One of the most important stages of the gestational carrier program is the fertilization process and the embryo culture, which will be decisive in whether the pregnancy will be successful or not. The fertilization will involve the placing of samples from both parents. If the fertilization takes place, this will result in one or several embryos, which will be monitored.
Before the Fertilization
The gestational carrier program will contain several steps:
- The selection of the gestational carrier
- The screening of the gestational carrier, to ensure she is in good health to carry the baby
- The synchronization of cycles, which will involve hormonal treatment of both the mother who gives the eggs and the gestational carrier, who will carry the baby
- The egg retrieval procedure will be performed once the mother produces several mature eggs
- Sperm will be required from the father
These steps will precede the actual fertilization.
The Fertilization Process
The fertilization process will happen in vitro and there will be need for:
- A few viable eggs from the mother
- A sperm sample from the father
The sperm will be washed and centrifuged, to make sure it will be of the highest quality. The sperm will be placed together with the eggs. Alternatively, each egg will be placed on a separate lab dish with sperm samples. This process should happen no later than 4 hours after the egg retrieval, to give higher success rated to the fertilization.
The lab dishes will be left for 16 to 20 hours, time during which the fertilization should happen. After 16 to 20 hours, the fertility doctor will inspect the lab dishes, to see if the eggs have been fertilized. The lab dishes should be kept under surveillance for the following 3 or 4 days.
Provided the eggs and the sperm were healthy, the fertilization rates are high.
If the fertilization has taken place, the fertility doctor will see if there is more than one embryo. This may happen, due to the fact that several eggs have been placed for fertilization. If there are several eggs, the fertility doctor will analyze each and every one of these to establish which embryo should be used (and has a higher chance of being implanted in the uterus of the gestational carrier).
The morphology of each of the existing embryos will be analyzed. The embryos shouldn’t be kept for more than five days before being implanted in the uterus of the carrier.
After the Embryo Culture
After the fertilization and the embryo culture, the embryo will be transferred into the uterus of the gestational carrier, and hopefully it will be successfully implanted, so a healthy fetus will develop.
Ultrasounds and several follow up sessions will be needed to ensure the gestational carrier is doing well and the baby is healthy.