When a woman conceives a pregnancy naturally, her body will produce specific pregnancy hormones to prepare the uterus for pregnancy and create a safe and stable environment for the embryo to grow and develop. When it comes to surrogacy, the gestational carrier will need to recreate these hormones through supplemental and regimented medications.
As a surrogate, you will be prescribed a variety of medications and hormones to maintain and control your cycle to ensure a safe embryo transfer. These medications will increase your chances of achieving and sustaining a successful pregnancy at every stage.
The exact amount of medication and when you take it will depend on a variety of factors such as your own unique needs and circumstances throughout your surrogacy process. It’s important to take all the medications you are prescribed at the appropriate times, as directed by your doctor. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to your medical professional or surrogacy specialist.
Birth Control Pills
The first types of medication you will be asked to take are birth control pills. The fertility clinic will use these to sync up your cycle to coordinate with the date of the embryo transfer. Your fertility specialist will make sure you start and stop taking these pills at the right times so that everything lines up with the transfer.
After taking birth control pills, you will begin taking Lupron. You will administer Lupron via injection for just a little under a month. Lupron will prevent your cycle from interfering with the surrogacy process by limiting the release of hormones that affect your cycle. It does this by preventing your ovaries from ovulating prematurely, regulating your cycle.
Side effects: Headache, fatigue and hot flashes
Next up, you’ll add estrogen to your surrogacy medication regimen about two weeks after you begin Lupron. You will be able to take estrogen in the form of pills, twice a day. Sometimes this can be done via path or injection. The estrogen will help coordinate with the intended mother or donor’s cycle, as well as help maintain early pregnancy.
Side effects: Nausea, breast tenderness, headache, weight changes, upset stomach, cramps.
You will start taking progesterone five days before the embryo transfer. This will be done through an intramuscular injection, rather than subcutaneous. You’ll want to massage the injection site to make sure the hormone is dispersed evenly. After a successful embryo transfer, you’ll continue taking progesterone until your 12th week of pregnancy to maintain a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Side effects: Bloating, irritability, dizziness, breast tenderness.
You (and sometimes your partner) will be prescribed antibiotics before the embryo transfer to ensure that your body is clear of any bacteria and prevent infections. This will increase the chances of a successful embryo transfer. There are two main antibiotics you may receive:
- Doxycycline. This antibiotic may be prescribed to you and your partner early on to treat any potential pelvic infections and act as an anti-rejection measure to increase the likelihood of your body accepting the embryo. This is taken in the form of a tablet.
- Tetracycline. This antibiotic will be taken a few days ahead of the embryo transfer to prevent infection and rejection of the embryo. This will be taken via a tablet.
Medrol is a low-dose oral steroid that may increase the chances of a successful embryo transfer. This medication may not work for everyone, so make sure you listen to your doctor’s directives.
You may be advised to take aspirin in the first 12 weeks to increase your chances of successful embryo implantation. This should only be taken if your doctor approves of it.
Your doctor will likely recommend that you take prenatal vitamins before the transfer and during your pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins ensure that you and the baby are getting the necessary nutrients to ensure that the baby is developing healthily.
Every pregnancy is different. You may not take the same dosage of the same medications at the same time as other surrogates. This will all depend on your unique body chemistry. Always be sure to follow your medical professional’s advice and ask questions as you have them. If you have questions about the medications and hormones you will be taking, reach out to your adoption specialist.