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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.