The human body is a miraculous and wondrous vehicle for so many things, not the least of which is reproduction – to create more beautiful human bodies. For that very reason it is incredibly complex, and the reproductive system is as complex as any other part of our bodies.
Modern science has helped us better understand our bodies, and in so doing we have surrogacy as a work-around for when natural childbirth just is not in the cards. But surrogacy is not a simple process. Apart from the logistical, legal, psychological and emotional aspects, the basic medical process is complex in itself.
The surrogate mother needs to be prepared to receive the embryo. With natural childbirth, the mother is prepared naturally. Systems kick in. Hormones start pumping. The body changes.
A surrogate mother’s body changes only if the medical team provides the proper medications and hormones to do so. The lining of the uterus normally gets thicker as it prepares to nurture the fetus. If the lining is not thick enough, it will not be able to accept the embryo. The blood flow to the fetus also depends on the quality of the lining.
To give you some idea of the various medications that the surrogate takes to synchronize her body with nurturing a baby in the womb, here is a typical list…
First there is Lupron, which might or might not be used in the “mock cycle”. The mock cycle is a test run to see how your body reacts to the various medications and hormones before doing the real thing. It is possible that a potential surrogate mother cannot actually play the surrogate role, so it is important to make sure she can before going through the whole process.
Lupron helps control the levels of estrogen in the surrogate mother. It precedes taking birth control, so as to synchronize the menstrual cycles of the intended mother and the surrogate mother.
Estrogen will then be given directly, usually in either a pill or a patch form.
Progesterone comes next, and this is usually given as a suppository or an injection.
Through all this, the lining of the uterus should thicken enough to accept the embryo, which will be placed in the uterus. But the embryo has to get implanted in the lining. Otherwise, the surrogate mother’s body will not recognize a pregnancy and will flush the uterus and create a miscarriage. In fact, lining issues are sometimes part of the infertility issues that cause an intended mother to seek a surrogate in the first place.
Once the lining is thick enough, the doctor will give the OK to go ahead and insert the embryo. That embryo will have to be ready, so there is a parallel process to retrieve an egg and fertilize it, so that the embryo is at the right stage of development when the surrogate mother’s lining is ready to receive it.
Yes, the process is complicated. And the lining has to be just right. That’s why the lining must be checked.Return to Blog