Surrogate Medical Screening

Gestational Carrier Medical Screening

You have matched with an amazing family to help achieve their dreams of parenthood and are told the next step in the process is the medical screening. What can you expect at this appointment? The purpose of this screening is to ensure you are physically capable of undergoing the surrogacy process. You will head to your Intended Parent’s IVF clinic to meet the Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). This might require some traveling, depending on where you live and where the clinic is located.

What to expect?

When you are at your appointment you should expect to be there for 1-2 hours. During this time, you will meet with the RE and discuss your health and pregnancy history. You will undergo multiple tests during this appointment, including bloodwork, cultures, urine analysis, pap smear, a sonohysterogram, and a trial transfer. The RE will also discuss the IVF process with you, including the steps, medications and risks.. This is a great opportunity for you to bring up any questions and concerns you have. During this visit you will sign IVF consent forms. Your spouse or intimate partner will also need to be tested for STD’s and a drug screen.  Oftentimes the clinic prefers they come with you to the appointment.  If they cannot come, they can give you a lab order for blood and urine for your partner to complete at a local lab near your home.

What is a trial transfer (mock embryo transfer)?

Let’s talk about the trial transfer (sometimes called a mock embryo transfer). Think of this exactly as it sounds, a trial run of the actual embryo transfer. It allows your doctor to perfect the procedure in preparation of your actual transfer. For this procedure you will be required to arrive with a full bladder. Your doctor will use a catheter and ultrasound to find the best route and location for the embryo to be placed. This procedure may cause slight discomfort but should not be painful. The worst part women often report is their full bladder. You will be able to empty your bladder as soon as the procedure is complete.

What is a sonohysterogram?

Next up, the sonohysterogram. What exactly is it? A saline infusion sonohysterogram is a procedure performed to evaluate the uterus and shape of the uterine cavity. The RE will request that you empty your bladder for this part of your appointment. The RE will inject saline into your uterus as a transvaginal ultrasound wand is used to gain visual. The RE will use this to rule out polyps, fibroids, or scar tissue. This test may cause slight discomfort but should not hurt. Slight cramping may occur when the saline solution is introduced, your RE may recommend you take an OTC pain reliever prior to your appointment.

Tips for a successful appointment

  • Arrive to your appointment early, taking into consideration time needed for traffic and parking.

  •  Have all necessary forms completed prior to your appointment along with photo ID.

  • Have any questions you may have for the RE written down.

  • Bring a notebook and folder to take notes during your medical screening and to have a central location for all documents. 

  •  Arrive with a full bladder in preparation for your trial transfer. 

  •  If instructed by your nurse coordinator or physician, take an OTC pain reliever prior to your appointment to help reduce discomfort.

  • Make sure from this moment forward you and your partner are using condoms, not only to prevent pregnancy but also infection.

  • Sometimes things arise in medical screenings that need to be addressed.  Surrogates can have polyps (a small skin tag in the uterine lining) that may need to be removed.  A surrogate’s vaccination for a particular disease may have expired and they will need to get re-vaccinated.  Vitamin D levels may be low.  The IVF Clinic will address any concerns with you and a plan of action.

Medical screening may seem overwhelming, as there is a lot that happens in those 1-2 hours. It is normal to feel a little anxious about it. We will support you and guide you every step of the way. After your screening, if the RE does not see any issues preventing you from moving forward as a gestational carrier, you will be medically cleared and begin the legal phase of your surrogacy journey.

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