The Quick-Read Guide to Surrogacy Terms and Abbreviations

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When you first begin to investigate surrogacy, you may be overwhelmed by the number of terms and abbreviations you might have never heard before. Whether you’re considering creating your family through surrogacy or thinking about becoming a surrogate yourself, there’s a lot to learn.

Here’s a quick guide to some of the most common terms:

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). This is an umbrella term covering the wide range of medical procedures that may be involved in conception, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT).

Egg Retrieval. The process to obtain eggs from the ovaries for IVF. This is typically performed by inserting a needle attached to a catheter through the vaginal wall, guided by an ultrasound.

Embryo Transfer. Placing an egg fertilized outside the womb into a woman’s uterus or fallopian tube.

Embryo. The initial stages of fetal growth, from conception to the eighth week of pregnancy.

Estrogen. A hormone used in IVF to thicken the lining of the gestational carrier’s uterus so the transferred embryos will adhere to the uterine lining.

Fertility Specialist. An American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology certified subspecialty for OB-GYNs who receive extra training in reproductive endocrinology (the study of hormones) and infertility.

Gestational Surrogate. A woman carrying a child she is in no way biologically related to. The pregnancy is the result of eggs and sperm from the intended parents or donors joined via In Vitro Fertilization. Sometimes referred to as gestational carrier.

Implantation. When an embryo adheres to the uterine lining at the beginning of a pregnancy.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). When eggs retrieved from the ovaries are fertilized by sperm in a lab. Once embryos develop, they can be transferred by catheter to the uterus.

Infertility. The inability to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse (six months if a woman is over age 35) or the inability of the woman to carry a pregnancy to live birth.

Intended parent (IP). The person intending to create their family through surrogacy. Also called Intended Mother or Intended Father.

Lupron. Medication used to synchronize two women’s cycles during IVF for either an egg donation cycle or gestational carrier cycle.

Ovulation Induction (OI). Medical treatment performed to initiate ovulation.

Pre-Birth Order. Court document required by some states to be filed by the intended parent’s attorney prior to the birth of their child to ensure that their names appear on the birth certificate, rather than the surrogate’s, declaring the intended parents as the legal parents.

Post-Birth Order. In states where the surrogate’s name appears on the birth certificate as the birth mother even if she is not genetically related to the child, the intended parent’s attorney will file an adoption order. This establishes the IPs as the legal parents of their child and a new birth certificate is issued.

Progesterone. The hormone that thickens the lining of the uterus to prepare it to accept implantation of a fertilized egg. It is also used to keep the gestational carrier’s body from rejecting the embryos.

Reproductive Attorney. A lawyer specializing in third-party fertility contracts and parental establishment procedures.

Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). A physician who specializes in the treatment of reproductive disorders and infertility in both men and women.

Surrogacy Agency. A liaison between gestational surrogates and the intended parents. The agency will facilitate the match and coordinate medical evaluations, legal agreement, compensation, and handle travel arrangements and other details. They provide support and advice and can answer any questions that arise throughout the surrogacy journey. 

If you have any additional questions about the surrogacy journey, contact the caring experts at Surrogate Solutions. We’re here to help every step along the way.

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