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It is well known that a pregnancy’s three trimesters
span a total of nine months. For some women, those months fly by, and for
others they seem to creep along. Despite revolving around pregnancy, the surrogacy
process actually takes much longer than those nine months—on average of 14 to 20
months—in what some surrogate mothers refer to as the “hurry up and wait”
timeline.
Why the longer process? Surrogacy involves many
elements that require patience and flexibility. Though the timeline launches
quickly with the application, medical evaluation, and matchmaking, there’s
often a waiting period to endure before embryo transfer and the ultimate
pregnancy.
Application
and Interview

Every surrogacy begins with an application, now
commonly available online. It could take a week or two to hear from the agency
with whom you applied, at which point it’s time to schedule an interview. The
interview is very important because it helps you and the agency get to know
each other and ask any pressing questions.

Finding Your Match

Once it’s been confirmed that you are healthy and
prepared for your journey as a surrogate mother, it’s up to your agency to find
your perfect match with intended parents. There’s no one specific length of
time for this portion of the process; some surrogate mothers are matched nearly
instantly, while others wait a bit to find intended parents who perfectly echo
their own beliefs. Once a successful match is made, you’ll meet your intended
parents, get to know each other, and confirm that the match will prove to be a fruitful
partnership before contracts are negotiated.
Once matched, surrogate mothers will go through
medical and psychological evaluations for clearance to ensure a healthy
pregnancy.
Contracts

After the hustle and bustle of the interview, match
up, and medical screening, the contract process can feel drawn out. These
contracts are legal documents clearly stating the intentions and requirements
of all involved parties. They are often the safety net for the tricky “what
ifs” in a surrogacy situation.
Since contracts are so long and involved, they can take
up to a month for completion, especially if any changes need to be made. You’ll
also need to take time to review your contract and ensure you can fully agree
to every clause. If there’s anything in the contract that makes you hesitant or
uncomfortable, now is your chance to speak out.
Medications

Congratulations, you’re through the paperwork! In
order to prepare your body to become pregnant, you will need to take
medications beginning a few months before your embryo transfer, stopping only
once your doctor has ordered it during roughly the tenth week of pregnancy.
There’s no one exact medication combination, but your doctor might recommend
estrogen, progesterone, injections, and vitamins. Some women feel these months
crawl by after the hustle and bustle of the start of the surrogacy process, but
this time is essential for your body to prepare for a baby!
Embryo
Transfer

Embryo transfers can occur as fresh or frozen. If
frozen, they simply need to be thawed prior to transfer. But if the embryos are
fresh, they will be retrieved three to five days before the scheduled transfer
to be fertilized and prepared for implantation into your body.
It’s a relief that after the long waiting process, the
actual embryo transfer only takes a matter of minutes, no more than a routine
PAP smear. Now the anxious and eager waiting begins to check if you are truly
pregnant!
Pregnancy
Tests

After 10 to 14 days, you’re ready for a blood test to
confirm your pregnancy. You’ll also undergo a BETA test to check the level of
hCG in your blood. The BETA test must be repeated two or three times to confirm
that hCG levels are increasing steadily and thus indicating a viable pregnancy.
This is the time to breathe a sigh of relief! All of
the preliminary steps have been successfully completed, the pregnancy was
successful, and now those famous nine months begin. There is still a bit of cautionary optimism as the first trimester is a
precarious time and the surrogate will still be taking medications as the body
adjusts to pregnancy, but that sigh of relief can be even deeper once the
second trimester begins and the surrogate mother is really out of the woods!

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