The gestational carrier program is meant for couples that are infertile and cannot have a baby, where the woman has a problem with her uterus, but has healthy eggs. The gestational carrier program is performed in several steps, which have to be carefully performed to ensure the process is successful. The embryo transfer is performed after the fertilization procedure.
Before the Embryo Transfer
Before the embryo transfer, there are several steps that need to be taken by the infertile couple and the gestational carrier also. Firstly, the couple will have to select a gestational carrier, who will have to undergo a number of tests that will establish if she is a good fit for the program.
After this procedure, the couple will have to start a treatment. The woman will have to get some hormone injections, which will stimulate the production of eggs. The man will have to give a sperm sample, which will be united with the eggs from his partner once the eggs are retrieved.
If the fertilization takes place, an embryo will form. The fertilization will take place in vitro, in a lab dish.
The Embryo Transfer Procedure
The embryo can be kept in the lab, but needs to be frozen. The fertility doctor may keep the embryo under surveillance to make sure it is healthy and will be able to develop properly once it's deposited in the gestational carrier’s uterus.
However, the embryo shouldn’t be kept in the lab dish for more than five days, as the chances of a safe pregnancy will decrease if the embryo is kept for a longer period of time. The embryo will be transferred into the uterus of the gestational carrier. The procedure will be performed under anesthesia and will take between 30 and 45 minutes.
The gestational carrier may be prepared with a few hormonal injections, which will make sure she will be a good host for the embryo. The gestational carrier can go home immediately after the embryo transfer procedure, but she will be closely monitored during the first weeks of the pregnancy, to make sure the embryo develops normally.
The gestational carrier should avoid physical effort 2 to 5 days immediately after the embryo transfer, as the effort can endanger the embryo.
After the Embryo Transfer
After the embryo transfer, the embryo should be implanted in the uterus, so the gestational carrier should carry on with a normal pregnancy. Several follow up sessions are recommended.
The gestational carrier may have to get a few weeks of hormonal treatment to make sure the baby develops normally. Ultrasounds can be performed starting from week 5 of the pregnancy. This will give a definite response to whether the pregnancy will be successful or not. However, future ultrasounds will be needed as well.
If the implantation of the embryo fails, a new cycle can be started.