How is Surrogate Pregnancy Different?

pregnant woman in field 2

We are often asked by new surrogates, “what will be different about this pregnancy?” For the most part, in terms of the pregnancy itself, a surrogate pregnancy doesn’t differ much from a personal one. It is the conditions that surround the pregnancy that will likely differ from what you’re used to. In general, surrogate pregnancies just mean more of everything.


More Medications

While your own pregnancy may have required just a daily pre-natal vitamin, your surrogate pregnancy will require many more.  All gestational carriers become pregnant by means of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), which may be brand new to you. The process includes an array of medications used to prepare your body to receive an embryo, and later to sustain a pregnancy until your body recognizes the embryo and begins to produce the needed hormones on its own. These medications often include daily injections and pills taken multiple times per day.

More Medical Tests

Many Intended Parents will opt to participate in several additional screening tests that you may not have chosen to participate in with your own children. From nuchal-translucency (NT) scans to additional screenings, these tests are often completed at the will of the desire of your Intended Parents, and may be new to you. The parents may also wish to know the gender of the child, or ask you to avoid gender detection, and either could be a new experience to you as well.

More Doctors

In a surrogate pregnancy you can expect to see more doctors than you likely ever saw with your own children. You will first see a nursing staff at a monitoring clinic near your home prior to embryo transfer. These monitoring nurses will collect blood samples to help your IVF nurse keep tabs on your hormones and complete ultrasounds to help monitor your uterine pattern. The monitoring clinic staff will continue to take blood samples after transfer, in order to test for a positive pregnancy and continued hormone levels.

In addition to monitoring and IVF nurses, you’ll also be working with an RE, a reproductive endocrinologist. It is this doctor, likely in a different state than you, who will complete your medical screening and embryo transfer.

At roughly 10-13 weeks gestation, you will be released from your first medical team, allowing your personal OB to take over for the rest of the pregnancy.

More People

Your labor and delivery experience may differ from what you’ve experienced before as well. While most women deliver with just their partner and perhaps one other person in the room, many surrogates desire to deliver in the presence of both their personal support system, as well as the intended parents. As surrogates also have children of their own, you can expect a busier than normal recovery unit as well.

More Love

Yes, achieving and completing a surrogacy pregnancy means more medicine, more doctors, more planning, and more patience than your pregnancies likely did. But you should also know that these pregnancies are also so richly involve love. Our surrogates tell us time and time again that their birthing experience was a moment so thick with love and emotion that it is difficult to put into words. Know that along with the “more” that may seem daunting, comes a “more” that can be nothing short of life changing.

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: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari 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.