As a surrogate, you are making a profound impact on a person’s life by carrying a child for someone who otherwise would not be able to have their own children. Because you share no DNA with, and are not genetically related to, the baby you are carrying, a surrogate pregnancy is different from your own pregnancy.
So, how do you get pregnant as a surrogate? And, why do you need to take medicines? First, a surrogate becomes pregnant through In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF, which means fertilization “outside the body.” Your intended parents, assisted by their reproductive endocrinologist, will create embryos in a lab. One embryo will be selected to be transferred to you. Meanwhile, your body will be prepared to receive that embryo, using medications that are most appropriate for you, and then the embryo will be transferred to your uterus. When a pregnancy is confirmed, you will be transferred to your obstetrician for your maternity care.
As part of our All-In Surrogate Care and Compensation Package, ConceiveAbilities provides expert guidance to prepare you for each step that leads to the embryo transfer and beyond. We know this may be your first experience with IVF and, along with support for the legal and insurance aspects of the process, we make you a Life Simplicity Promise™ which includes:
We have 25 years of experience navigating the surrogacy process. You will have a dedicated Match Manager, mental health professionals, and expert surrogate nurses, to guide you throughout your journey.
Once you are medically cleared, your fertility clinic will provide you with a calendar to guide the scheduling of the activities associated with your embryo transfer. We will help you understand, prepare for, and manage that calendar.
Our staff will coordinate with the physicians, nurses, and staff at fertility clinics to ensure your path through the Surrogate IVF process is as smooth as possible.
Professional arrangements, for you and a companion, for your medical visits, if your intended parents’ fertility clinic is out-of-state and requires one or two trips.
And, why do you need to take medicines as part of this process? Dr. Mark Leondires, founder of Illume Fertility, explains the role of medication in the embryo transfer process. While your medications will be selected just for you, here is one example protocol for a surrogate pregnancy.
Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills prevent conception (of a biological child) and regulate menstrual cycle prior to an embryo transfer.
Vary depending on the type of pill. Spotting, nausea, weight gain, mood changes.
Lupron prevents the usual hormone exchange that causes follicle production and ovulation by suppressing pituitary stimulation to the ovaries.
Headache, fatigue, hot flashes.
Low Dose Aspirin
Aspirin assists with cycle stimulation and impending embryonic implantation.
Upset stomach, heartburn, easy bruising, bleeding.
Vivelle Patches (estradiol)
Estrogen is a hormone that helps grow the lining of the uterus, which maintains an early pregnancy. Estradiol can be administered via cream, injection, oral tablet, patch, or suppository.
Skin redness, irritation or rash, nausea, fluid retention.
Estrogen is a hormone that helps grow the lining of the uterus which maintains an early pregnancy. Estradiol can be administered via cream, injection, oral tablet, patch, or suppository.
Bloating, mild nausea, breast tenderness.
Progesterone or Prometrium or Endometrin
Progesterone is the hormone necessary for the preparation of the uterine lining, thickening it to help ensure the implantation of the embryo and the maintenance of early pregnancy. Like estrogen, progesterone can be taken in various forms, such as capsules (Prometrium) and vaginal inserts (Endometrin).
Breast tenderness, injection site tenderness, vaginal discharge, dizziness.
Medrol is a low-dose steroid pill to suppress the autoimmune system from interfering with embryo implantation.
Doxycycline or tetracycline
Doxycycline and tetracycline are pre-cycle antibiotics that prevent any possible low-grade pelvic infection.
None, but varies per individual.
Disclaimer: This is one example of a protocol for surrogacy medications; however, your journey may or may not follow this example, as every surrogate’s body is different and may react differently to specific medications. The IVF clinic working with you and your intended parents, once you are matched, will determine the protocol best for you and a successful pregnancy.
ConceiveAbilities® would like to acknowledge Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinologist, Angeline Beltsos M.D., for her care and consideration in providing this information on surrogate medications. Dr. Beltsos has served as the Medical Director of Fertility Centers of Illinois, SC IVF-River North.
Though every surrogate is different, hormones are generally required, as they help prepare for the IVF process and facilitate a healthy pregnancy.
Some surrogates will experience all of the possible side effects we mentioned above in the example protocol, while others won’t experience any at all. The intensity of these side effects will also vary. If you have any concerns about specific side effects from surrogacy medications, ConceiveAbilities and your IVF clinic will work with you to address them.
The world we live in is full of abbreviations- everything from “LOL” to “EVOO” has its own special acronym. While many of these phrases have become familiar in everyday life, surrogacy has its own unique dictionary of common terms used throughout the journey.
For a surrogate, her surrogacy pregnancy is different from her other pregnancies and will most likely be her first experience with the IVF process. At ConceiveAbilities, our Life Simplicity Promise ensures each surrogate fully understands the IVF process and is comfortable with every step.
Making a baby the traditional way is considered a fairly straightforward process. When it comes to building the modern family, however, the process is a bit more complex. What are the differences between natural and IVF conception? We’ll break it down.