How Your Transfer Date is Determined

The arrival of your medical and transfer calendar is a big day. It outlines what medications you’ll take leading up to your embryo transfer as well as what day your targeted transfer will take place. However, many surrogates find themselves confused as to what takes so long to create this calendar. Here’s a look at how the process works.

The first thing to understand is that calendars can not be created until every other requirement has been met by you and your intended parents. All medical tests need to be completed, all accounts need to be adequately funded, and all legal paperwork needs to be finalized. Once all of these have been taken care of, intended parents and their doctor need to decide on an egg donor or an IVF cycle with the intended mother.

In some cases, the egg retrieval may be completed well before the calendar for embryo transfer is completed, through the decision to create and freeze embryos. In other instances, the intended parents may opt for a “fresh” embryo transfer. This means that the surrogate and the egg donor will do their medical cycles at the same time, with the goal being to retrieve the eggs, fertilize the eggs, and transfer the embryos at the same time. In cases of a fresh embryo transfer you may experience a longer wait time between matching and transfer, as an egg donor will need to be selected by your intended parents, and your case specialist will need to match her availability to yours; you’ll both need to be available at roughly the same time.

A calendar can’t be created until logistics and availability between all parties have been obtained and confirmed. This means that the doctor, surrogate, and sometimes the egg donor and the intended parents will all need to be available at the same time. Occasionally, aligning availability can present a delay in your timeline. Additionally, delays can happen when any one of the necessary parties doesn’t respond to communication in a prompt manner.

Once all of the logistics have been decided upon and executed, your cycle nurse will create the calendar for you. This is done by working forward from the date of your last menstrual cycle, specifically by the first day of full flow. This typically happens within 5 days of stopping your oral birth control.

In most cases, the embryo transfer date is scheduled to happen after 3 weeks on medication.

You will likely be asked to start taking estrogen supplements. This typically extends for two weeks and is needed in order to help thicken and build your uterine lining. You may also be asked to take Lupron during this time in order to prevent ovulation.

During the third week prior to your transfer, you will likely be asked to start taking progesterone. Many surrogates will need to do this both vaginally and through an intramuscular injection. This drug is needed in order to stabilize the uterus for transfer as well as direct the body to begin producing pregnancy-required tissue in the event that the embryo does implant and pregnancy does occur.

Of course, every calendar will be a bit different and is often contingent upon which medications your specific doctor chooses. Not all surrogates will be prescribed the same medications, and as a result, not all calendars will be identical. If you have specific questions about your calendar, don’t be afraid to ask your nurse about specifics. Your case specialist should also be able to help if you have questions.

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.