What is IVF?

One of the most important parts of the surrogacy process is IVF, or in-vitro fertilization. This is a highly monitored and vital medical process that allows for egg donation and embryo creation. It is also a process that allows a surrogate to become pregnant. But how does IVF work?

The Process

  1. The person undergoing IVF has their cycle monitored and an ultrasound performed to determine ovulation points. Their blood is also monitored for hormone levels.
  2. The eggs are retrieved from the donor through a minor surgical procedure. Usually, more than one egg will be retrieved so that more embryos can be created.
  3. A sperm donation is received.
  4. The sperm and eggs are combined in a petri dish. These embryos are monitored closely to ensure that cell division takes place. Once it has, the embryo is formed.
  5. One or more embryos are implanted into the gestational carrier for her to become pregnant. If more than one embryo is transferred, it is under the understanding that the carrier may become pregnant with multiples.
  6. This is a waiting game. For the next two weeks, the gestational carrier takes multiple pregnancy tests, commonly denoted with “DPT” or Days Past Transfer to determine whether she is pregnant.

Hormones & Preparation

In order to prepare for IVF, the person donating the eggs must inject themselves with hormone shots and be put on birth control, so that their cycle is accurate and easily monitored. If you’ve seen images of many needles next to a pregnancy announcement online, it is likely that the person underwent IVF and those are all the injections they took.

Hormone injections are usually used for about 2 weeks to be sure that ovulation takes place, and that the uterus is well prepared for implantation.

How is it Different than IUI?

IUI or Inter-uterine Insemination is a process through which the sperm is implanted directly into the uterus next to eggs. The embryos are not created ahead of time, but rather inside the uterus. While this process may be used in surrogacy, it is more common for the IVF process to take place. 

What Should I Expect?

If you are going through IVF, you should expect to see some changes in yourself. The hormones can cause weight gain and mood swings, and the injections themselves are painful. You should also prepare to hear about the quality of the embryos, whether they are good or not.

You can prepare your embryos before you ever find a surrogate and have them frozen, and most agencies recommend that you have them ready to go before you meet your surrogate match.

If you have any questions about IVF or the Surrogacy Process, reach out to us here.

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