The 5 Most Important Moments of Your Surrogate's Pregnancy
Most of our clients are first timers in the world of pregnancy. After the exhausting search for the right surrogate, it’s not always clear what the next steps may be after transfer or how to plan your life for the next 9 months if (fingers crossed) everything goes as carefully planned. So here at Donor Concierge, we thought it might be handy to have the top 5 moments not to miss with your surrogate after transfer but before the big birthday.
1) Confirmation hCG Beta or “Beta” lab: Your embryo has been transferred, when will you know you are pregnant? Most fertility clinics will test your surrogate’s serum beta hCG approximately 14 days post transfer (this may fluctuate some depending on whether your clinic did a 3 day or 5 day embryo transfer. The quantitative hCG Beta serum lab is a blood test that measures the level of beta-human chorionic gonadotrophin (the hormone generated from the cell development of the placenta) in your surrogate’s blood stream. An hCG Beta value can vary but generally your RE will confirm that the lab value you received is in fact within range for what is expected post transfer. YOU’RE PREGNANT!
A more in depth explanation on hCG Beta hormone can be found here.
2) First Transvaginal Ultrasound: A Transvaginal Ultrasound otherwise known, as a Transvaginal Sonogram (TVS) is performed anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks post transfer. You’ll need to check with your particular fertility clinic to see what their recommendation is and when exactly this will be scheduled. The Early Transvaginal Ultrasound is used to detect your baby’s yolk sac, gestational sac, and early detection of your baby’s heartbeat. The first Transvaginal Ultrasound can be very reassuring and may in fact be the start of transfer to care to a regular Ob/Gyn provider. You are likely to get the first glimpse of your baby and pictures to share with your loved ones.
3) First OBGYN appointment: You are now almost a best friend with your RE and her staff, but don’t get too comfy. At anywhere from 10 weeks to 12 weeks, your RE will lovingly (and professionally) hand you off to an Ob/Gyn. Congratulations! The hand off is a remarkable milestone.
Whether you and your surrogate have chosen an Ob/Gyn to work with together or have chosen the doctor she has worked with for the birth of all of her natural children, there is very important information at this very first appointment:
Do go, if time permits. Things that are normally accomplished during the first appointment include:
- Your first trimester screening
- Establishment of your due date (if not already determined by your RE)
- Your chance to hear your baby’s heartbeat via Doptones (hyperlink) and a potential second Transvaginal Ultrasound should your doctor recommend (although this is not standard coarse for most non-IVF pregnancies).
- A chance for you to get know your baby’s doctor and their team; and to sign important HIPPA consents so as to expedite communication and sharing of information and keep you update to date on the latest and greatest of your pregnancy.
4) 20 Week Ultrasound: You’re half-way home to parenthood! At around 20 weeks, your Ob/Gyn will schedule what is known as the 20-week ultrasound or full anatomy scans. DO GO! Your baby will be looked at from head to toe including looking at their intricate heart, brain, internal organs and bones. The most important anatomy for parents however, is the one between the legs. Are we having a boy or girl? The 20-week ultrasound will give you your definitive answer (if you want it).
But more importantly, the scan is looking for any potential growth issues or placenta issues in advance. Don’t fret too much though; there are many early issues that resolve as the pregnancy continues. If the doctor does detect anything of concern, they will likely schedule further ultrasounds and consults with other professionals as needed. So again, being at this appointment with your surrogate is helpful as you will be able to learn so much and know what is coming down the road.
5) 36 Week Check Up: At the 36th week check up, the physician will now increase clinic visits to weekly. Why the extra appointments? Well, from 36 weeks on, your surrogate is getting ready for delivery. Your physician is likely to perform a Group B Strep test, check cervical lining, and discusses what to expect or plan for at the birth. An additional ultrasounds may be ordered to check on positioning of the baby, recheck the placenta, and any other needs that will help guide your physician on day of delivery.
This is also a good time to make sure that the Birthing Center of your choice has a copy of your Birth Plan. Are their any special accommodations they are able to make? For instance, will they be able to give you a separate room (from your surrogate) after delivery for you to welcome and care for your baby? Your surrogacy agency should be able to support you in knowing what to expect and helping you transition from the world of fertility treatment to parenthood.
You’ve traveled - literally and emotionally- a long way to get to the birth of your baby. Remember to take care of yourself in the coming days before birth. Your life, like all new parents, is about to be forever richer. So before the richness of parenthood sets in, get in those last few quiet nights at home enjoying a simpler time. Take a deep breath and know that this was all meant to be as it has unfolded and most importantly enjoy every minute of it!