Dear Sassy Surrogate: Give Myself Shots?
If I become a Gestational Carrier do I have to give myself shots? Why?!?
—Concerned About Needles
I know this seems terrifying, and even a little crazy! When I was a gestational carrier I actually gave myself every shot (I may be even a little crazier than most ;-)) but many people have their partner, or a friend give them to them! Honestly, it is really more mental than physical, and once you have a system or routine in place it becomes easier, especially if you remember the goal – baby! So, yes shots are a possibility. There are a few clinics that do the medication cycle without injections, although I would expect to have shots as part of your routine and be pleasantly surprised if you don’t.
Typically, a clinic starts with Lupron (Leuprolide Acetate), a subcutaneous injection that suppresses the ovulation cycle of the Gestational Carrier before transfer. Lupron is administered with a small needle and pretty easy to do since your body has lots of subcutaneous injection sites. The time frame for these shots is typically fairly short, too. The other injection, Progesterone in Oil, is an intramuscular shot that is used to thicken the lining of the uterus and prepare it for embryo implantation. This shot is definitely more difficult and can hurt more because it is intramuscular and there are only a few places this can be administered. This is the shot that is scariest to most, the needle is larger and the pace to administer the medication is slower because of the oil the progesterone is in. The other not so fun part is because there are few places on the body this can be given and as it’s likely you’ll have to do this daily for 10-14 weeks, those sites can become sore. There are all sorts of tips on how to deal with this soreness and the possible resulting knots. Mine are massage the area right after the shot, use a heating pad (I used a portable battery one so I could even heat on the go!), and try to move afterwards to keep the muscle moving. These shots may not be fun but they are important to the process. The medication is meant to prepare your body for the embryo transfer and simulate the hormones your body would produce naturally. If you are wondering more about how these shots are administered http://www.freedommedteach.com/eng/ does a great job showing the process. Always follow your clinic’s instructions on how to administer your medications. As a Gestational Carrier, shots are most likely in your future - Totally worth it!
Ok so there are shots, what other kinds of medications should I expect? What’s the worst part?
—Not Looking Forward To This Part
Dear Looking Forward,
Surrogacy is hugely fulfilling, and the journey really is positively amazing. One of the worst parts is the medications, especially the shots. Other kinds of medications you could expect are birth control pills, estrogen patches, oral tablets, vaginal creams, steroids, antibiotics, aspirin, CoQ10, prenatal vitamins and DHA. This is not an all-inclusive list and each clinic or Reproductive Endocrinologist has their own “cocktail” of medications that they use. The medications, kind, and amount also depend on your body and how it responds to the medication in order to make the best environment for the little embryo(s). Typically, medications are started 3-4 weeks before transfer and weaning off of them begins week 10 of the pregnancy, depending on your clinic, doctor, and body. It can be a lot to manage on pregnancy brain, but you can do it!