We will help you evaluate the benefits of gestational surrogacy and provide you with information about cost, legal issues, and treatment protocols.
In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is pregnant with her own biological child, but this child will be raised by others. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate becomes pregnant via embryo transfer with a child that is not biologically her own. The surrogate mother may be called the gestational carrier.
Once a suitable surrogate has been identified, and the screening process is complete, the cycle can begin. Timing depends on the surrogate’s and intended parents/donors menstrual cycle .
Surrogacy Cycle Overview
The surrogate needs to prepare her uterus for implantation with natural estrogen and progesterone. Because each woman is a little different, the dose, duration, and method of administering these hormones may need to be individualized. This can be determined ahead of time by conducting an evaluation cycle. This is a “dry run” in which we duplicate each part of the cycle except the actual transfer of embryos in order to determine how to maximize the chances of success. The evaluation cycle can be completed anytime before the actual procedure. In some circumstances, the evaluation cycle can be waived when the response of the uterus to hormonal stimulation is well known. This is fairly common for women who have undergone many treatment cycles in the past.
It is necessary to synchronize the menstrual cycles of the surrogate and the intended parent in order to obtain mature eggs and embryos and transfer these back into a perfectly prepared endometrium (uterine lining) to maximize the chances of pregnancy success. This is done using a variety of hormonal manipulations .We will determine which technique will work best for each circumstance. Once both women’s (surrogate and intended parent) ovarian function is suppressed and their cycles synchronized, they can begin the process of preparing for pregnancy.
On about the same day, the surrogate and intended parent will begin hormonal therapies to prepare the appropriate target for pregnancy success. The surrogate will begin taking estrogen to stimulate endometrial (uterine lining) growth and the intended parent will begin taking FSH to stimulate egg production. These treatments are monitored with ultrasound and blood estrogen levels until the eggs are ready to be retrieved and the uterus is ready to accept an embryo. Usually these treatments will take approximately two to three weeks and require five office visits for ultrasounds and blood tests.
Subsequently IVF and embryo transfer is done.
In successful cycles, the hormonal supplements are continued through the first trimester (12 weeks) of the pregnancy. Once the first trimester is completed and the placenta has matured to the point where it can provide for all the hormonal needs of the pregnancy, no further supplements are required. We will monitor blood levels of estrogen and progesterone at the end of the first trimester and taper off the hormone supplements gradually. Once the hormone supplements are stopped, the rest of the pregnancy is indistinguishable from any other pregnancy!