Before becoming a surrogate, you likely have a lot of questions. In your research, you have probably come across a fair number of dramatic, sensationalized stories from former surrogates. They may even make you nervous about moving forward with this process.
One such story that gained traction last year was that of Jessica Allen, a California surrogate who became pregnant with twins — only to find out that one of the children was her biological son. Critics of surrogacy took this story as an opportunity to emphasize the dangers of surrogacy, and the fact that Allen had to “fight for her own son.”
Understandably, this story may worry you. The good news? A situation like this is extremely rare and can easily be avoided by following proper protocols.
When you become a surrogate, you will be required to go through screening and assessments to ensure you are physically and emotionally capable of the journey ahead. During these screenings, your surrogacy professional will describe in detail the medical process of surrogacy — and exactly how it will work to eliminate complications like this from happening.
But, how exactly do you make sure you don’t get pregnant with your own child along the way? The precautions to take are pretty simple:
1. You will be on a strict fertility medication schedule prior to embryo transfer.
Before you can even be approved for an embryo transfer, you will need to prepare your body for the process. You will work with your intended parents’ fertility clinic to create a medication schedule that regulates your cycle and maximizes your chances for a successful embryo transfer. Your medication will likely include the birth control pill, which will stop your ovulation and prevent pregnancy in the period before your embryo transfer process.
2. You will be required to refrain from sexual intercourse leading up to and after the pregnancy is confirmed.
This is perhaps the biggest prevention of an unplanned pregnancy during the surrogacy process — and the step that Allen and her husband likely disregarded.
After you complete your medical routine, your body will be hyper-fertile and ready to receive a transferred embryo. This will mean your body is also more likely to conceive if you engage in sexual intercourse. For this reason, surrogacy professionals will require that you refrain from sex for a certain amount of time. This will be outlined in your surrogacy contract, as well. Breaking this agreement, as Allen presumably did, could lead to extreme legal consequences.
If you do as requested and refrain from sex, there is no way that you will get pregnant with your own biological child during the surrogacy process. Therefore, it’s important that your spouse is on the same page with you about the requirements of surrogacy (including this) before starting the journey. Your choice to be a surrogate will impact him, as well as the rest of your immediate family. It truly is a family journey that you take together.
3. Your medical professional will support you every step of the way.
When you become a surrogate, there will be several professionals acting to protect your rights and interests every step of the way. In addition to your surrogacy specialist and your surrogacy attorney, your medical professional will provide the physical and medical support you need during this journey.
Your medical protocol will always be tailored to you, and your medical professional will make sure you are comfortable. They will be there to answer your questions and ensure everything goes as planned — including your pregnancy. If there is any sign that an embryo transfer or a potential pregnancy may be compromised, you will have the support you need.
So, when you read the dramatic “horror stories” about surrogacy, be reassured that these are very rare cases indeed — and, as long as you follow your professionals’ instructions, your surrogacy journey will be very likely to succeed. You need not worry about becoming pregnant with your own child during the surrogacy process; the child that you give birth to will be the intended parents’, and you will have no responsibility to take custody of another child upon delivery.
To learn more about the medical process of surrogacy, you can always contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).