or irritation
- Fluid retention
- Breast tenderness
- Weight changes
Progesterone, like estrogen, is an important hormone for pregnancy. Once your uterine lining reaches the ideal thickness, you will start taking progesterone replacements to further prepare for a successful embryo transfer, as this hormone signals to the uterus to start producing the necessary nutrients to support an embryo.
Usually, you will take progesterone a few days before your embryo transfer and continue taking it until your 12th week of pregnancy.
Progesterone, like Lupron, is commonly administered through injections. However, progesterone often requires a larger needle and is injected intramuscularly, which means a spouse, partner or nurse will need to help administer the shot.
Side effects of progesterone can include:
- Tenderness of the injection site
- Breast tenderness
- Vaginal discharge
In addition to its effectiveness as a painkiller, aspirin has also been suggested to improve implantation rates and pregnancy in women undergoing IVF.
Aspirin is taken as a pill, and it is generally used during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. You may need to take a low dose to assist with your cycle stimulation.
Side effects of aspirin are usually minor, but could include upset stomach, heartburn or easy bruising.
Tetracycline is an antibiotic, and is usually taken prior to embryo transfer to prevent infection and rejection of the embryo. It’s taken as an oral tablet and can have minor side effects, including nausea and sensitivity to sun.
This low-dose steroid is taken as an oral tablet and, for most women, there are no side effects. Medrol increases the chance of successful embryo implantation by suppressing the autoimmune system.
Unlike your surrogacy medications for the embryo transfer, your prenatal vitamins will usually be prescribed to you and managed by your local OBGYN during your pregnancy. These medications are taken as pills and can cause mild side effects like constipation, diarrhea, and nausea/upset stomach.
Also, these surrogacy medications help ensure that you and the baby are receiving the nutrients you need to stay strong and healthy. You may take these before your transfer, and you will definitely take them during your pregnancy.
Learn More About Surrogate Medications
Because every surrogacy and every surrogate are different, the gestational surrogacy medications you may be required to take during your journey will depend on several factors.
Only your fertility specialist or doctor can give you an accurate explanation of what your surrogacy medication schedule will look like, so it’s important you reach out to them if you are curious about the details of the medical surrogacy process.
To learn more about surrogacy medications and what can best help you, contact a surrogacy professional today.