Did you know that the medication surrogates use are the same ones any women undergoing IVF treatments receives? While these medications haven’t been studied in the surrogate population specifically, IVF was pioneered over 40 years ago with over 8 million children born from IVF and counting. Many top doctors and scientists have also undergone IVF treatments themselves.
The Safety of Fertility Treatments and Medications
The FDA has consistently concluded that fertility treatments have been proven safe with the vast majority of people undergoing them experiencing no ill effects to their general health. While there is a proven risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome in general IVF, that risk is limited to biological mothers and egg donors and not surrogates who do not stimulate their own ovaries. Additionally, qualified Reproductive Endocrinologists take great care to balance prescribed hormones and medications as not to over stimulate ovaries. As a result, this particular adverse effect tends to be rare. Most women undergoing egg retrievals experience temporary bloating and tenderness.
Risks and Side Effects of Surrogacy Medications
There are also a few women who react to the hormonal fertility medication or have a complication during embryo transfer e.g. a pelvic infection, though these are also incredibly rare. The most typical reactions to the hormones used in surrogacy are skin itching/redness or bruising at the injection sites as well as temporary headaches, nausea, and fatigue.
Bottom line: Though the risk is small, women who chose to undergo IVF or become surrogates are well informed of the potential averse effects by doctors making professional judgement calls about whether a specific treatment is suitable for their patients. A woman with a history of a blood clotting disorder, for example, would not qualify to become a surrogate.