A Surrogate’s Medical Protocol- Surrogacy Medications

84462040Women entering surrogacy are typically placed on a regimen of hormone therapies to aid in preparing the uterus for the embryo transfer, and aid in maintaining the pregnancy. Some of the medications you can expect to be on during your medical cycle may include:

  • Estrogen– You are likely to be on at least one form of estrogen supplement. This is to build the uterine lining. Common forms include Estrace (pill) and/or Delestrogen (intramuscular injection).
  • Lupron– This medication (subcutaneous injection) is given primarily to women who are planning on transferring a fresh embryo as opposed to a frozen one. It is used to help suppress the ovaries while waiting for the transfer.

  • Progesterone– Most surrogates will be on progesterone for many weeks. Progesterone is used to mimic pregnancy in the body and sustain a viable early pregnancy. Common forms are vaginal suppositories (Endometrin), patches, and intramuscular injections compounded with oil (Ethyl Oleate, Sesame Oil, or Olive Oil are common.)
  • Medrol– This is a short term steroid administered orally prior to transfer. It is given to suppress the surrogate’s immune system in hopes of encouraging embryo implantation and potential pregnancy.
  • Prednisone– This is another steroid form, administered (pill) for the same purpose of immune system suppression, but given over a prolonged period of time.
  • Baby Aspirin– Given as a blood thinner as a precautionary measure due to the high levels of hormones the surrogate is taking.
  • Doxycycline– Some surrogates are given this antibiotic (pill) before their embryo transfer to help fight infection in the body, including possible low-grade pelvic infections.
  • Prenatal Vitamins, Folate & DHA– Just as with all pregnant women, most surrogates are asked to take daily supplements to aid in their overall health and the development of the fetus.

The list above is purely a sample of frequently used medications in IVF. Your medical cycle may vary. Just as with all medications, an individual’s response to each medication can vary widely from one patient to the next. What works well for one patient may not work at all for another.

The hormone medications will be monitored closely through the entire process. Your doctor may order changes to the drugs you take as well as the dosage of your medications many times in order to ensure continued success of your journey. This is normal and is not a cause for concern.

Typically the surrogate is released from medication between the 10th and 12th week of pregnancy. That time estimate is just a guideline and actual release may come earlier or later. When the surrogate is released from medication it is a weaning process that generally takes several days.

Any questions or concerns you experience during your medical cycle can and should be discussed with your case specialist and/or nurse right away.

 

*Revised 8/28/18

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: An Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Red Wheel Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.