Things are pretty quiet over here on the surrogacy blog. Sadly, we just aren't that exciting yet! lol! Soon... Soon!
Until we have something, anything going on, I thought I'd talk a little bit about surrogacy in general.
There are many reasons that a couple might turn to surrogacy as an option for building their family. A few I have personally ran across-- non-functioning uterus , older age, many failed attempts at IVF themselves, hysterectomy. Surrogacy is never the first option for traditional couples (it can very well be for gay couples), and is not a decision to be taken lightly.
As an adoptive mother myself, I have had people as me why I support surrogacy when there are so many children out there waiting for a family. Adoption is a wonderful way to build your family- there is no doubt about that. I fully support adoption! However, I also feel that surrogacy is a wonderful way. To me, surrogacy has a better guarantee than adoption where the birth mother may back out at anytime. I can understand why IPs would look at surrogacy for their children. They get the guarantee that they will have these children, they get the genetic connection for those that feel this is important, they get to experience the pregnancy from the beginning to end. Do I feel one option is better than the other? Absolutely not. I think everyone needs to discover that for themselves.
Now, onto surrogacy...
There are two types of surrogacy - Traditional (where the surrogate uses her own egg ) and Gestational (where the surrogate is just the carrier, no biological tie involved). Since I am a Gestational Surrogate, we'll talk about that.
As a Gestational Surrogate- I am just the carrier. The babysitter , if you will. I once saw a surro / pregnancy shirt that said "Extreme Babysitting" , yep- that's me! I have no genetic tie to the babies that I carry whatsoever. This is made painfully clear with the mounds of shots that I will inject into my body. Believe me, getting pregnant as a gestational surrogate is 100% scientific that you have no doubt in your mind that this is not your kid.
In gestational surrogacy - IVF is used to create the embryos that are transferred into the surrogate. An egg donor and a sperm donor is needed in order to create the embryos. Most of the time, the egg & sperm donors are the Intended Parents themselves, however there are times when either the Intended Mother or Intended Father have issues and need to look toward a donor. So far, in my surrogacies I have not dealt with the Intended Parents needing donors.
A big thing to think about when being a gestational surrogate is the medications that you will take.
Birth Control Pills - Not a big deal at all. They do have side effects - for me , headaches and weight gain. BLAH!
Lupron - a medication that stops the brain from secreting hormones to control your menstrual cycle. Your ovaries go to 'sleep' and your cycle is very easily manipulated. There is an injection or nasal spray option. I have only used the injection. It is a tiny insulin size needle that you give in your tummy. If you have a little extra cushion there to begin with (*raises hand *) then it doesn't hurt a bit. Lupron can give you hot flashes, fatigue, headaches, nausea & irritability.. Hmm a preview of menopause.. lol.
Estrogen- the hormone that thickens the lining uterus. This can be given as a tablet, an injection or a patch. I have personally used the patch version. Tons of possible side effects - dizziness, headaches (hmm everything gives us headaches, doesn't it!), upset stomach, bloating (don't need that!), weight changes (or that!), breast tenderness.
Progesterone- the hormone that is produced by the ovaries after ovulation. Progesterone can be given to help improve the uterine lining (possibly helping encourage the implantation of the embryo). You normally start this a few days prior to the embryo transfer and continue for several weeks after transfer (given a + pregnancy test). Again this depends on your RE/Clinic standards. Progesterone can be given as a capsule, an intravaginal suppository or as an intramuscular injection. Sadly, I have only dealt with the intramuscular injection- aka the BIG ASS needle in the butt. I dread this part or the meds and am crossing my fingers that maybe, just maybe the clinic has changed it's protocol in the 10yrs since my last cycle with them.. lol. It could happen. Ahh well, if not, those big ass shots worked last time and I'll do them again!
Doxycycline - an antibiotic - sometimes used as an anti-rejection technique. We ,as surrogates, are putting an embryo made up of two other people. I believe I took my doxy pills for a week -10days..
Medrol - a steroid , also used as an anti-rejection technique. The only side effect I got from this was the lovely flushed look of steroid use. lol. No blush needed!
Let's see how much (if any) the RE's protocol has changed since I last did it.. I should get that information at my medical screening next week! Woohoo! Only 11 more days!
In addition to the meds, there are tons of appointments - blood work, ultrasounds to check lining. While we sit and twiddle our thumbs now, I know that very soon things will be crazy busy! Don't worry, I plan on documenting every appointment- no matter how boring! ha :)