Surrogacy: Behind the Procedure and How to Prepare Yourself

Surrogacy is a very rewarding, selfless act. Surrogates are consciously giving their body and going through the process of pregnancy to provide another individual, who is most likely a stranger, with the gift of becoming a parent.

Making the decision to become a surrogate is only the first step in the process. The potential surrogate must then undergo multiple steps to determine that you are qualified to become a surrogate.

The first step is to choose which surrogacy agency to embark on this journey with. This is a big decision. The surrogate must make the choice of which company they’d like to work with that’ll help them share the gift of parenthood with a family who hopes of having a child of their own. Only after selecting their agency, will they begin the screening process and then be matched with the Intended Parents. After undergoing different types of testing to ensure that they can safely go through with the process of surrogacy, they will be accepted as a surrogate.

After being accepted as a surrogate, the process truly begins. Following the signing of the contracts and the surrogate matching process, it is now time for the surrogate to begin preparing herself for the procedure. This involves the surrogate being carefully examined for any physical informalities as well as mental health issues to ensure a successful pregnancy. The physical and mental preparation portion of surrogacy is a large part of the surrogacy process.

Mental Preparation

Becoming a surrogate is a lengthy process. The physical procedure itself can be daunting, but beyond this, the surrogate must take your mental health into consideration. The surrogate should ensure that she is stress-free and as relaxed as possible before, as well as during, the surrogacy process. Stress causes the body to enter its “fight or flight” mode and release stress hormones that could be harmful to both the surrogate and the baby. This amount of stress puts pressure on the fetus and can be risky for the fetus’s health. The surrogate must understand the risks involved in surrogacy and have the support system that they need to go through this process.

A great deal of support from the intended parents as well as the surrogate’s own close family and friends is extremely important. The support system makes a great impact on an individual’s mental health and it is critical that the surrogate is supported by the people around her. Beyond the stress of the surrogacy itself, just like with any pregnancy there will be extreme hormonal changes that bring anxiety as well as strong mood swings.

It is also very important that the surrogate ensures that all the administrative contracts and legal aspects are discussed between the surrogate and intended parents. This can quickly become stressful. A surrogacy agency will help to ensure that this is taken care of so that you do not have to worry. This is important because it helps ensure that all parties are on the same page and know the exact steps of the process.

Physical Preparation

Not only is your mental health extremely important, but so is your physical health. The surrogate must make sure to eat as healthy as possible and maintain a balanced diet. Fruits, vegetables and all the required vitamins and supplements help keep her body functioning properly and preparing to carry a healthy baby. The surrogate should change their diet to one that is full of nutrients and balance throughout the pregnancy, but also prior to the pregnancy, to prepare their body for the baby. Undergoing a physical is recommended to ensure your entire body is healthy and prepared.

The surrogate must also decide whether this surrogacy will be gestational or a traditional surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy is when the surrogate’s eggs are used and the intended father’s sperm is injected into her egg. Gestational surrogacy is when the eggs of the intended mother are used and the intended father’s sperm is combined then both are inserted into the surrogate’s uterus. Both of these surrogacy processes are very different from one another and therefore it is important that the surrogate decides which process they feel more comfortable with.

Medication

Medication is also a large part of surrogacy. Different medications are used before and during the pregnancy to help ensure that the pregnancy is as smooth and flawless as possible. Firstly, the Surrogate will be given various medications to stimulate the hormones of a natural pregnancy so that her body can begin producing the right hormones. Some of the medications surrogates use include:

  • Estrogen
  • Lupron
  • Doxycycline
  • Progesterone

The initial medical screening is completed to ensure that the surrogate is a good candidate. The second medical screening is completed to prepare the surrogate’s body for the transferring process (either by Gestation or Traditional surrogacy). Prior to the actual procedure, the surrogate will undergo a mock cycle trial to ensure that her body and uterine lining are responding appropriately to the medication. To begin, the fertility practitioner will stimulate the follicles and eggs to properly develop.

Egg Retrieval

Once the eggs have matured, they are retrieved by a needle. Once the desired amount of eggs has been retrieved, they are placed under close observation for about a day. This short process, on average, takes about 10 minutes to complete.   

Fertilization

Next, it is time for fertilization. Prior to the egg retrieval, the male partner’s sperm is collected and combined with each egg.  After 24 hours, the eggs are closely examined to see if the fertilization has occurred. If fertilization has occurred successfully, they are ready to be implanted into the uterus within the next 72 hours or an average 3 -4 days as it takes 5 days on average for an embryo to travel through the fallopian tube.

Embryo Transfer

Embryo transfer is now ready to take place after 5 days of incubation. A syringe with a thin and flexible catheter at the end transfers the embryo into the uterus. It is a quick and painless procedure. Although a fast process, the patient is required to rest at the fertility clinic.

After the Procedure

Once the procedure has been completed the surrogate must attend continuous doctor’s appointments, take the required prenatal care vitamins, and receive blood tests. Regular checkups and care are essential to the surrogacy process, like any pregnancy, to ensure both the carrier and baby are healthy. The surrogate will also continue to take estrogen and progesterone throughout the pregnancy.  

The surrogate will be in constant communication with the Intended Parents for the remainder of the pregnancy. After this, the level of communication will be left to the decision of both the surrogate and the Intended Parents.  

If you are looking to become a surrogate, contact the experts at Simple Surrogacy today. Our team will help guide you through the entire process, from start to finish, and work tirelessly to ensure that both you and the intended parents enjoy the surrogacy process as much as you enjoy the result!

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