If you’re considering becoming a gestational carrier in Pennsylvania, you probably have a lot of questions about the surrogacy medical process ahead of you. After all, becoming pregnant as a surrogate is not at all like the way you got pregnant when you had your own children. It’s normal to feel all kinds of emotions — including nerves, excitement and uncertainty — before embarking on this journey. Remember, the professionals at Bierly & Rabuck are here to help.
Learning more about the upcoming surrogacy medical process is an important part of determining whether being a surrogate is the right path for you. After all, you’ll need to be comfortable with all of the necessary medical procedures and risks before you commit to this journey. Below, you will find a description of the five steps of the surrogacy medical process to help you get started.
As always, if you have any questions about surrogacy in Pennsylvania, don’t hesitate to reach out to our professionals online or by calling 814-237-7900.
Step 1: Surrogate Medical Screening
One of the very first steps in every woman’s journey is completing the necessary medical screening for surrogacy in Pennsylvania. Surrogacy is not right for everyone, and there are certain requirements set by professionals to ensure that only the women who are truly ready for this journey can become gestational carriers.
Every woman considering being a gestational carrier must meet certain surrogate requirements when she first applies for this process. But, even if she meets all of those initial requirements, she must still undergo certain surrogate medical screening to confirm her eligibility for this process. Usually, the type of screening she will undergo will depend upon her intended parents’ fertility clinic and fertility professional.
This screening may include:
- Pap smear and physical
- Bloodwork for yourself and your spouse
- A saline sonogram to check the status of your uterus
- Mental and psychological screening by a mental health professional
- And more
This surrogate medical screening will typically need to be completed before you can draft a legal surrogacy contract with any intended parents.
Step 2: Fertility Medication and Mock Cycle
Once you meet surrogacy requirements, you will begin the preparation before the procedure to become a surrogate mother — your fertility medical protocol. A medical professional at the intended parents’ fertility clinic will prescribe a specific medication schedule to prepare your body for the upcoming process of embryo transfer.
Prospective gestational carriers often have a few common questions about this step in the Pennsylvania surrogacy medical process:
- Do surrogates have to take hormones? Doctors must be able to closely monitor and control a gestational carrier’s cycle to increase the likelihood of a successful transfer. Therefore, certain hormones (such as progesterone and estrogen) will be included in your fertility medication.
- Do surrogates have to have shots? Medical protocols vary based on the prescribing physician, but most gestational carriers do have to take shots as part of their fertility protocol (often progesterone in oil shots). Your physician will describe this in detail with you and your spouse to ensure you are prepared for this responsibility.
Your medical professional may perform a mock cycle before the real embryo transfer to ensure that your medication is doing its job in regulating your cycle. This step may also include more bloodwork and ultrasounds.
Step 3: Preparation for the Embryo Transfer
If your body successfully handles the mock transfer, your medical professional will start preparing you for the real embryo transfer.
Most intended parents use frozen embryos in their surrogacy journey, meaning there is no “IVF surrogacy procedure.” Instead, the completed embryos are frozen and transferred to your uterus based on your cycle.
If your intended parents are using a fresh embryo cycle, a bit more coordination is required to align the IVF and surrogacy processes. Your medical professional will describe this process to you and ensure you take any additional fertility medication required beforehand.
Step 4: Embryo Transfer Procedure
People who are unaware of how surrogacy really works sometimes ask, “In order to be a surrogate mother, do you have to have sex with the other person’s partner?” This is not the case at all; the embryo transfer process is one completed under the supervision of experienced medical professionals in a sterile environment. It’s not a very intimate procedure, at all.
Here’s what you can expect: After your body is ready for the procedure, you will travel to the intended parents’ clinic for the transfer. You will lie on an examination table while the agreed-upon number of embryos is transferred to your uterus. It is a fairly quick and painless procedure; many women compare it to the sense of slight discomfort experienced during a routine pap smear and pelvic examination.
You may be required to rest for a few hours or a few days after the procedure to increase the chance of conception.
Step 5: Confirmation of Pregnancy and Delivery
A little more than a week after your surrogacy medical process, you will return to the fertility clinic to be tested for pregnancy. If your pregnancy hormone levels are elevated enough, your pregnancy will be confirmed. At that point, you will be able to receive the rest of your prenatal surrogacy treatment from a local obstetrician of your choosing.
You will likely communicate with your intended parents about this prenatal care and any important appointments they wish to attend. You will also work closely with your surrogacy professional to create a delivery plan incorporating the intended parents.
Once you deliver the child, your surrogacy medical process in Pennsylvania will be complete! You will need time to recover but often a great deal less than if you were simultaneously caring for a newborn. Many gestational carriers find they are able to go back to work within a week of their delivery, but every woman’s situation is different.
While this article addresses many of the basic facts about the Pennsylvania surrogacy medical process, it’s likely that you still have questions about this process and the surrogacy journey in general. You can always contact our surrogacy professionals at 814-237-7900 for more information and to connect with any local medical professionals you wish to speak with. When you’re ready to start your surrogacy journey, Bierly & Rabuck is here to help.