Depo-provera is a medication many women take as a form of birth control. Its actual name is “Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA)”. It is a long-lasting method, in that one dose lasts for 12-13 weeks before the next dose needs to be administered. Depo-provera is taken by injection.
Just like “the pill”, depo-provera can also be used for regulating a woman’s menstrual cycles. In other words, although it is most commonly viewed as a form of contraception, that is only one of its uses. Many women who are not sexually active take this medication to remain regular.
Of course, any birth control method is there to prevent a woman from getting pregnant – to prevent her from actually conceiving a child of her own. And this one works with an astounding 0.3% failure rate for perfect use. In other words, during the three months after an injection, it is almost the perfect contraception. But even after that, it takes 8 to 9 months on average for a woman’s fertility to return, and 18 months for almost all women to be as fertile as they were prior to beginning the medication.
But what if she wants to be a surrogate mother? What if she is on the medication during surrogacy? Or what if she was recently on depo-provera , just prior to signing up as a surrogate? Will depo-provera also prevent her from accepting an IVF embryo from being implanted in her uterus?
The short answer is…yes and no. Yes, it will prevent a woman from serving as a surrogate mother while she is still under the effects of the contraceptive, whatever form that takes. So that applies to depo-provera . No, it won’t permanently prevent her from being a surrogate. For depo-provera , you will have to stop injections at least 6 – 12 months prior to applying to be a surrogate. And you might be asked to make sure to have had at least 3 – 4 regular menstrual cycles before applying.
But it is not just surrogates that this affects. Even egg donors are often required to be off this medication for at least 6 – 12 months and have had at least 3 – 4 regular menstrual cycles before their eggs will be accepted in a donor program. This is important to be certain that the eggs are fertile at the time of the IVF procedure. This is the same as with any form of birth control, whether it be the pill or an IUD; it is critical that all effects of the birth control have dissipated before an egg can be donated.
The bottom line is that any form of contraception with temporary results is a temporary block from serving as a surrogate. End the contraception, get into a regular menstrual routine and you are back in the game and ready to apply. Make sure all your other medical ducks are lined up, and you are ready to go.Return to Blog