Surrogacy is different from regular pregnancy in numerous ways, but the most obvious being, it’s not something that can occur naturally or accidentally.
Pregnancy for surrogacy is achieved through In Vitro Fertilization which requires medical intervention to suppress your regular ovulation cycle and essentially hack your body into accepting an implanted embryo without an ovulation cycle.
This is done with hormone medications that often include oral medications, vaginal suppositories, intramuscular injections, and lots of monitoring by the Reproductive Endocrinologist.
Once a medication cycle begins, it usually takes about 2-4 weeks for your uterine lining to be optimal for embryo implantation, but the doctor will check your lining weekly through ultrasound and lab work to make sure it’s ready.
Once the doctor decides the time is right and the date and time are set, things start moving on a very strict timeline. Embryo/s are defrosted and transfer time is set to the exact hour to make sure the embryo is ready to transfer at exactly the right time, so your schedule needs to be flexible to accommodate this.
Because all of this effort is taken to achieve pregnancy, many doctors require surrogates to rest for 24-48 hours and lay around doing nothing to make sure nothing disturbs the implantation of the embryo, giving it the best chance of success.
In your own pregnancy, the first signs might have been a missed period or fatigue when you are around 5-7 weeks pregnant. With IVF pregnancy, the exact moment of conception is known and you’ll know within 10 days whether or not you’re pregnant.
In your personal pregnancies, you may not see a doctor until around 10-12 weeks of pregnancy and then you may see the doctor once a month after that. With IVF pregnancy, everything is closely monitored in the early weeks and you will most likely see the doctor once per week if not more. The heartbeat will be confirmed by ultrasound around 6 weeks, before it’s even able to be heard. Your hormone levels will be monitored closely to make sure you’re taking the proper amount of medications to sustain the pregnancy until your body catches up and the placenta begins producing them itself.
It’s a very exciting, but also can be a very nerve-wracking and time consuming first trimester!
The other big difference that makes all of this easier to bear, is that you’ll begin receiving your compensation which will be broken into ten monthly installments starting upon heartbeat confirmation. This makes all the appointments, medications, and possible nausea a lot more palatable!