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What To Know If You’re Considering Getting a Surrogate

Lately, in the media, we hear a lot about celebrity women using surrogacy as an option for becoming a parent. Despite the news stories, the concept of surrogacy and the medical acronyms associated with it are still unknown t to most.

Furthermore, the procedures themselves might seem unfamiliar to a person who hasn’t studied reproductive technology.

Although every situation is unique and customized to the individuals involved, for those who have ever considered getting a surrogate or becoming one, these are the medically significant milestones that occur during the process.

Medical and psychological testing

Women who express interest in being a surrogate are tested rigorously to ensure they have the best chance of carrying a healthy pregnancy and can withstand the rigors of IVF. Standard screenings include checking for any physical conditions which could endanger their ability to be a surrogate, and psychological screenings to ensure they can withstand the powerful emotions and situations surrounding the process. 

Trial with a mock cycle

After successfully passing all tests, the medical team will test their body’s reaction to the medications and process of IVF by performing a mock cycle. Surrogate candidates receive all medications necessary to prepare for conception and help the embryo develop while hormone levels, blood work, and ultrasounds are monitored. Medical professionals will customize the tests to their particular program priorities and the women’s unique medical profile.

A fertility specialist will develop an individualized medication plan to coordinate and control the surrogate’s cycle based on your body and the circumstances of your surrogacy.

Embryo transfer

If all conditions are favorable for successful implantation, their reproductive endocrinologist will prepare her body for the transfer. Most women take progesterone before the embryo transfer and continue through the twelfth week of pregnancy to maintain an appropriate and stable level of hormones for successful implantation. The oral steroid Medrol suppresses the surrogate’s autoimmune system to increase the chance of successful implantation. The embryos are placed directly into the uterus through a thin, flexible catheter which is inserted through the cervix. After that, she is sent home to rest for a few days.

Confirmation of pregnancy

The reproductive team will perform a non-invasive pregnancy test after nine days and repeated two days later. Pregnancy is confirmed after the results of the second test show an increase in pregnancy hormones. Many surrogates require more than one embryo transfer to become pregnant successfully.

If you’re considering using a surrogate or egg donor, you need to know if it’s right for you. Although there may be unfamiliar medical procedures during the process, every test and medication helps ensure your surrogate’s safety and boost your chances of success at having a family.

The medical professionals on your team will monitor and advise you at every step of the process.

It’s important to seek out a reputable and professional surrogacy medical team to help you determine your goals and preferences. Individuals are unique, so the process is different for each person and situation. Your medical team can give you a more detailed idea of what your journey to becoming a parent through surrogacy and will look like before you commit to a contract.

Celebrity Infertility, Gestational Surrogacy and the Vanity Stigma

Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick, their then 7-year old son James and twins Marion & Tabitha Broderick delivered via gestational surrogate in June 2009.
Within the past year, Jimmy Fallon and his wife, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, The View host comedienne Sherri Shepherd, veteran songwriter and former American Idol Kara DioGuardi all openly shared that they were blessed with babies using a gestational carrier.
Different women have varying reasons for choosing this method to give birth but most are health related. Celebrity women are no different.
Like DioGuardi  E! Entertainment hostess Giuliana Rancic suffered through infertility, several failed in vitro fertilization attempts and at least one miscarriage before opting on a gestational carrier. The surrogate pregnancy of their son Edward Duke was the subject of her Style channel reality TV show Giuliana and Bill

Camille Grammer, the ex wife of Kelsey Grammer and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reality TV star reportedly suffers from irritable bowel syndrome which prevented her from being able to carry her own kids and forcing her to bring her two children, Mason and Olivia, into this world via a carrier.

Elizabeth Banks’ two kids were birthed via gestational surrogate. Her recent child was just birthed last November.

And before Nicole Kidman finally settled on a carrier given her advanced maternal age, she had two miscarriages trying to conceive the traditional way. 

After having her first child “naturally”, Sarah Jessica Parker struggled to conceive again and turned to surrogacy to deliver her twin girls in 2009.  

After 7 years of failed attempts to conceive, actress Angela Bassett and husband Courtney Vance welcomed twins Brownyn and Slater in 2006.

Irrespective of the reasons, there remains a stigma and unspoken presumption among many that women who conceive this way are trying to save their bodies from the stretching out, pigmentation and other trauma and stresses of carrying a child, including excessive weight gain in some cases. Camille Grammer‘s co-stars reportedly went on record saying that was her true reason for not having her babies through conventional methods. 

Former cast member Adrienne Maloof was under a similar controversy after castmate Brandi Granville revealed during a dinner party that was taped for airing on the Bravo TV show that Maloof’s two children were born via a carrier. Apparently, Maloof had previously spoken about actually carrying her babies herself.  I don’t know if this is true. Don’t sue me, Adrienne. Read this post from Tamara Tattles which covers it well.

It’s a tough route to go especially considering that no matter how you explain your reasons for using a carrier, there will always be a cloud of suspicion that they were truly for vanity sake.

And when a star does admit that she is afraid of the effects pregnancy  would have on her body, she is harshly criticized over it. 

Biggest Loser star Jillian Michaels got a lot of heat and flak after saying that she had decided to adopt a child rather than try to get pregnant because she worked too hard to have the body she has and was not willing to let pregnancy ruin it.

The New York Times has a wonderful, but a bit lengthy, piece, “Her Body, My Baby” written by a woman who welcomed a child via a surrogate. It’s a worthwhile read for anyone thinking of going that road to have a child. 

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A Utah woman, 58, to give birth to own granddaughter soon

courtesy Salt Lake Tribune/Al Hartmann
A 58-year old Utah grandmother will soon give birth to her first grandchild, a baby girl.  

Julia Navarro is the gestational surrogate carrier for her daughter Lorena McKinnon and son-in-law Micah McKinnon.
The couple had trouble to conceive “naturally” starting three years ago, and went through about a dozen miscarriages when Navarro offered to carry the baby after a sister and friend offered, then backed out.
“As a family, we have to help each other,” Navarro, a Peruvian immigrant,  told The Salt Lake Tribune.””I was praying, ‘If this baby works, I am going to help others.’ “
Navarro underwent 3-months of hormone shots before she could have an embryo fertilized by her daughter, a SkyWest flight attendant and son-in-law. Despite the 45% success odds given Navarro’s advanced age, the procedure work.
And in a few weeks, she’ll be delivering her own grandbaby.
This is not the first time this has happened. 
Last year, a 53-year-old Iowa woman gave birth to her twin granddaughters. And in 2012, a 49-year-old woman in Maine gave birth to her grandson.
Read more about this story in the Salt Lake Tribune. 

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