Medications Taken While Being a Surrogate
While there are a number of prenatal vitamins and other medications that are commonly prescribed during pregnancy, every pregnancy is not treated the same. As surrogacy is a complex medical process designed to allow infertile or same-sex couples to conceive, there are additional medications that are prescribed in order to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy.
During pregnancy, the body goes through a number of changes that enable it to sustain a growing baby, this includes the synthesis of different hormones. These changes allow the unborn child to safely grow and thrive under the same circumstances that would occur if the pregnancy had occurred naturally.
Why Do Surrogates Need Special Medication?
As the process of surrogacy allows a fertilized egg to be transferred to a surrogate’s uterus, the surrogate and the intended mother must have closely synced hormonal cycles. This ensures that when the embryo is ready to be transferred, it occurs at a time which increases the chance of a successful pregnancy.
The medications that surrogates use are relatively safe and have few side effects. Below is a list of medications that surrogates are prescribed throughout the surrogacy process. This list is non-exhaustive, as stated earlier, every surrogacy is unique, and you should discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
Hormones Prescribed to Surrogates:
Surrogates are prescribed hormones in order to sync their hormonal cycles with the intended parent. It is very important that a surrogate’s natural cycle is controlled as a means to increase the success of an embryo transfer. The following hormones aid in this process:
Lupron: This hormonal inhibitor’s job is to disrupt and discontinue a surrogate’s natural ovulation cycle. It halts the secretion of the surrogate’s hormones. This gives the doctor control over the surrogate’s cycle so that he or she can sync it with the intended parent’s cycle. Lupron is typically administered by injection.
Estrogen: As one of the most well-known hormones, estrogen has a very important role in pregnancy. During surrogacy, estrogen is typically administered via tablet, though it is possible to administer it via injection, patch, etc.
The uterine lining is thickened and then maintained by estrogen during pregnancy. It is the hormone responsible for the changes that the body undergoes in preparation to give birth. As the pregnancy progresses the dosage of estrogen may change. Estrogen is usually introduced in order to compensate for the irregular hormone levels that result from the use of Lupron.
Progesterone: As another one of the body’s naturally produced hormones, progesterone helps to promote healthy placenta production in the later weeks of pregnancy. Early on, it is used as a method of facilitating the production of all of the minerals and nutrients that are needed for a successful embryo transfer. Progesterone can be taken as an oral tablet, but it typically requires an injection.
Medrol: Medrol is a corticosteroid hormone usually administered in tablet form. It works to suppress the surrogate’s autoimmune system prior to embryo transfer to significantly decrease the chance of an autoimmune reaction.
The most common antibiotics that are prescribed during surrogacy are doxycycline and tetracycline. They are both taken prior to the embryo being implanted in the surrogate and can be harmful if taken later in pregnancy.
Doxycycline: This antibiotic is administered via tablet. Surrogates and their partners will be prescribed doxycycline in order to prevent or treat pelvic infections as they can decrease the success of an embryo transfer. Depending on whether or not a surrogate and/or their partner had a pelvic infection, this drug can be used solely as a preventative measure.
Tetracycline: Surrogates are prescribed tetracycline in order to reduce the possibility of any rejection of the embryo and to prevent infection.
Other Medications Prescribed to Surrogates:
Prenatal vitamins: These vitamins are prescribed as they have been shown to have a positive effect on pregnancies. Among prenatal vitamins, folic acid and vitamin D have shown to be universally beneficial.
Folic acid, in particular, helps to protect against neural tube defects or NTDs. These defects include an underdeveloped or malformed brain, spina bifida, and anencephaly. Vitamin D promotes healthy bone development. Prenatal vitamins are predominantly taken orally and are extremely beneficial to a baby’s development.
Aspirin: Throughout its history, aspirin has been found to treat and prevent certain diseases. More recently, it has been proven to enhance fertility if a low dose is taken daily. Surrogates may be prescribed this drug in order to increase the chances of a successful embryo transfer.
This nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) helps to thicken the uterine lining and increase blood flow to the area. A thicker uterine lining allows eggs to take more effectively. It is a regularly prescribed drug in the surrogacy process and is safe for both the surrogate and unborn child.
It is imperative to discuss any concerns with your health provider. He or she will be able to answer your questions and make adjustment according to what is best for your health. Some side effects from the use of these medications are expected, however, it is important to note that for the most part, they are minimal and should not negatively affect the health of the surrogate or baby for prolonged periods of time.
Additionally, the names of the medications described here are brand names. The scientific name of the drug itself may not be the same as the ones listed above. If you are looking for more information regarding any of these medications, consider discussing it with your health provider or pharmacist.