It’s no secret: Gestational surrogacy can be confusing. The process of conceiving through this assisted reproductive method is vastly different from a “traditional” pregnancy — and, for those who are new to the process, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to the surrogacy medical process in South Carolina.
That’s where the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson come in. Whether you’re an intended parent or prospective surrogate, our team of surrogacy professionals is here to guide you through every step of your gestational surrogacy process — including the upcoming medical surrogacy treatment that will be required.
Unlike other law firms, our law offices can provide practical and emotional support throughout your surrogacy journey. We’re here to help you make your surrogacy dreams come true. Learn more today by calling us at 864-573-5533 or contacting us online.
Before you get started, though, it’s important that you fully understand the surrogacy medical process awaiting you. It’s not always an easy one, but being properly educated ahead of time will help you have the surrogacy experience you’ve always dreamed of.
Remember: Every surrogacy medical process is different, so what we present below is not intended to be medical advice. Instead, it’s a basic guide to what you can expect as you and your surrogacy partner move forward with your surrogacy treatment in South Carolina.
Step 1: Medical Screening
Before any surrogate and intended parent can get far in the surrogacy medical process, they will need to both undergo pre-surrogacy screening. Surrogacy is not right for everyone; pre-screening ensures that each party is 100 percent physically, emotionally and mentally ready for the journey ahead.
If you choose to work with our surrogacy program, you will need to undergo certain background screenings and interviews before you are matched with a surrogate or intended parent. After matching, a gestational carrier will need to undergo medical screening, which can include:
- A detailed review of her (and potentially her partner’s) medical and sexual history
- A physical exam that includes a saline infusion sonohysterography, which is an ultrasound of her uterus
- Lab testing of her blood and urine
During this step, intended parents and their surrogate must also undergo psychological screening separately and then together. This counseling will make sure all parties are on the same page about their surrogacy expectations, views regarding difficult medical decisions, anticipated contact between the parties and more.
Only after this medical and psychological screening is completed and all parties are cleared can a legal surrogacy contract be signed — and both parties can move forward with the surrogacy medical process.
Step 2: Preparation for Embryo Transfer
After screening is complete, a gestational carrier will work with her reproductive endocrinologist to prepare for the IVF and embryo transfer process. A mock cycle may be a part of this.
In a mock cycle, a surrogate receives the same medications that she will take during the embryo transfer process. Her hormone levels and health will be monitored to ensure she is responding to the medication and will be ready for the transfer of the intended parents’ embryo.
If she responds well to the mock cycle, or if her reproductive endocrinologist rules a mock cycle unnecessary, the surrogate will prepare her body for the upcoming embryo transfer process. This will involve many of the same medications and surrogacy treatments as the mock cycle, although the process may change depending on whether her intended parents are using frozen embryos or completing a fresh embryo transfer.
The reproductive endocrinologist will talk at length with you and your surrogacy partner about each of these processes before you get started with any surrogacy treatment. That way, you will be fully aware of the extra steps and personalized procedures before you get too far in the surrogacy medical process.
Step 3: Embryo Transfer Procedure
The actual embryo transfer part of the surrogacy medical process is relatively quick, easy and painless. Depending on her medical protocol, a gestational carrier will stop taking certain medications immediately prior to the transfer procedure.
Typically, a surrogate undergoes the embryo transfer procedure at the fertility clinic of her intended parents’ choosing. Our team will make sure that a carrier’s travel costs and lost wages are always covered during this procedure.
Depending on the surrogacy contract, a reproductive endocrinologist will transfer one or two embryos to the surrogate’s uterus via a syringe with a thin, flexible catheter. The syringe will be inserted through the cervix into the uterus, and an abdominal ultrasound will be used to ensure the exact placement of the embryos.
While the procedure is quick and easy, a surrogate may be required to rest for a few hours or days after the transfer is completed.
Step 4: Confirmation of Pregnancy
About a week after the embryo transfer, a surrogate typically returns to her intended parents’ clinic for a confirmation of her pregnancy. An HCG test (which measures pregnancy hormone levels) is completed, with medical professionals looking for a count of at least 50 or higher. Another test will be administered two days later to confirm the numbers continue to rise.
If this is the case, a surrogate is officially pregnant and she is able to move onto the most exciting part in the surrogacy medical process — pregnancy!
Keep in mind that not all embryo transfers are successful on the first attempt. Our team will ensure your surrogacy contract addresses failed transfers and the steps to take should they occur.
Step 5: Six-Week Ultrasound
As a gestational pregnancy progresses, a surrogate and her intended parents will stay in contact per the terms of their surrogacy agreement. This can include texts and emails, photos and phone calls, and more. Many intended parents want to be present for big moments in the surrogacy medical process — one of which is the six-week ultrasound.
During this ultrasound, the reproductive endocrinologist at the surrogacy clinic will check for a heartbeat and confirm that the fetus is developing appropriately. In most surrogacy journeys, a surrogate will start receiving her base compensation after a successful six-week ultrasound.
Step 6: Prenatal Care & Delivery
For the remainder of the pregnancy, a surrogate will receive prenatal care from her local obstetrician and keep her intended parents up to date on any news regarding her pregnancy and the baby’s development. Depending on the intended parents’ location, they may accompany the surrogate to many of these prenatal appointments.
Many intended parents will also plan to be present during a surrogate’s delivery. The two parties will create a surrogacy hospital plan detailing what to expect from this hospital stay and clearing up any confusion that may remain about this step in the surrogacy medical process. For most of our clients, the childbirth experience is a priceless one that both parties treasure for years to come.
When you work with our team at the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson, we will guide you through every step of your surrogacy journey, should you desire. That means assisting you through the surrogacy medical process in South Carolina, as well. We are happy to provide references to local medical professionals you need and coordinate with them as needed. If you’re simply interested in legal guidance, we can do that, too. We are here to create the kind of surrogacy experience you want.
For more information about the entire process of surrogacy in South Carolina, please contact our team today.