How Your Medical & Transfer Calendars Are Made

The arrival of your medical and transfer calendar is a big day. It outlines what medications your surrogate will be taking leading up to embryo transfer as well as what day the targeted transfer will take place. Here’s a look at how the process works.

The first thing to understand is that calendars cannot be created until every other requirement has been met by you and your surrogate. 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, you’ll need to also have decided on an egg donor or, if you’re using your own eggs, and IVF cycle and retrieval date for yourself.  

In some cases, the egg retrieval may be completed well before the calendar is completed. Or, you 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 without ever freezing them. Understand that success rates are nearly identical between fresh and frozen transfers, so this is really just a preference choice.

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, and your case specialist will need to match her availability to your surrogate’s, as they’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 potentially 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. This is done by working forward from the date of your surrogate’s last menstrual cycle, specifically the first day of full flow. This typically happens within 5 days of stopping oral birth control.

In most cases, the embryo transfer date is scheduled to happen after 3 weeks on medication. Typically the surrogate starts with an estrogen protocol lasting two weeks followed by progesterone therapy beginning roughly seven days prior to your targeted embryo transfer date.

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 22 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for the last 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 of Reproductive Medicine, the American Fertility Association, 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 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 created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 28 years and their two teenage daughters.