The Jargon of Surrogacy; Part 1

Couple Thinking & Looking at Laptop

The jargon of gestational surrogacy can be a lot to take in. Surrounded by shorthand abbreviations and phrases that you’re not likely to hear at your local coffee shop, it can often be a bit overwhelming. Here’s a glimpse at some of the phrases you may hear leading up to your first transfer.

 

IPs– Intended Parents. The term is broad and can apply to two men, two women, a single parent or a heterosexual couple. In any instance, it is usually these people who submit at least half of the genetic makeup of the child to be.

IF– Intended Father. In situations of a male-male homosexual couple, IF’s is often used in place of IP’s.

IM– Intended Mother. In some cases this woman may be providing her own egg to be fertilized. If she is unable to do that she will need the help of an ED, or egg donor.

GS: Gestational Surrogate. A GS is a person who agrees to carry and birth a child who will bear no biological relation to her.

HSC: Hysteroscopy. This is a medical procedure used to allow doctors to look at the inside of the uterus. A scope with a light is inserted through the cervix and the images are transferred to an external screen. The procedure can be done to diagnose abnormal bleeding, troubleshoot problems with conception or remove polyps inside of the uterus.

IVF– In Vitro Fertilization. A common method of producing pregnancy in couples who otherwise struggle with infertility. In this method an egg and sperm are manually combined outside of the body. The embryos are later placed inside the uterus to grow.

PGD– Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis. This is a term that applies to genetic testing completed before the embryos are placed inside of the uterus. The tests can often identify genetic disease and disorder prior to implantation, helping to reduce the instance of selective reduction due to these factors.

PGS– Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening. Also known as Genesis 24. This procedure notes a biopsy taken at day 3 or 5 of embryo growth to screen for potential chromosomal abnormalities. The test can detect the presence of all 24 chromosomes, including those determining the sex of the embryo. The screening can highlight the presence of abnormal amounts of chromosomes that can suggest occurrence of Downs Syndrome.

ICSI– Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection- This is a method of egg fertilization in which a needle is used to inject single sperm into an egg. This method allows for fertilization in circumstances where there may be difficulty collecting large amounts of quality sperm.

Triple Stripe: The triple stripe is a coveted image that appears on a surrogate’s transvaginal ultrasound during the monitoring phase. The image is created when the lining of the uterus becomes thick enough to touch in the middle, creating the absence of empty space between the uterine walls.

FET: Frozen Embryo Transfer. Embryos not needed for an immediate transfer may be frozen.  Weeks, months or years later they can be thawed and implanted using similar methods to those used in fresh egg transfers.

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.