how does a surrogate mother get pregnant?

How Does a Surrogate Mother Get Pregnant?

A Gestational Surrogate carries a baby for the Intended Parent(s). But even though the baby grows inside her uterus, the Gestational Surrogate does not share any genetics with it. So, how exactly does a Surrogate Mother get pregnant?

A Gestational Surrogate goes through the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) using an egg of the Intended Mother or an Egg Donor. Traditional IVF typically has five steps, but since you’re not using your own egg, your IVF process is shortened to just the embryo transfer.

Let’s review what a Gestational Surrogate’s IVF process looks like:

Preparation for the Embryo Transfer

Your body needs to be hormonally prepared to make it ready for the fertilized embryo to be transferred to your uterus. That means you’ll have to take certain medications, usually progesterone and estrogen, that help thicken the lining of the uterus.

During this phase, you’ll also have a few monitoring appointments at a local clinic for bloodwork to make sure your body is absorbing the hormones properly. Ultrasounds will check that your uterine lining is getting thick.

Embryo Transfer

The embryo transfer (ET) is when the egg that’s fertilized by the sperm (embryo) is placed inside your uterus. You will travel to the family’s clinic for the embryo transfer.

Many people say that an ET is similar to a Pap smear. In most cases, a thin tube, called a catheter, holds a single embryo in a small amount of fluid. The catheter is inserted into your vagina and cervix, then a syringe on the end of the catheter empties the fluid into the uterus.

The embryo transfer process is usually pain-free and doesn’t require any pain medications or anesthesia, but mild cramping is normal. Since it’s outpatient, you’ll go back home or to a hotel to rest for about one day. The goal is for the embryo to implant into the lining of your uterus so pregnancy can begin.

After the Embryo Transfer

When you return home, you’ll need to follow your doctor’s instructions closely. Each doctor has a slightly different protocol and your contract will specify that you treat the doctor’s instructions seriously.

Normal side effects after an embryo transfer include:

  • Breast soreness caused by high estrogen levels
  • Constipation
  • Leaking a small amount of clear or bloody fluid shortly after the procedure
  • Mild bloating
  • Mild cramping

About a week to 10 days later, you’ll take your first beta test. This is a blood test that determines whether you’re pregnant and it’s more accurate than an at-home pregnancy test. If you do take an at-home pregnancy test, remember that they’re not always accurate. You can be pregnant even if it says you’re not, and vice versa.

If the blood test finds that you’re pregnant, the embryo transfer was a success! You are officially a Surrogate Mother.

Surrogate Mother Pregnancies: Other Things to Know

Here are some additional items to keep in mind when it comes to getting pregnant as a Gestational Surrogate:

  • In most cases, you may have to abstain from sex 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after the embryo transfer.
  • After the embryo transfer, you will need to stay on the hormone medications for about 10 weeks into the pregnancy. Around that time, your body will start producing those pregnancy hormones on its own.

The process of getting pregnant as a Surrogate Mother is a bit different than the traditional way, but it’s still an exciting time! The body is amazing and can do truly astounding things — including growing a baby with someone else’s genetics.

Surrogacy and Egg Donor Services

Since 2004, The Fertility Agency has helped bring over 1100+ babies into the world. We work with all Intended Parents, Surrogates, and Egg Donors no matter their sexual preference, relationship status, ethnicity, location, etc. Our personal experiences and years of expertise provide us with the perfect balance of business and passion. Contact us for more information.

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