If you’re like most women considering surrogacy, you believe that becoming a surrogate could be a beautiful and life-changing journey, but you still have a lot of questions before committing. The medical process of surrogacy is probably at the front of your mind.
That’s why we’ve created this guide to surrogacy medications. We believe that you should feel completely in control of this entire process. It is your body, after all. And in order for you to feel confident, you need to be informed. We’re here to answer any questions you have before getting started with your own process.
While this article should not be taken as medical advice, we do hope it will serve as a helpful primer on all of the most important gestational surrogacy medications that you can expect.
What Are Surrogacy Medications?
The process of becoming a surrogate is many things. It is an emotional and personal journey. It is a legal contract. Perhaps more than anything else, it is a medical process. That’s why it is so important to receive the proper medical care and surrogacy medications throughout.
Surrogacy medications are prescribed on a case-by-case basis. Your specific gestational surrogacy medications will depend on things like:
- Your medical history
- Your specific checkups, monitoring results and pregnancy progress
- Your fertility clinic and physician
- And more
While the exact medications (and surrogacy medication timeline) for your process will be up to your clinic and OB/GYN, there are some very common surrogacy medications that you should be aware of if you are considering becoming a surrogate.
The Most Common Gestational Surrogacy Medications
While every surrogacy process is unique, below are the most common surrogacy medications that you can expect to take at some point.
Birth Control Pills
Wait — you have to take birth control pills in order to become a gestational carrier? It seems counterintuitive, but it’s true. The fertility clinic needs to be completely on top of your cycle in order to successfully plan the embryo transfer. That’s why you will need to take, and stop taking, birth control pills as a surrogacy medication in accordance with the guidance from your clinic.
Practically all surrogacy medication timelines include estrogen. This can be taken as a pill, applied with a patch, or given via injections. Your specific timing, dose and delivery method will be determined by your clinic.
This surrogacy medication helps to regulate your cycle and prevent premature ovulation. It is often deployed in tandem with birth control pills to help the clinic stay on top of your cycle. Lupron is given via injection.
Just before the transfer, you will most likely need to take an injection of progestogen, which aids in preparing the uterine lining for the implantation of the embryo. This injection does involve a larger needle and is delivered intramuscularly, which means it may be a bit more painful.
You may or may not be prescribed antibiotics by your clinic before the embryo transfer. Some clinics prefer this prescription to ensure that your body is clear of all infections prior to the transfer.
Some surrogacy medication timelines will include Medrol, which is a low-dose steroid that some fertility clinics use to improve the chances of a successful embryo transfer.
Taking low-dose aspirin is a common practice before and during pregnancy. Depending on the clinic you work with, you may be prescribed a daily dose as a part of your gestational surrogacy medication regiment in order to increase the chances of a successful transfer.
Like any other woman preparing to become pregnant, it’s important to take care of your body with prenatal vitamins taken before and after the embryo transfer. Check with your clinic to see if there is a specific brand that they recommend.
A Surrogacy Medication Timeline
Some or all of the medications listed above, as well as several others, could be a part of your prescribed surrogacy medications. However, it’s not just about which medications you take, but when you take them.
Your fertility clinic will give you a surrogacy medication timeline, sometimes called a protocol, and it is vital that you follow that timeline exactly. You will be given detailed instructions — down to the exact time of day — for when to take your medications. While we cannot give you an example of such a detailed medical protocol, we can provide a general outline of a hypothetical surrogacy medication timeline to give you a sense of the order of medications.
Step 1: Birth Control Pills
Once our team has found the perfect surrogacy match for you, you’ll be connected with the fertility clinic chosen by the intended parents. The clinic will most likely start you on a prescription of birth control pills to begin your gestational surrogacy medications.
Step 2: Lupron
Since Lupron is intended to work alongside birth control pills in regulating your cycle, it’s often prescribed by clinics as the next step of the surrogacy medication timeline. Consult your clinic to learn your specific Lupron injection regiment.
Step 3: Estrogen
After your birth control and Lupron medication schedule has progressed, you’ll most likely add estrogen to your list of gestational surrogacy medications at the direction of your clinic. Estrogen is usually taken via pills twice a day.
Step 4: Progesterone and Medrol
Surrogacy medications like Progesterone and Medrol, which can help prepare the uterine lining for implantation and increase the chances of a successful embryo transfer, could be prescribed just before your transfer date.
Step 5: Additional Surrogacy Medications
Medication after a successful embryo transfer is determined on a case-by-case basis by medical professionals. Your surrogacy medications could include any of the drugs listed above, or others that we haven’t covered. The most important thing to remember is that you are in good hands. Trust your medical care team to take care of you during this process.
Side Effects of Surrogacy Medication that You Could Experience
Many women are justifiably worried about the side effects of surrogacy medication. Your clinic will be able to answer specific questions about each medication. You should know, however, that while some side effects may seem scary, your clinic would not prescribe anything they believed to be dangerous.
With that said, some of the most common side effects of surrogacy medication are:
- General Discomfort
- Hot Flashes
- Injection Site Irritation
- Breast Tenderness
Some women do experience all of the side effects, while others have a relatively smooth and side-effect-free surrogacy medical process. To get into the specifics, and address your most pressing concerns, ask your clinic about the side effects of surrogacy medication.
Common Questions about Gestational Surrogacy Medications
Our team provides personal, experienced, helpful support to women considering the surrogacy process every day. We have years of experience, and we are proud to offer a surrogacy program that puts your needs first. In the process of providing care and support for many women, there are several common questions we hear about gestational surrogacy medications:
Do you have to take medication for IVF surrogacy?
Yes, you will have to take some surrogacy medications in order to become a gestational carrier. These are similar to the kinds of medications a woman would take for any other IVF process. Of course, your consent is the most important factor. Speak with your clinic about any concerns you have in order to proceed confidently in your process.
Do surrogates have to have shots?
Generally speaking, yes. While many of the surrogacy medications listed here can be taken via pill, shots will be required to deliver several of the most important medications.
Do surrogates have to take hormones?
Every gestational surrogate’s medical process is unique. With that said, it is almost guaranteed that you will need to take hormones as a part of the surrogacy medication timeline.
What if I have an objection to one of the required gestational surrogacy medications?
It’s important to deal with any objections or disagreements upfront. It is always your right to voice your concern. However, if you do refuse to take a medication that a clinic requires, then the intended parents will most likely need to find a different surrogacy match.
Contact Us Today to Learn More
Are you thinking about becoming a surrogate? If so, you’re in the right place. Our surrogacy program is able to provide personalized support for you throughout the process. Take your next step today by contacting us online. We’re eager to provide the support you need.