If you’re considering becoming a surrogate, you’ve probably heard about all the wonderful parts of this journey: helping to bring a child into the world, creating an intimate relationship with the intended parents and more.
However, being a surrogate is not all butterflies and rainbows. After all, it’s a huge commitment of your time, energy and your body to help another family. It’s normal for there to be tough times during the journey, and it’s important that you understand what they might be before deciding on this path for yourself.
Here at American Surrogacy, support from our surrogacy specialists and references to trusted surrogacy lawyers and medical professionals can help alleviate some of these challenges. You are never alone when you work with American Surrogacy; we will always be there to help through both the difficult and rewarding parts of your surrogacy process.
Remember, each surrogacy journey is different, but here are some of the difficult experiences that former surrogates have reported.
1. Failed Transfer
It’s completely normal for an embryo transfer to fail, but it can still be disappointing, especially on the first try. You and your intended parents will be anxious and excited to start this surrogacy journey together, and it may seem like nothing can go wrong with the guidance of experienced medical professionals. If a failed transfer does happen, it can be devastating.
Success rates of an IVF transfer will always depend upon a clinic’s procedures, including any pre-implantation genetic screening it completes. In general, a little more than half of all IVF transfers will result in pregnancy, with anywhere from 35-40 percent of transfers failing to implant.
If you experience a failed transfer, remember that your surrogacy specialist and your medical professionals will be there to counsel you through this time. A failed transfer is not your fault as a surrogate, but it can still be an emotional process, nonetheless.
When you become a surrogate, you will be required to take a great deal of fertility drugs to prepare your body for the embryo cycle. Some of these medications will be taken orally, while some will require you to inject yourself at home. All of these medications will require strict planning and scheduling to ensure they are taken at the proper time.
Your doctor will always walk you through your medication schedule. Many surrogates find these medications (and their potential side effects) to be one the most difficult parts of surrogacy preparation. You may need the assistance of your spouse or loved ones to maintain this schedule or to administer certain drugs.
3. Waiting for Your Pregnancy Results
Many surrogates and intended parents are overjoyed and excited waiting for their transfer results — but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also an excruciating wait. Waiting for your pregnancy results can put you on pins and needles, whether you are waiting to take an at-home pregnancy test or receive your official ultrasound a week or two after transfer.
Miscarriage is another unfortunate reality of surrogacy. While embryos do go through pre-implantation screening, there is still the chance that a miscarriage can occur. In most cases, the surrogacy miscarriage rate is comparable to the rate of miscarriage among women who become pregnant naturally: about 10-25 percent.
If you do experience a miscarriage, you will likely experience the same kind of sadness and grief as the intended parents, even though the embryo was not your own. These feelings will be normal, and your surrogacy specialist will be there to counsel you (and the intended parents) through this difficult time. When both parties are ready to try another embryo transfer, you will work closely with your doctor to prepare your body for another procedure.
Keep in mind: A miscarriage usually will not affect your ability to become pregnant in any future transfers.
5. Pregnancy Side Effects
Like any pregnancy, a surrogate pregnancy can come with difficult side effects — everything from morning sickness to gestational diabetes to more serious complications. You may find that your surrogate pregnancy is completely different from your previous pregnancies. The experience could be much harder or much easier, so it’s a good idea not to go into your surrogacy with certain expectations.
Remember, any necessary medical care will be completely covered by your intended parents, and your doctor and surrogacy specialist will work closely with you throughout your pregnancy to ensure your comfort.
6. Working with Distant Intended Parents
Surrogacy is a partnership, and it can be hard when your intended parents aren’t located close by. Not only will they often be less present for important doctor’s appointments, but they won’t be able to be there as quickly should something go wrong.
It can be tough to go through your pregnancy without intended parents’ close, practical support, but working with long-distance intended parents is more common than you may think. Technology like emails, video chatting and more can keep you in frequent touch with the intended parents. Your surrogacy specialist will help you create a contact plan in your surrogacy contract; that way, you can more easily build a relationship with intended parents who may not be located just a few hours away.
7. Coordination of Surrogacy Appointments
Finally, being a surrogate will impact every aspect of your life. Finding the time for surrogate appointments on top of your motherly and familial duties can be the hardest part of this journey. You may need to miss some of your children’s activities for scheduled medication and appointments, and it can be frustrating to give up some of your normal activities because of a lack of time or energy.
Remember, this is only temporary. You will have chosen to become a surrogate to make a difference in someone’s life, and it will be all worth it in the end. Choosing to work with American Surrogacy is the first step toward tackling these challenges and creating a positive surrogacy journey for you and your intended parents.
If you have any questions about the potential challenges of surrogacy or want to learn more about how our agency helps to minimize any risks and complications, contact our specialists for free at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).