I’m going to keep this complex topic very top-level in an effort to not bore anyone, while at the same time hopefully clearing up some common confusion!
So, the first step: Most women that have ovaries produce eggs (there are a few exceptions). When you hear, “the clock is ticking” for a woman’s body – that is in reference to the age of those eggs. Many women are now choosing to freeze their eggs at a younger age OR create embryos with their significant others (and freezing them), which is AWESOME!
In 2015, when I was 27, Jon and I did IVF (In vitro fertilization): A process of fertilization where an egg is combined with sperm outside the body. The process involves monitoring and SERIOUSLY stimulating a woman’s ovulatory process, removing as many eggs as possible from the ovaries (normally a woman drops 1 egg/month, they took 22 eggs from me during this procedure). The eggs are then fertilized with sperm in a liquid laboratory. This creates an EMBRYO! Remember that eggs are completely different than embryos. Jon and I created 12 embryos that were genetically tested. 6 were chromosomally “normal”.
Since I was born with no oven for our bun, we need a gestational carrier. Gestational carriers and surrogates are not the same, a surrogate is someone who donates her egg and then subsequently carries the child; she is genetically linked to that baby. Today, such cases of true surrogacy are very rare but the word surrogacy is often interchangeably used. In the case of a gestational carrier, the woman carrying the pregnancy is in no way biologically related to the child she is carrying; the eggs and sperm are derived from the “intended parents” The egg is fertilized in the lab, and then the embryo (or embryos) is placed into the uterus of the gestational carrier.
The gestational carrier goes through about 30 days of shots to prepare her uterus for the embryo transfer. Below is a snapshot of what that preparation of medications looks like (very similar to an IVF medication calendar)!
Our second embryo transfer is on January 21st (as you can see on the calendar!) 10 days after the transfer is the first blood-pregnancy test!
There are literally hundreds of considerations when starting the process of gestational surrogacy. The agency that we are working with is FANTASTIC and handles pretty much everything logistically (appointments, paperwork, lawyers, escrow funds). Please message me if you have any agency specific questions!
Frequently asked question:
Question: Does the baby receive blood or anything else from the gestational carrier?
Answer: No. The placenta receives blood vessels from the carrier, which transfer nutrients to the baby, but there is no blood exchange between the baby and carrier. The baby is not genetically related to the carrier in any way.
Different Types of Surrogacy by Definition:
In-country (often called domestic): A gestational mother and intended parent(s) live in the same country.
Gestational: A gestational mother carries an embryo created from sperm and eggs from intended parents or providers.
International (often called transnational or cross-border): A gestational mother and intended parent(s) live in different countries.
Altruistic: A gestational mother does not receive payment (beyond pregnancy-related expenses).
Commercial: A gestational mother receives payment.
Thousands of babies have been born through surrogacy/gestational carriers in the United States for the past 30 years. However, there is still a significant amount of confusion and grey area (ethically, legally, religiously) surrounding the topic. Hopefully this clears up some common confusions! Please feel free to ask me any questions and as always, thank you for your love and support on our #RoadtoBabyMisch!