Another great article by Gail Sexton Anderson: www.donorconcierge.com
* Traditional surrogacy. The only option years ago, in traditional surrogacy the surrogate is both egg donor and surrogate. She is biologically related to the child she is carrying for the intended parents. Now that gestational surrogacy has been perfected, traditional surrogacy isn’t used as often as it used to be.
* Gestational surrogacy. The surrogate often carries a child that is genetically related to the intended parents. With gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not biologically related to the child she is carrying.
How Gestational Surrogacy Works
Step 1. The surrogate meets with a licensed psychologist to make sure she is making the best decision for her and her family.
Step 2. The fertility specialist examines the surrogate’s medical records from previous births and ensures her uterus is in good condition to carry another pregnancy.
Step 3. In order for the surrogate’s body to carry a pregnancy for another, the fertility specialist gives her the following hormones, which are natural to her body, to prevent her body from rejecting the pregnancy:
* Lupron: used by both the surrogate and the intended mother to synchronize their menstrual cycles and to ensure the surrogate doesn’t release any of her own eggs
* Estrogen: thickens the lining of the surrogate’s uterus to help the embryos stick to the uterine lining
* Progesterone: helps the surrogate’s body retain the pregnancy
Step 4. The surrogate starts taking the hormones a couple of weeks before the embryo transfer. She continues to take these hormones until the end of the first trimester. At that point, her body will be producing the hormones on its own, and the rest of the pregnancy will be much like any other pregnancy.
Step 5: Embryo Transfer. The embryo transfer is a simple and painless procedure that takes place in the fertility specialist’s office. The doctor may give the surrogate a mild sedative to make sure she is relaxed. After drawing the embryos into a very small tube called a catheter, the doctor inserts the catheter gently into the surrogate’s vagina, and then gently releases the embryos into her uterus in a drop of fluid. The surrogate rests for a little while before going home. She takes the first pregnancy test in about 10–14 days. Once the doctor detects a heartbeat (about 30 days after the embryo transfer), the pregnancy is officially confirmed.
The surrogate continues to see the fertility specialist until the end of the first trimester, when she can stop taking the hormones. From that point onward, she can begin seeing her regular ob-gyn. Her ob-gyn must be board certified and must have privileges to practice at a hospital that has at least a level 2 neonatal unit.