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!