Whether we all want to acknowledge it or not, IVF pregnancies are not always successful. There are some common issues with surrogacy and IVF that are helpful to discuss.
Often, at Made in the USA Surrogacy, we hear from couples who come to us to look for a surrogate (intended parents) that they have been through many IVF and IUI cycles before they choose to find a surrogate. The IVF journey is not without it’s faults and setbacks as many of you who are trying to start your family have found. If you’ve found our surrogate agency, chances are you’re looking to answer the long-awaited question of whether you will someday become a parent, but need someone else to carry your baby. You may wonder how many of these issues with surrogacy and IVF will cause you not to be successful.
Unfortunately, In-Vitro-Fertilization is not perfect
As you no doubt have found out or are about to- IVF transfers are not always able to bring about the results we desire. Using IVF, there can be risk of miscarriage, multiple births, premature delivery or overall failure for the embryo to “take.” What this means is that the embryo is placed in the uterus, but unfortunately does not decide to embed in the uterus and passes naturally. Though we would like to believe that IVF will fix and solve the issues you may have with your fertility, unfortunately it is just a tool that can be imperfect. IVF will put the embryo right where it needs to be, but the woman’s body must do the work of growing the baby properly, without risk to the mother.
Is surrogacy the answer to infertility?
Since your body decided not to take the embryo over multiple attempts, or perhaps your IVF journey has ended up in multiple miscarriages- does that mean that surrogacy is the answer to your infertility? It may be, but surrogacy is not without its struggles either.
Let’s dive deep into some of the issues of surrogacy and ivf that may present itself as a part of your surrogacy journey:
- Your surrogate may not take the first time, or the first few times
- Your surrogate may miscarry
- Your surrogate may have an issue taking medications correctly the first time
- You may need to restart payments to your surrogate
I will address each of these issues below.
Your surrogate may not take the first transfer, or few transfers
As in anything new, the surrogate’s body will need to adjust to both the procedure of IVF but also the medications prescribed for the process of IVF. There could be multiple reasons why her body does not respond to the embryo that is transferred, but most likely, there will not be any reasons we can give as to why an embryo does not take. Rest assured however, we have seen great success with first time surrogates who end up pregnant the first transfer- close to 75% of the transfers are successful. So, what should you do if your surrogate is not successful with the first transfer? We encourage all parents to try at least 3 transfers. Many of those who were not successful the first try, are successful on the second, and many who were not on the second, are successful on the third. IVF success is largely a numbers game, as long as the health of your surrogate mother who is attempting is in great health.
Your surrogate may miscarry- does that mean there is an issue?
Many Intended Parents who try surrogacy will undoubtedly feel that the process is difficult. We have had some parents experience no losses and experience a clean, smooth journey the first transfer with their surrogate mother. We have also had many surrogate mothers experience miscarriage, only to end up successful after trying again.
Being honest with all intended parents, miscarriage from IVF pregnancies is very high. Some IVF clinics report the miscarriage rate as high as 40%, and most are around the 25% range. What does this mean for you, attempting to get pregnant through a surrogate? It means that your journey is likely to experience issues such as miscarriage at a higher rate than if your embryo was conceived naturally, and should not deter you from continuing your journey!
As stated before, we have had many surrogates experience early or mid-early losses (before 20 weeks) and turn around with another IVF transfer and have a child successfully thereafter. We suggest for all IPs to be patient, endure the problems that IVF can present, and trust that your surrogate from Made in the USA Surrogacy is capable to take your baby to full term! These issues with surrogacy and ivf can be overcome, it just takes time or another transfer sometimes!
Your surrogate may have issues taking medications the first time
It should go without saying, but IVF medications can be complicated to administer. Not only are surrogates usually not currently taking medications, a medication protocol that calls for dosages at certain times and different days can be confusing.
We have had issues with surrogates misplacing their medications, with missing medications, with needing medications last minute, and with surrogate mothers misunderstanding dosage. What should you do if this becomes the case? We as a surrogate agency pride ourselves on providing quality surrogate candidates. If your surrogate makes a mistake on her medication or needs medication at the last minute, we are in constant communication with your surrogate to mitigate any of these potential issues. Most of anything that has come from medication mix-ups is a “dropped cycle” and medications that get re-started. Your fertility clinic near you will most likely help your surrogate understand how to take her medications properly- and provide her a medication calendar that is usually shared with the agency.
Don’t worry about though, these complications with medications are not common, and most of our surrogate mothers are confident about taking these medications or reach out to us if they have issues, we can address within the time needed to administer them.
You may need to restart payments to your surrogate
If any of the unfortunate events have happened above, such as a transfer that didn’t “take”- it will result in more time and money unfortunately. The age-old saying does ring true. Most surrogate compensation is “per attempt” and “per surrogacy journey.” Therefore, if you have a new attempt (IVF transfer) that is made, or a miscarriage that happens after the surrogate has received a few payments of their base compensation, unfortunately the financial clock will restart and the base compensation and other benefits will restart.
This means that if your surrogate receives an amount for a transfer– our surrogates receive $1,000 per transfer- that will mean the $1,000 will be paid again if the surrogate attempts another transfer. Also, if your surrogate does have a miscarriage, the base compensation (our first-time surrogates receive $4,000 each month until birth) will restart on the next attempt or confirmation of pregnancy. It’s important to keep in mind that at the same time the surrogacy will be incurring these costs, your IVF clinic will also be incurring fees for ongoing transfers and or medications needed for your surrogate’s cycles. In this case, we try very hard to explain to parents that our estimates are estimates from the beginning, and it is difficult to predict (and we do not attempt to predict) outcomes that will result in dual or multiple payments to your surrogate. We do our best to protect our IPs budgets while also preparing them for the inevitable ups and downs of the journey that is surrogacy and In-Vitro-Fertilization.
The only expenses that do not restart upon a new cycle and transfer will be one-time only payments such as bonuses, and depending on your individual gestational surrogate agreement or separate surrogate agency agreement (if you are not a client of Made in the USA Surrogacy) there may be others that do or do not repeat.
Overall, we suggest that parents have at least a $10,000 to $20,000 buffer in their proposed budgets in order to account for issues that may arise from the journey.
Regardless of whether you may experience these issues with surrogacy and IVF or other challenges along your surrogacy journey, know that each of these issues are able to be worked through and we strongly encourage you to stay the course with your current surrogate unless your doctor is sure that she is not a suitable candidate to continue with.