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How Do You Pick the Ideal Surrogate?
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Ask The Experts
How do you pick the ideal surrogate?
Dr. Said Daneshmand, The Fertility Center of Las Vegas: What we look for in a surrogate is, again, general health and mental health.
And also what we want to do is we want to make sure that the surrogate has a strong personality, somebody who's compliant,
somebody who's responsible, somebody who basically takes their medications when they're supposed to take their medications
and someone who's going to be able to take care of the pregnancy for all those months.
They have a very, very important responsibility and that responsibility is to carry a fetus.
Carry a pregnancy for another couple who's unable to carry the pregnancy.
So what we want to make sure is that in the first several visits that the surrogate comes in for their diagnostic testing.
To make sure that this particular surrogate is compliant, that they're intelligent, they're going to be able to follow orders,
they're going to be compliant with their visits.
So those are some of the factors we initially look for.
The other things that we look for is general health.
As you know, nutrition plays a very important role in the health of the pregnancy.
If patients are obese, if a surrogate is obese, if she doesn't take good care of herself during the pregnancy in terms of her diet and nutrition
then she's not taking good care of the child.
There have been many studies looking at epigenetic factors, meaning the factors, environmental factors during a pregnancy
that can have profound effects on the pregnancy years and years down the road and on the child's development,
both behavioral development and physical development.
So, again, we want to make sure we create an environment where we have the most healthy children born from surrogacies.
And the way that we access that is we look at the body mass index of the surrogate.
We look at their nutrition.
We have a full-time nutritionist on our staff who actually goes over the surrogate's nutrition.
The other thing is we want to make sure we educate them about exercise. Exercise is healthy during pregnancy.
Exercise decreases insulin levels.
So we again want to make sure that the surrogate is healthy and the surrogate has a very good understanding as what she needs to do during the pregnancy
to maximize the chance of a healthy pregnancy.
We also look at the uterus.
We want to make sure that the uterus is in great shape in order to be able to carry the pregnancy, so we do a test called a sonohysterogram,
where we inject some sterile fluid into the uterus and on ultrasound we do an examination of the uterus to make sure that the surrogate
doesn't have any polyps, fibroids, any benign tumors inside the uterus that's going to potentially prevent the attachment of the embryo to the uterus.
We also want to make sure that we do general labs on the surrogate, such as fasting blood sugar insulin levels, thyroid hormone levels.
Thyroid abnormalities during pregnancy are associated with decreased IQ in babies.
If you have an abnormal fasting blood sugar insulin levels before your pregnant you're a much higher risk of having gestational diabetes.
So we want to make sure that the ground is set for a healthy pregnancy.
We also take a look at other fasting parameters.
We look at blood sugar insulin levels. We look at the hepatitis profile. We look at infectious disease.
We do a urine toxicology screening on the surrogate to make sure they're not taking any medications or any drugs
that potentially could harm the pregnancy.
We also perform psychological screening on the surrogate.
It's real important for the surrogate to understand what she's about to embark.
She's carrying a pregnancy for our patients and so this is a very important job.
This is something that entails a great deal of responsibility and a surrogate has to be fully aware of this particular responsibility.
She also has to be in good mental health.
So we have psychological screening by a Ph.D psychologist to assess the surrogate, to make sure that she's in good mental health
to be able to not only function well but also be able to carry the pregnancy all the way to term, all the way to a healthy delivery.
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