Karen Erikson is a mom and a former surrogate, who lives in the Inland Empire (Temecula/Murrieta area) and would like others to know what it’s like to become a surrogate.
Even though 2020 is now behind us, I am carrying something big with me into 2021. I started my second journey as a gestational surrogate and had my embryo transfer in October 2020. I was just over a year postpartum from delivering surrogate twins at the time of my embryo transfer. Here is what my new journey with early pregnancy during surrogacy looks like so far…
When you are first starting your surrogacy journey, you have a lot of appointments. It is so different from a personal pregnancy. With a personal pregnancy you might not see your OB until you are approximately 8-10 weeks gestation. With a surrogacy, you are seen by the fertility clinic frequently after the embryo transfer.
Most likely, you will experience weekly ultrasounds to check for heartbeat, growth, and to make sure everything is going well with the embryo (or embryos) that was transferred. Your clinic might have you visit a lab for weekly blood draws to check hormone levels. It can be overwhelming, especially when you are trying to juggle a job, kids, distance learning, managing a household…you get the idea. And that’s why it is so important to have your support network in place.
During a personal pregnancy, you have your partner as your main support. During surrogacy this doesn’t change, you just have more people you can turn to if you need help. Weekly after each appointment my coordinator team from my agency would check in with me to see how everything was going. Any time I need anything, I can reach out to my coordinator team. They really become close to you during the journey.
Depending on the IVF clinic that you are going through, you “graduate” to your own OB when the baby is measuring between 10-12 weeks gestation. This means that you will go from seeing the IVF clinic weekly to seeing your own OB just as if this were a normal pregnancy. At this point in my journey, I have graduated to my own OB and am now waiting for my first appointment. (COVID-19 has made it challenging to schedule appointments, which is why patience is an important part of the surrogacy process.)
Early pregnancy during surrogacy can have a lot of similarities to a personal pregnancy. It’s important that you follow the instructions your IVF clinic gives you until you graduate to your OB. These instructions can vary depending on the IVF clinic that you are going through, but could include: recommendations for diet and exercise, abstaining from drug and alcohol use, abstaining from sex, and limiting physical activity up to and including bed rest directly following the embryo transfer.
So far, this pregnancy has been amazing! I haven’t had very many bouts of morning sickness, but I will admit that I have had to suffer through some food aversions. Apparently, this baby is picky when it comes to some of my favorite foods.
If you are interested in starting your own surrogacy journey or have questions about early pregnancy and surrogacy, please reach out to me on Instagram: @surro_adventures. I will gladly help you with your application and answer any questions that you might have about the process and about my own personal journeys.
Extraordinary Conceptions is a local surrogacy agency in So. Cal that can help guide you along the way. Education and information is empowering, and they strive to provide that to all of their clients, especially with extra support for their surrogate mothers. Extraordinary Conceptions can help you decide if surrogacy is right for you and your family. Here are some things you should know when deciding on becoming a surrogate!
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash