Traveling with Surrogacy Medications

Most surrogates will need to travel away from their hometown in order to complete their embryo transfer. For the majority of surrogates this means that you will need to travel by air with your surrogacy medications- a reality that can cause you more than a little stress if you’re unclear on how best to manage this!

The answer to the most frequently asked question we receive is yes- your needles and injectable medications will be allowed to pass through a TSA checkpoint with no issues. Many surrogates fear that the needles could be viewed as weapons, and that you may get in trouble for having them on you. Understand that medical equipment is generally viewed in a different light than other everyday items and is rarely an issue for security guards.

If you are still nervous, ask your IVF nurse to provide a letter from the doctor stating that these medications, which must be administered via injection, are time sensitive and must be kept on you at all times. Most TSA guards won’t need to see the letter, but having it may give you additional peace of mind and help to remove any unnecessary stress.

Apart from simply being allowed to have the needles and medications on you, there are additional tips for success that you may find useful. Here are a few tricks of the trade to make travelling with IVF meds a bit easier to manage.

Don’t Check Them

It is important to NOT place your medications in your checked luggage. You may wind up needing to administer an injection during your travels, and you’ll want to ensure that you have easy access to everything that you will need. Additionally, baggage can become lost while traveling. You don’t want to risk losing your baggage, and your medications, just days before your potential transfer.

Pack Extra

Lots of surrogates use pill organizers to manage their medications. The natural tendency in these cases is to just bring pills in the daily containers for the actual days that you’ll be away from home, leaving the rest at home for safe keeping. We like to advise against packing just the amount of pills and needles that you will need. Without fail, Murphy’s Law will strike at the worst possible time, and you’ll drop a pill down the sink, the doctor will change your dosage, or you’ll need an extra syringe. The stress that this induces is simply not worth the tiny amount of space it saves to just pack the spare medications.

Managing Sharps

Packing your sharps container can feel burdensome. It takes up a lot of space in your bag and is downright bulky. A tip we love is to leave that case at home! Instead, seek out public sharps disposal bins, usually found in public bathrooms, or simply recap your sharp after injection. With this method you can toss the syringe, place the recapped sharp into a Ziploc baggie, and then dispose of it in your sharps disposal case when you return home. Of course, if your sharps disposal bin is filling up, you can contact your clinic, and if they are willing, pack it and trade it in for an empty bin at the clinic on the day of transfer.


Plan to Inject

Finally, consider your medication times and where you will be during that part of your travel. If you’re flying to get from your home to your transfer location, plan ahead! The last thing you want to be doing is finding yourself needing to inject medications in an airplane bathroom on a bumpy flight. Instead, try to inject before the flight or on a layover. If this will skew your normal injection time significantly, talk with your IVF nurse before travel to make sure that this will be acceptable.


Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s OK and normal to feel a wave of emotions leading up to the transfer. Your IVF nurse has likely heard any question you have a million times before and will be happy to help answer your questions and plan for success. 


*Revised 10/29/18

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 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 book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019) as well as the children's book You Began as a Wish (Independent Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. She has two adult daughters.