If you don’t know what to expect during a surrogate pregnancy, you’re not alone. It's only natural to feel anxious about the transformation your body is about to go through.
When you conceive naturally, hormone levels change, and the effects vary from person to person. But without those pregnancy hormones, you’ll have a difficult time bringing the child to term, which is where treatments come into play.
Initially, a surrogate mother’s body won’t be actively producing pregnancy hormones, so physicians use medicines to stimulate their release and regulate levels in the body. The good news is that hormone therapies for surrogates work well and have a high success rate!
Here's what else you should know about pregnancy hormones and surrogacy to put you at ease.
Why are hormone treatments necessary for some pregnancies?
When you get pregnant, your body produces specific hormones that prepare you for the journey ahead. These hormones are vital for a successful, healthy pregnancy because they help the embryo develop and grow.
For surrogate pregnancies, hormone treatments can have the same effect as the natural ones present at the time of impregnation.
If this is your first time as a surrogate, you'll need to synchronize your menstrual cycle with egg donors to increase the likelihood of a successful embryo transfer. Surrogates also need to prepare the uterus for pregnancy so that treatments can raise the levels of estrogen, progesterone, and other pregnancy hormones.
The result of those changes is a higher chance of getting pregnant and a lower chance of experiencing a miscarriage!
Still, those aren't the only hormones that are important during pregnancy. The other hormones are just as crucial because everything must be balanced to deliver a healthy baby.
Which hormones are important during a surrogate pregnancy?
The essential pregnancy hormones include:
Human chorionic gonadotropin, or "hCG", is one of the first hormones your body releases when you initially get pregnant. It's the hormone that a home pregnancy test detects in urine and plays a significant role in preparing the ovaries during the first trimester.
Thus, hCG is considered a "trigger" hormone that tells the body to release more estrogen and progesterone by creating the corpus luteum.
Estrogen coincides with a woman’s menstrual cycle, and during pregnancy, levels will remain elevated and peak only a few weeks before the child is born. You may not know that there are actually three types of estrogen: E1, E2, and E3.
E1 is a weaker form of estrogen your body produces after going through menopause, while E2 is the type of estrogen your body primarily has as an adult. But the E3 hormone relates closest to pregnancy because it's responsible for building a healthy womb lining.
Likewise, progesterone helps the womb support a healthy embryo and prevents womb contractions and premature labor. That’s why your physician may recommend you take more progesterone during the first few weeks.
Prolactin helps your body start producing breast milk, and relaxin is responsible for stopping the womb from contracting. It also relaxes you during labor so that you can give birth properly.
Overall, those are the main pregnancy hormones. Still, you might be curious about the potential side effects and risks of taking hormones during pregnancy, so here’s a short breakdown of the risks.
What are the risks of taking pregnancy hormones?
Everyone's body reacts to medications differently, and pregnancy hormone treatments respond in the same manner.
While some surrogates will only experience mild, temporary effects like nausea, headaches, and cramps, others may have more acute symptoms in reaction to the pregnancy hormone treatment. Some may also feel tenderness in the breasts.
You might also experience mild mood changes or bouts of anxiety and depression as your body adjusts to increased hormone levels.
Side effects are only severe in rare instances, so it's always best to work closely with a physician to guide you through surrogacy!
What are the benefits of taking pregnancy hormones?
The most significant benefit of taking pregnancy hormones is that they're both effective and safe if you're in excellent health. That's one reason the screening process is so thorough at a surrogacy agency because the health and safety of the surrogate mother is priority number one.
Pregnancy hormones are also easy to administer, and it doesn’t take too long to complete a course. The surrogate pregnancy will go much smoother if your body is ready and has the proper hormone levels to support a healthy baby. Not only that, but these types of hormones are widely available, provided you work with a reputable surrogacy agency and fertility clinic.
Do fertility insurance providers cover pregnancy hormones?
Usually, health insurance policies will not cover the entire cost of surrogacy.
Some insurance may cover the maternity portion of the pregnancy but not the required fertility treatments, including hormone therapies. However, you still have options because some insurance carriers offer temporary riders to extend cover to the surrogate for a specific time. The catch is that these policies can be on the expensive side of the equation, but they’re still available!
Nevertheless, the most vital takeaway for potential surrogates is that pregnancy involves many types of hormones. You'll need to take medications to generate the proper levels in the body, and the good news is that the benefits outweigh the risks.
Speak with us about bringing your surrogacy journey to fruition in trusted hands, today!