When a woman first decides to become a surrogate, it might not occur to her that surrogacy involved medications. But it is, after all, a medical procedure. And it is not a natural process, where the body prepares itself to undergo changes.
A surrogate candidate will naturally want to know what medications will be going in her body. Here is a quick rundown.
You will be asked to take a low dose of aspirin (81-83 mg low-dose baby aspirin) orally to get started. This will help stimulate your cycles and make embryo implantation easier (less chance of failure). You’ll keep taking the aspirin through your first trimester.
You will take this prior to embryo transfer. It is important to synchronize your cycle with the intended mother’s, and birth control will help achieve that.
This is a preventative medication to treat low-grade pelvic or prostate infection that could occur. Both the surrogate mother and her partner take this orally.
Estrogen isn’t technically a medication; rather, it is a hormone, and it helps maintain a stable pregnancy is the first trimester. You might be given Vivelle Patches (also known as “estradiol transdermal”), usually placed on the abdomen, delivering the hormone through the skin. However, estrogen can also be taken in pill form.
This is one of the better known surrogacy medications, and one of the first to be administered. It is a suppressive medication. The basic goal of lupron is create a “medical menopause”. It does this by turning off the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinzing hormone (LH) that your brain would otherwise release. FSH and LH stimulate your overies. Turning these hormones off allows the doctors to measure your baseline starting point. You’ll get lupron through an injection.
This is perhaps the best known “medication” in the surrogacy process. In fact, it’s a hormone. More specifically, it is the hormone that prepares your uterus lining for the embryo. It is essential to help support and maintain the embryo in relation to the uterus early in pregnancy. There are two ways you might get this hormone: as a vaginal suppository or as an intramuscular injection. Progesterone is also sometimes known as “prometrium” or “endometrin”.
This is another preventative medication taken orally. Tetracycline helps prevent infection during the embryo transfer. As it embryo transfer is a medical procedure, this is a worthwhile precaution.
Of course, these are not medication. But every pregnancy compels us to make sure we are pumping enough nutrition into the body to ensure both a healthy baby and a healthy mother to carry it through to term. A surrogacy requires the same nutrition as any other pregnancy.
You might wonder about side effects. There are three things we can safely say. First, there are many possible side effects across the array of medications and hormones. Second, these side effects are generally mild and temporary. Third, they will vary by person and so will their strength. Most surrogate mothers don’t feel any or almost any side effects.