Here's The Lingo You Need To Know When Starting Your Surrogacy Journey

Surrogacy rewards parents with an invaluable gift, and is an innovation for which many couples are endlessly grateful. It's a beautifully complex process that requires patience, hope, and strength from all involved parties. Learning some of the technical terminology, both medical and legal, can ease the overwhelm you may feel as you hop onto surrogacy forums and support groups, which seem to have their own language. Since many of the terms used by professionals in the field are lengthy and confusing, acronyms are typically used. With so much to be done to become a surrogate, the process can feel emotionally and mentally daunting — but understanding this verbiage can help you connect with your support system as you bring new life into the world.

You're likely familiar with the basics, but here's a refresher. Surrogate, surrogate mother, and carrier are all used interchangeably to refer to the woman carrying the baby for the parents who are unable to do so on their own. A traditional surrogacy (TS) is where the surrogate is genetically related to the baby and is impregnated through artificial insemination (AI). A gestational surrogacy (GS) is different from traditional surrogacy, and means the surrogate is not related to the baby and becomes pregnant through in virto fertilization (IVF), where the embryo is created in a laboratory. Another term you will continually come across is intended parents (IP), which refers to the person(s) who will become legally responsible for the baby born through surrogacy (via Physician's Surrogacy).

Getting familiar with the medical acronyms

To start, a sort of blanket term for all of the technology and methods used in surrogacy is assisted reproductive technology (ART). This refers to surrogacy itself, in vitro fertilization (IVF), artificial insemination (AI), and many others (via American Surrogacy).

One of the first professionals you'll encounter on your surrogacy journey is a fertility specialist or reproductive endocrinologist (RE). The latter is the guide who will navigate the intended parents through the embryo creation process with the surrogate (via American Surrogacy).

You've likely heard of progesterone, the hormone that supports pregnancy. This is referred to as P4. Surrogates take supplements, progesterone in oil (PIO), to ready the uterine lining. Both surrogates and women who go through the egg retrieval process will encounter the term subcutaneous injections (SubQ), which deliver the hormones. Hysteroscopy (HSC) is another term you may hear in support groups. This is an examination of the uterine lining that is performed if there are problems conceiving and carrying (via American Surrogacy).

Among other acronyms in the realm of surrogacy: home pregnancy test (HPT), pee on a stick (POAS), and big fat negative (BFN) are all commonplace in online forums referring to pregnancy testing (via American Surrogacy). The further you get in the process, the more likely this lingo will become second nature.

Exploring forums and support groups

Surrogacy is a deeply tender and unique process. No one truly knows what it feels like unless they've walked that path before. Even well-meaning friends and family may not always understand the surrogacy journey the way you do. Having a support group is extremely beneficial, and there's no shortage of organized online help for those hoping to bring a child into the world using ART (assisted reproductive technology).

While these support forums can be a saving grace, always be sure to double-check any information or advice you receive with your doctor first. As with most community sites on the internet, you should use your own discretion when consuming the material. If you come across more negative stories than positive and hopeful ones, it may be wise to step back or find a different site.

American Surrogacy recommends these five online support groups for intended parents, surrogates, and egg donors: All About Surrogacy, All Things Surrogacy, BabyCenter Community, Resolve, and Meetup.