Gestational Surrogacy Medications

Surrogate Medications

Learn more about surrogate medications. The medications involved in a gestational surrogacy cycle are listed below. Please note that each surrogate responds differently to her individual medication. Some surrogates will experience no side effects at all. You will also have the opportunity to discuss the fertility clinic’s specific protocol with your IVF nurse at your medical evaluation appointment.

When you have questions about your medication you must contact your IVF Coordinator at the clinic for guidance.  These medications are self administered.  You will have monitoring appointments to check your levels.  During these appointments you will have ultrasounds and bloodwork.  The doctor will be able to determine if the medication is working properly and if you are following instructions.

 Surrogacy medication timeline

 Some or all of the medications listed below, as well as several others, could be a part of your prescribed surrogacy medications. However, it’s not just about which  medications you take, but taking them as prescribed and following instructions carefully.

Your fertility clinic will give you a surrogacy medication timeline, sometimes called a protocol, and it is vital that you follow that timeline exactly. You will be given detailed instructions — down to the exact time of day — for when to take your medications. While we cannot give you an example of such a detailed medical protocol, we can provide a general outline of a surrogacy medication timeline to give you a sense of the order of medications.


Use: Doxycycline is a pre-cycle antibiotic that prevents any possible low-grade pelvic infection.

Side Effects: None, but varies per individual.

Administration: Oral tablet.


Use: The fertility clinic needs to be completely in control of your cycle in order to successfully plan the embryo transfer. That’s why you will need to take, and stop taking, birth control pills as a surrogacy medication in accordance with the guidance from your clinic.

Side Effects: None, but varies per individual.

Administration: Oral tablet.

LUPRON (leuprolide acetate)

Use: Lupron prevents the usual hormone exchange that causes follicle production and ovulation by suppressing the pituitary stimulation to the ovaries.

Side Effects: Headache, fatigue, hot flashes.

Administration: Lupron is an injection given subcutaneously (in the fatty tissue) by a ½ inch needle under the skin.


Use: Just before the transfer, you will most likely need to take an injection of progestogen, which aids in preparing the uterine lining for the implantation of the embryo. This injection does involve a larger needle and is delivered intramuscularly, which means it may be a bit more painful.

Side Effects: Headache, fatigue

Administration: Is an injection given subcutaneously (in the fatty tissue) by a ½ inch needle under the skin.


Use: Some surrogacy medication timelines will include Medrol, which is a low-dose steroid that some fertility clinics use to improve the chances of a successful embryo transfer.

Side Effects: Headache, fatigue

Administration: Is an injection 


Use: Aspirin assists with cycle stimulation and impending embryonic implantation. This medication will continue until 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Side Effects: Upset stomach, heartburn, easy bruising or bleeding.

Administration: Oral tablet.


Use: Estrogen is a hormone that helps grow the lining of the uterus which maintains an early pregnancy.

Side Effects: Skin redness, irritation or rash, nausea, fluid retention.

Administration: The patch is applied to the skin on the abdomen and the estrogen is absorbed through the skin.

Prenatal vitamins

Use: Like any other woman preparing to become pregnant, it’s important to take care of your body with prenatal vitamins taken before and after the embryo transfer. Check with your clinic to see if there is a specific brand that they recommend.

Side Effects: None

Administration: Oral medication