How to Prepare for Surrogacy
You’ve been thinking about ways to help support your family while still having plenty of time with them. Surrogacy has become a great option, and you’ve started doing more research. You may have reached out to a surrogacy agency (like us!) to get your questions answered or may have signed on and already started the application process.
While you’re figuring out if surrogacy is the right choice for you and your family, there are things you can start to do to prepare for a potential journey. Here’s a list of guidelines that you can consider to ensure that once you’ve finished your application, you can get matched even more quickly.
There are so many options available, both over the counter and by prescription. Trying to decide which one is best for you and for a surrogacy pregnancy might feel overwhelming. Some vitamins and minerals are needed at different doses in pregnancy, and your prenatal care provider can help you choose the one that suits you the most.
When your agency sends your profile and records to an IVF clinic for review, the providers will want to know that your medical screening is as current as possible. This means making sure that you’ve had all age-appropriate cancer screening (like a Pap test and a mammogram), but it can also mean testing for thyroid dysfunction, your risk of developing diabetes, and determining your levels in certain things, such as vitamin D. Be aware that even though testing guidelines for cancer screening have changed, IVF providers might want you to have had a Pap test and/or mammogram within the last 12 months.
For many IVF clinics, it’s still a requirement for surrogates to have had at least the first two COVID vaccines, and some require that they be fully boosted as well. If you aren’t vaccinated and you aren’t against it, this is a good time to get the series started. There are some IVF providers who will accept a surrogate who’s unvaccinated but has had COVID, but having the immunizations gives your agency a bigger group of intended parents to consider matching you with.
If you’re using a long-term form of birth control, like an IUD or implant, it will need to be removed before you start your medical screening. IVF clinics need to schedule your medical screening at a specific time in your menstrual cycle, and since sometimes your periods don’t come back right away after going off the long-term options, it pays to plan ahead! You can talk to your provider about starting short-term contraception, like pills or rings, to keep you protected from accidental pregnancy in the meantime.
Some prescription medications, over-the-counter treatments, and supplements shouldn’t be taken during pregnancy. Others can be taken, but only if any benefit to you outweighs the potential risks. And some can be taken safely without risk. Now is the time to talk with your providers about which of your medications may need to be stopped, how to stop these medications safely, and what alternatives can be used if needed. Be aware that there are some medications, such as antidepressants and blood pressure medications, that need to be stopped a number of months before starting medical screening.
Pregnancy complications can increase in people with a higher BMI (body mass index). The guidelines for surrogacy are clear that people with a BMI over 35 shouldn’t be considered. Some IVF clinics lower that even more and won’t screen a potential surrogate unless her BMI is under 32 or 30. Talking with your doctor about things you can do now to maintain a healthy weight will improve your health during the surrogacy journey!
Please note that nothing in this article should be considered medical advice. Please talk to your medical provider, who can help you make the best decisions based on your specific needs.
It's important to go into a surrogacy journey as healthy as you can so that you can handle the unique stresses that come with pregnancy. Vermont Surrogacy Network takes our surrogates’ well-being very seriously and will help support you as you prepare for this life-changing journey.