Category Archives: Fertility


Understanding the Lingo Related to Gestational Surrogacy and Egg Donation

Understanding the Lingo Related to Gestational Surrogacy and Egg Donation

You may have trouble understanding the lingo related to Gestational Surrogacy and Egg Donation. These terms below come from some of most frequently asked questions about the gestational carrier and / or egg donor process through A Woman’s Gift.

IVF or In Vitro Fertilization

This is the medical process that takes place at the IVF Clinic. They retrieve the egg of the female and fertilize it using the sperm of the male. The female they retrieve the eggs from can be the intended parent or recipient, or it could be an egg donor. The sperm is usually from the intended father or can be from a sperm donor. The embryos are then created in a lab. Sometimes the embryos will be used for a fresh cycle which means that they will transfer the embryos to the uterus of the recipient or to a gestational carrier, usually 3 to 5 days after fertilization. Most times any remaining embryos not used for this fresh cycle will be frozen for use later. Sometimes, all embryos from the fertilization will be frozen right away for later use.

Traditional Surrogacy

Traditional Surrogacy is when a woman will be carrying a child(ren) for someone else but they are also using their own egg. This means they are genetically related to the child but will give the child to the Intended Parents at delivery. Traditional Surrogacy is illegal in New Jersey and since our business is located in New Jersey, we do not handle any traditional surrogacy cases. We only handle gestational surrogacy (see below).

Gestational Carrier / Gestational Surrogacy

Becoming a gestational carrier or gestational surrogate means that the GC will not be genetically related at all to the child(ren) they will be carrying. GCs will be given hormone medications to stop ovulation and the embryo they place in their uterus will have been created from the egg of the Intended Mother or an Egg Donor and the sperm of the Intended Father or Donor Sperm. A Woman’s Gift only handles gestational surrogacy cases (see Traditional Surrogacy above).

Intended Parent(s) / Intended Mother / Intended Father

This term usually applies to someone who is using a gestational carrier to have a child(ren). They are sometimes also the genetic parent(s) of the child(ren). Other times they may use an embryo(s) created from a sperm and/or egg donor that will be transferred into the uterus of the gestational carrier. And other times still, the embryo may be combination of the two – the genetic material from one of the Intended Parents along with a donor egg or sperm.

Recipient

This term typically means a woman that is using an egg donor to create her embryos but will be carrying the pregnancy herself. They may be using the sperm of her partner or spouse, or they may use donor sperm to create these embryos they will transfer to her uterus. If there is a partner or spouse involved, we often refer to both as the Recipients.

Egg Donor

An egg donor is a female that goes through the egg retrieval cycle / procedure in order to provide some of her eggs / genetic material to a recipient(s) and/or an intended parent(s). This process is almost always anonymous which is why A Woman’s Gift provides the third party means to accommodate this match.

Egg Retrieval

The egg retrieval is the actual medical procedure where the mature follicles are removed from the egg donor’s ovaries. The cycle for egg donors is approximately a 6 week process after pre-screening has been completed. Based off her menstrual cycle and the recipient’s cycle, they will start on birth control pills in order to sync their cycles. If a recipient is not doing a fresh embryo transfer, the egg donor does not need to sync her cycle to the recipient but will still be put on birth control pills. The IVF Clinic provides a calendar timeline to the egg donor and will need to do approximately a week and a half of injectable hormonal medications that will first stimulate her ovaries to grow the egg follicles. Then they use medication that will suppress the ovaries so they do not release the follicles. The next step is the trigger shot that is typically taken almost exactly 36 hours before the egg retrieval scheduled time. At the time of the egg retrieval, the donor is given a light sedation and the follicles are aspirated using a needle through the vaginal wall. Most often, a good cycle will result in 8-15 eggs retrieved.

Embryo Transfer

An embryo transfer is the medical procedure that allows the IVF physician to place the embryo(s) into the uterus of the recipient / intended mother or gestational carrier.

Sperm donor

The male that provides the sperm to fertilize the egg in order to create embryos. A Woman’s Gift does not work directly with the sperm donors but can always work with a sperm bank and your IVF Clinic in order to facilitate moving forward with your cycle.

Still have questions? Please be sure to let us know if there are there any other terms you want us to blog about in the future.

gestational-carrier-process

The Gestational Carrier Process: One Gestational Carrier’s Story

Let’s explore the Gestational Carrier Process through the eyes of an actual carrier. I originally started my journey as a gestational carrier in November of 2015. That’s when I found A Woman’s Gift and initially spoke with Julie who was one of their Gestational carrier coordinators. After speaking with Julie, I continued the application process and then spoke with Fran who is the Agency owner and clinical director. The agency has a two step application process. The first in which you have to meet certain criteria to be gestational surrogate.

Gestational Carrier Process and Selection

  • Between ages 21-40 (some clinics like 38 or under)
  • Non smoker or vaporizer
  • Antidepressant free for 6 months minimum with no serious mental health history
  • Financially stable
  • Have at least 1 healthy full term pregnancy
  • No previous pregnancies with any complications
  • Live in a surrogate friendly state
  • STD free
  • Have a strong support system
  • Be done with breastfeeding

You also have to understand that the child/children is/are not yours. This process can also take a very long time from application to delivery. My journey was almost 2 years from start to finish as my first couple changed their mind after over being matched for over 6 months. But some can go very fast especially if you are located in New Jersey. After going through the initial screening of whether you meet the requirements, our agency sends you an email with a password so that you can make a profile on our site. Once your profile is completed, you’re then visible on our website to the intended parents (IPs) that are seeking a surrogate. I matched very quickly, maybe a month. Local surrogates tend to match quicker in most cases.

In December of 2015 I was chosen by a couple. I’m going to refer to them as R and K. K had a son from a previous marriage and presently was engaged to R. We hit it off really well the first time we met. He was a jazz musician and she was a student and finishing up her degree. What brought them to getting a surrogate was that they had tried on their own to have children, but K had two late term miscarriages. At the end of our first meeting, she told me that she had just found out that she was pregnant again, but based on her history with the previous pregnancies, she wasn’t confident that she would be able to carry this baby to term. K asked if i would carry one of their embryos for them, and I agreed.

Surrogacy Blog

A Woman’s Gift Launches Fertility & Surrogacy Blog

Welcome to A Woman’s Gift Surrogacy Blog!  We would like to introduce you to our fertility assistance process as well as some of the finer details.   We are an agency that helps infertile people have children using egg donors, gestational carriers, or both.  We are a full-service company that will help you through the selection process, medical and psychological portion, legal process, all appointments, financial matters related to your Gestational carrier or egg donor and any travel arrangements just to name a few.

We work closely with your infertility clinic or will help you choose a clinic that would work well for your situation so that you can achieve your dream of having a child. If you are new to the field of infertility and want some introductory information, you can find that on our home page and FAQ page.  Here in our blog, we are going to be talking more about some misconceptions about the process and getting some firsthand experiences from parents and surrogates that have been through this process or are going through it now.  Hopefully, you can get a clearer picture of what to expect when it comes to the infertility journey with a Gestational carrier or Egg donor.  Whether you are totally new to this process or you are experienced, we hope to help with valuable information.

What’s Our Fertility & Surrogacy Blog About

First you will be hearing from a previous surrogate of ours.  She has recently decided to come work for us here at A Woman’s Gift also.  She will be telling you about her experiences and opinions on the entire process.  We hope that these posts will be helpful to some of you and if there are any suggestions on specific topics that you would like to hear about please let us know!  You can contact our office any time during our business hours or directly on the form on our contact us page.