In the beginning, medications are a HUGE deal for surrogates. There are meds to suppress the cycle, meds to control the cycle, meds to prevent inflammation or infection during the cycle. As a gestational surrogate, I am currently taking 7 different types of medicine, many of them twice a day or in two pills. It’s truly not as intimidating as it sounds, though. The clinic plans everything out and sends lists of when to take which medications. Also, I am on two different medicines that are not part of the protocol but are important for the success of this specific venture.
The two medications I am taking as part of my individual protocol are synthroid for my thyroid and extra vitamin D. My thyroid is just a bit low, and the thyroid hormones are very important to the brain development of a growing baby. I believe some surrogates actually have found out through the lab work process that they needed a little thyroid support during pregnancy. My vitamin D deficiency was discovered through the initial blood work, and I was told that there is a better chance for IVF success if the vitamin D levels are appropriate.
The first medications that I started to take as part of the protocol were the prenatal vitamins with 800mg of folic acid, baby aspirin, and lupron. The prenatal vitamins are pretty self explanatory. The baby aspirin helps support blood circulation and avoid blood clots. This is really important when it comes to that squishy water bed of a uterus. It needs to be healthy, fluffy, and fresh for the embryo to implant. The lupron is my least favorite medication of this entire venture, and I’ll tell you why:
Lupron is designed to suppress the original menstrual cycle, meaning none of my own eggs will drop from my ovaries. Lupron is an injection that is administered through one of those tiny needles often associated with insulin for diabetics. The injection is administered every evening subcutaneously, which just means I pinch the fat of my belly and stick the tiny little needle in. The needle is not why it’s my least favorite part. The reason I dislike it is because it is notorious for giving pretty uncomfortable headaches. I am a teacher, and they were not bad enough to keep me from doing my job, but by the end of my time with lupron, I dreaded sticking that needle in because I knew the headache would follow. At this point, I was obviously not pregnant yet, so taking pain killers in moderation was generally safe. Even though I was moving on to a bigger needle two days later, my last night with lupron was such a huge relief for me.
The next phase of medications for me started this past sunday. I am currently on a progesterone injection in the evening. This is simply a hormone that fools my body into creating the perfect host for a new embryo to grow. My husband administers the progesterone because it is an intramuscular injection that is given in the back side. I have a very hard time bending that way, so I’m thankful he is willing to do it. I barely feel the injection, but I highly recommend to anyone who ever takes progesterone in oil should lie on a heating pad before and after. The oil is thick and needs a little bit of help to absorb into the muscles. If heat can’t be supplied, move around and massage the muscle to work it in, otherwise it will feel kind of like a muscle that has been overworked in the gym the night before. Along with that, I also insert two capsules of a different type of progesterone vaginally every night. It has the same purpose, but gets it there another way.
Along with my two forms of progesterone, I began taking 5 days worth of doxycycline, which is an antibiotic that is used to prepare my body to fight any infections from the transfer or otherwise. It just helps keep the body safe for the very fragile embryo. I also began taking five days of a steroid which is taken to prevent inflammation of the uterus at the time of transfer.
This might seem like a ton of information and even more work, but I really only take medications twice a day with the exception of the doxycycline. I can’t take that with calcium, so I split it apart from my nightly regimen which includes my prenatal vitamins. It’s really not that much work, though, and I can speak from experience when I say how worth it it is. I have been through this journey once before, and I know the joys of carrying a baby for another family. Rest assured, the clinic really does walk through everything step by step and explain the ins and outs of the medication. And I always knew if I needed any help Tina at The Surrogacy Experience is right there to assist.
While protocols may differ based on individual need, I believe the protocol here involves many of the typical components for a lot of the surrogates that I have heard from.