A surrogate mother becomes pregnant through the process of in-vitro fertilization or IVF. IVF has been in use since the late 1970s, and it’s a very safe process for getting a surrogate mother pregnant. The process begins with harvesting eggs from the intended mother or an egg donor. After medical testing special medication is taken that will stimulate the production of eggs. When the eggs are fully matured, they will be harvested by the IVF doctor. Once harvested the eggs are placed into an incubator where conditions are optimum in order to keep the egg healthy waiting for the sperm.
After the sperm is harvested, the doctor will place the sperm in the same incubator as the egg and wait for fertilization to occur. There are usually several eggs in the incubator to increase the chances that one will become fertilized. Even though all it takes is one fertilized egg for a surrogate to become pregnant, usually several eggs are fertilized in case the one that is selected turns out not to be viable or doesn’t implant in the surrogate’s uterus.
When an egg, or multiple eggs, are fertilized they are left in the incubator for a short period to allow them to stabilize and become healthy fertilized eggs. The doctor uses a special syringe to insert the fertilized eggs into the surrogates uterus. After this step in the surrogate process, the surrogate must rest for several hours as this will increase the chances of the procedure being a success.
After the eggs are inserted into the uterus, they need to implant themselves into the uterine wall where they will stay for the next nine months. This is the tricky part of the procedure as sometimes eggs fail to implant even if they are fertilized. That’s why several eggs are fertilized earlier in the process, so if an egg fails to implant another one can be used without requiring the procedure to be started all over again.
If the egg implants into the uterine wall then the surrogate is pregnant. The pregnancy will move forward like any other pregnancy where the baby continues to grow and develop in the womb of the surrogate until it’s time for the baby to be born.
Even though it seems like a simple procedure IVF can take several tries before a successful pregnancy is achieved. IVF can be very expensive, which is one of the reasons why surrogates are carefully screened to be sure they are likely to become pregnant when the egg is implanted into the uterus. But there is no way to put a price on having a child therefore couples that struggle with fertility continue to depend on IVF, so that they can have a child through a surrogate mother.