What Type of Surrogacy Is Right For Me?: Part Two
Congratulations on making the decision to start or grow your family with surrogacy! The next step in the process is to determine whether you would like to pursue traditional surrogacy or gestational surrogacy. Although both are methods that can help you grow your family, they have very large differences. Keep reading to learn more about gestational surrogacy!
What is Gestational Surrogacy?
Gestational surrogacy is the most common type of surrogacy that is used today. In gestational surrogacy, the Surrogate is not biologically related to the child that she is carrying. In this type of surrogacy, the embryo is created via in vitro fertilization (IVF) with the egg and sperm from either the Intended Parents or Donors. The embryo is then transferred to the Surrogate.
Who Uses Gestational Surrogacy?
In most cases of gestational surrogacy, at least one of the Intended Parents is genetically related to the child. Due to this fact, several people may consider using gestational surrogacy including:
- Individuals struggling with infertility
- Single parents
- Same-sex couples
- Women unable to safely carry a pregnancy to term
Gestational surrogacy is more common than traditional surrogacy because the Surrogate is not genetically related to the child.
How Does Gestational Surrogacy Work?
The first step in the gestational surrogacy process is to ensure that the Surrogate meets all of the general qualifications. The Surrogate will then apply and once the application has been accepted, a question session will be scheduled with an intake coordinator. After this, the Surrogate will sign HIPAA forms, undergo a background check, insurance review, and psychological consultation. The Surrogate will then be matched with Intended Parents and when both parties are ready, they will meet at the medical screening. The legal contracts will be signed and the gestational Surrogate will begin cycling and then have the embryo transfer completed. Once pregnancy has been confirmed, the Surrogate will continue the journey like any other pregnancy until the child is born.
Gestational Surrogate: Simple Surrogacy Medical Screening
All gestational Surrogates with Simple Surrogacy are carefully screened using the guidelines provided by The American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The screening process will include a variety of testing and other requirements, including:
- Initial consultation with a Reproductive Endocrinologist
- Physical examination
- Gynecological Exam
- Blood count and chemistry
- Blood type and RH
- Drug toxicology
- Screening for rubella, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis
- HIV Antibody
- Hepatitis A, B and C Surface Antigen
- RPR for Syphilis
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
- Cervical Cultures for Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Ureaplasma, and Mycoplasma
- Genetic Testing for Cystic Fibrosis, Tay Sachs Disease, Sickle Cell Disease, and Thalassemia FSH ‐ cycle day 2 or 3
- Group B Strep
- Hysterosalpingogram or Sono‐hysterosalpingogram
- Consultation with the IVF nurse coordinator regarding the treatment protocol, medication and teaching of injections
Once all of the above-listed criteria has been met, the Surrogate will review and sign the consent forms.
Gestational Surrogacy: What is Cycling?
Once all of the contracts have been completed and the testing has finished, the Surrogate and the Egg Donor (or Intended Parent) will need to synchronize their cycles. This is typically achieved with birth control pills. After approximately 14 days on birth control pills, both the Surrogate and the Egg Donor will begin Lupron. Lupron is an under-the-skin injection that helps to shut down the body’s normal hormone production that is used to control the cycle. This helps ensure that the Surrogate’s uterus is ready to receive the embryos at the best time for a successful pregnancy. Once the menstrual cycle starts while on Lupron, the dose will be decreased by half and the Surrogate will begin to receive estrogen replacement (pills, patches, or shots).
The Egg Donor will begin injectable fertility hormones on the third day of her cycle. This will stimulate her ovaries to produce several eggs as opposed to the typical one or two. This new medication will be used for between 7 and 12 days depending on the Egg Donor’s response to the hormones. The Egg Donor will be checked approximately three times a week via ultrasound and blood tests to determine her response to the drugs. When the follicles are the right size, the Egg Donor will be given an HCG shot. This will induce an LH surge which will help mature the eggs. Thirty-six hours later, the egg retrieval will take place. The eggs that are retrieved will be fertilized with sperm (from the Intended Parent or a Donor) and then incubated for between two and five days. The Surrogate will stop the Lupron injections the day before the egg retrieval takes place. The Surrogate will begin a progesterone replacement on the day of retrieval and continue these until the 12th week of pregnancy. Estrogen replacement will also continue until the 12th week of pregnancy.
Once the fertilized embryos are ready, they will be loaded into a special syringe that has a thin, flexible catheter at the end. The catheter will be inserted through the cervix and into the uterine cavity. The embryos will then be injected. Most doctors will only transfer between three and four 2-day old embryos or two 5-day old embryos. All unused embryos will be frozen for a future attempt at life if a pregnancy does not occur during the first attempt. The Surrogate will be asked to stay on bedrest from anywhere between two hours and three days following the embryo transfer.
A Quantitative HCG will be measured 14 days after the egg retrieval to determine the amount of pregnancy hormone. The doctors will be looking to see if the HCG level is above 50. Levels above 200 typically indicate a multiple pregnancy. Two days later, the Surrogate will have a second quantitative HCG test to verify that the pregnancy hormone numbers are rising. If a pregnancy has occurred, an ultrasound will be scheduled in six to seven weeks to check for a heartbeat. Another will be scheduled in 12 weeks before the Surrogate is released to their regular OB/GYN. The rest of the pregnancy will be the same as any other pregnancy.
If you are thinking about pursuing surrogacy as a way to start or grow your family, contact the team at Simple Surrogacy today! Our team is made up of a 95% female staff who are previous Egg Donors and Surrogates themselves. This allows us to provide our clients with first-hand experience which is unique for any agency! If you’d like to learn more, our team is available to answer all of your questions and help you start or grow your family today!Go back