Surrogacy can make the dream of parenthood possible
Many women have health issues that make it impossible for them to carry a pregnancy themselves. However, motherhood is still possible thanks to gestational surrogacy and a generous surrogate.
Fertility Specialists of Texas works with local and national surrogacy agencies to help patients become parents. The woman producing the eggs undergoes an IVF cycle. We fertilize the eggs and then culture and freeze the subsequent embryos.
The gestational surrogate prepares her uterus with estrogen and progesterone. On the day of transfer, our team places one healthy embryo in the uterine cavity of the gestational carrier.
Starting the surrogacy process
We have relationships with many of the country’s most highly regarded surrogacy agencies. The surrogacy agency conducts the initial recruitment and screening of potential surrogates. It also provides legal referrals and offers administrative assistance during the process. The physician then meets the surrogate and performs an extensive medical screening exam. The process of being a gestational carrier involves finding a woman who has had healthy pregnancies and want to participate in surrogacy.
Finding a gestational surrogate
We do not underestimate the issues with finding a carrier and realize that women who need this help are in some ways forgotten in the infertile population. A woman who needs to use a gestational surrogate often struggles with not only the emotional issues of being unable to carry her own child but also the additional financial burden and challenge of finding a woman who is willing to do this for her.
After passing both medical and psychological screenings, a gestational surrogate is available to be matched. Once the agency has matched a couple or individual with a gestational carrier and all contracts have been signed, and legal agreement is in place, medical treatment begins. Prior to delivery of the child, the surrogacy attorney files a declaration with the State Courts defining that the legal parents are the biological or intended parents and not the gestational carrier.
A gestational carrier cycle requires a great deal of coordination, from selecting the carrier and matching her with a couple, to performing the related medical procedures. Before the cycle begins, we focus on educating the patients and the gestational surrogate.
Ovulation Induction and Monitoring of the Female Partner
We time the start of the ovarian stimulation using oral contraceptive pills (OCP). The female partner takes OCP for 2-3 weeks before stimulation. She begins injections of gonadotropins according to a schedule that is provided by the clinic.
About 10-12 days of medications, the woman takes an injection of human chronic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone replaces the woman’s normal LH surge and is necessary for the final maturation of the eggs.
At Fertility Specialists of Texas, we perform the egg retrieval non-surgically using a vaginal ultrasound probe. The procedure usually uses IV sedation.
To comply with government regulations, intended father/sperm donor will need to schedule a semen analysis, have his sperm frozen and complete FDA required tests. On the day of egg retrieval, we thaw and prepare the sperm sample for IVF.
We remove the eggs from the follicular fluid and place them in culture media. A few hours later, we fertilize the eggs using ICSI. We culture the embryos to day 5 or 6 and then freeze them.
Taking the next steps in gestational surrogacy
Building the Carrier’s Lining with Hormonal Injections
The surrogate will take n birth control pills in preparation of the embryo transfer. She will also take a medication called Lupron (GnRH agonist) to suppresses ovulation. She then begins hormone stimulation with estradiol to prepare her uterine lining for implantation. Approximately 4 to 6 days before the transfer, daily injections of progesterone begin.
Embryo Transfer to the Carrier’s Uterus
At Fertility Specialists of Texas, we perform all embryo transfers under ultrasound guidance. The ultrasound allows for the accurate placement of the embryos in the uterus. The transfer is a painless, outpatient procedure.
Post Embryo Transfer Management and Follow-up
To promote success, the carrier continues the hormone injections after the transfer. Ten days after the transfer, we perform a pregnancy test. If the test is positive, the hormone injections continue until 12 weeks gestation, when the placenta is fully functional. After we document good fetal growth, we will send the surrogate back to her OBGYN.