The surrogacy process can sometimes feel like an out-of-body experience for intended parents. You walk through all the steps of a pregnancy, witness the ups and downs of the trimesters, follow along with prenatal care, prepare for delivery and everything else — except it’s not your body.
Yet, intended parents can still feel the emotions as if it is their pregnancy, or something close to it. Along with this, there’s a confusing mix of emotions that are distinct to this unique position as an intended parent in the surrogacy process.
Perhaps no step of the journey will illustrate this emotional cocktail better than the ultrasound appointments. A big moment in any pregnancy and in your surrogacy process, these appointments can usher in a confusing wave of emotions.
If you are considering surrogacy as an intended parent or already part of the process, here’s what you need to know about ultrasound appointments, as well as a few tips for enjoying this beautiful part of your journey.
Preparing for Ultrasound Appointments
There are plenty of steps in the process before you get to the ultrasound — too many to cover in-depth here. Instead, we’ll skip to the beginning of the medical process.
As an intended parent, you’ll work together with the surrogate (according to the parameters in your surrogacy contract) to pick a medical provider for these steps of the process.
The surrogate will go through intensive screening, a mock cycle, preparation for the embryonic transfer, the embryonic transfer and a confirmation of pregnancy before the six-week ultrasound. If that sounds like a lot, well, it is! Don’t worry; your surrogacy specialist will be working as hard as possible to make sure everything goes according to plan.
Once the pregnancy is confirmed, it’ll be time to schedule the six-week ultrasound with the fertility clinic. Depending on your fertility clinic, there may be a second ultrasound appointment at 12 weeks before prenatal care fully transfers to the OBGYN. Once in the care of the OBGYN, there will be several more ultrasound appointments.
It will be up to you how many of the ultrasound appointments to attend. If your surrogate lives close by, this will be easier to plan. If you have to travel, then you will need to decide what the cost and time is worth.
What to Expect During Ultrasound Appointments
The practical preparation for ultrasound appointments is relatively straightforward. The emotional work you’ll need to do before, during and after can be more challenging.
When you’re an intended parent, these are some of the strong emotions you should expect to feel when you’re present at ultrasound appointments:
That’s your child! Take this moment in. You’re getting a glimpse at the future of your family thanks to the wonders of modern medical technology. It’s a beautiful sight.
That’s quite a swing, isn’t it? We hate the feeling of jealousy. It makes us uncomfortable. But it’s actually a fairly common emotion for intended parents who, in many cases, spent years dreaming of this moment for themselves. Be aware that this feeling may come on unexpectedly and with force during the ultrasound appointments.
Medical professionals are not always sure how to address a room with both the surrogate and intended parents present. Who to look at and speak to can be confusing, and it can create a tense dynamic. The doctor may address the surrogate when you feel they should be addressing you, or vice versa.
Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Ultrasound Appointments
These emotions and more are common. Not only that — they are normal and should be expected. Nothing you feel during the ultrasound appointments is inherently bad. The good or bad of the situation depends on your response.
It won’t be easy to process all of that on the fly. Here are a few things you can do to prepare yourself and get the most out of the ultrasound appointments:
Stay in close contact with your surrogacy specialist.
Your specialist is there to guide you through the process. From practical help preparing for appointments to emotional counseling during difficult times, call your specialist.
Have honest conversations with your partner (if applicable).
If you have a spouse or partner, are you on the same page with them? Unity and an understanding of the other’s mental state make it easier to support each other. Don’t hide some of the more uncomfortable emotions from your partner. Speak openly and often about how you’re feeling, especially before and after ultrasound appointments.
Prepare for uncomfortable feelings.
You are, in a sense, already doing this. By reading this article, you’re becoming aware of some of the challenging things to expect at ultrasound appointments. That means you can be prepared rather than caught off guard. Develop plans for how you’ll respond to feeling of sadness or jealousy to minimize the impact those emotions have on your experience.
Find ways to focus on the good feelings.
This is not to say that you should ignore or deny the more frustrating emotions. Instead, find ways to focus on the good ones that are also present in the moment.
Some people find practices like daily journaling or mindfulness practices helpful, or you can find breathing exercises to bring your emotions back under control in the moment. Anything that helps you is a good practice to develop.
Speak With Your Specialist
Your surrogacy specialist should be your most trusted resource during your process, and a complex step like the ultrasound appointments is a perfect example of why. Our specialists have experience guiding other intended parents through these challenging emotions, and they can help you, too.
Feeling nervous about your ultrasound appointments as an intended parent? Call your specialist today. Still considering surrogacy as a family-building option? Contact us online now to learn more, or call 1-800-875-BABY(2229).