When you think about it, reproductive technology is amazing. A woman can carry and grow an embryo that was created by two other people. Wow!
Getting your body ready to do such a thing involves a lot of careful planning and testing. Is your uterus healthy? Is your lining thick enough this cycle? Are you responding to the medication? (Yes, there is medication involved.) Fortunately, your Intended Parents’ (“IPs”) fertility clinic will guide you through all that. All of it is necessary to give you the best chance of a successful embryo implantation.
When I was a surrogate, my IPs had three embryos, and therefore three chances for it to work. Our first embryo transfer didn’t take. I had done everything right, but after getting multiple negative results on home pregnancy tests, I knew it hadn’t worked. The blood test (a measure of your HCG levels, also known as beta) confirmed that. Embryo implantation is a game of chance, with a success rate hovering somewhere between 50-60%, so we always knew this could be an outcome. So, we moved on to the second try the very next month.
On the day of transfer, you need to come with a full bladder, and I am NOT a happy camper when I have a full bladder and am not allowed to go! I did my best, waiting until the very last minute to drink a bunch of water. Why is this necessary? When the reproductive endocrinologist transfers the embryo into your uterus, he or she uses an ultrasound to guide the catheter in and see what’s going on. A full bladder helps the doctor see your uterus better. By the way, embryo transfer is painless and requires no sedation. The catheter that passes through your cervix is so narrow you can’t feel it.
The period of time between transfer and your second beta test, the results of which hopefully show that your HCG levels have doubled since the first beta test, is often referred to as the “two week wait,” or “TWW.” It’s the 12-14 days that seem to go by the slowest in all the world. You just want to know if it worked. Again, with permission from my IPs, I home tested, although they didn’t want to know until the blood test.
Check out my next post, on pregnancy, to see how the home test turned out!