Surrogacy is a choice that impacts everyone in your family. That’s why ethical agencies require your partner to be fully onboard with your choice before they’ll even let you proceed through screening.
It is not uncommon for even the most supportive of husbands to start this process with a few questions and a handful of doubts. To help calm their (totally normal) nerves, we wanted to share a few thoughts from Joe LaMothe. His wife, Sharon, is our COO. Together they went through two surrogacy journeys. Here are his thoughts on the daily hormone injections that are part of the procedure.
She’s pregnant, and it’s not mine.
Now that I have your attention, let’s talk seriously about giving your wife, the surrogate, her daily progesterone shots. She’ll probably be told that she has to take the shots, even though there are other methods of receiving the same medicine. The surrogate is usually not told of the other options and almost never asked her preference.
When it comes to the clinics, the IPs are easy to think of as the patients - especially when they are also the paying clients. Please understand that experts have done numerous studies on hormone delivery and IVF, and their statistics show that the results with intra-muscular, dare I say gluteus maximus, delivery are best. These clinics make a living from having high success rates of conception, so you better follow their strict protocols. That means daily shoots to the … gluteus maximus.
Well, maybe this blog won't be totally serious, but I promise that you will learn some tips on giving the shots, and with less pain and bruising, she will thank you.
It all began for me with, “Guess what honey, you get to give me a shot in the butt every night for 12 weeks!”
Since I was totally supportive of the entire “making-a-difference and helping another couple achieve parenthood” experience from the very beginning, I didn't even hesitate. I did, however, ask, “Doesn't a visiting nurse do that?” and then practically faint when she showed me the huge needle.
Turns out that, no, a traveling nurse does not swing by to help with daily injections.
Don't panic yet though, you see it is very simple really, even a 3rd grader could do this. Just follow these steps.
- (Take a deep breath)
- First, you have to remove the plastic seal and take off the medium-sized needle that comes installed on the hypodermic plunge.
- Now throw it away and find the large size needle. Put that on the plunger with a twist of the wrist so that you can withdraw precisely 2mm of progesterone from an upside-down small bottle with a rubber seal. You’ll feel just like the trained physicians that you've seen on TV.
- But don't forget to withdraw it further than you need to. This is so that an air bubble that is inevitably left in the plunger can be expelled without resulting in too little progesterone being injected.
- Take off that second (huge) needle and dispose of that in a special box too.
- Finally, install a third needle that is much thinner, and thank goodness for that.
- Swiftly but smoothly inject the contents of that plunger into the muscle precisely 2.5 inches behind the hip and 3 inches down.
- Oh! But don’t do that until after she has been sterilized with an alcohol swab for exactly 28 seconds.
- Or before she has had the spot iced for at least 17 minutes to reduce the pain and numb the surface.
- Now. Pull the needle out.
- But not at an angle.
- Or too roughly.
I know what you are thinking, but you are wrong – that was not the joke part, that’s what the nurse showed me. Relax, it’s easy by the third time, and the last 11 weeks will go smoothly.
Now for the tips I promised.
One easy change my wife and I discovered was to only ice a small area in the perfect cheek zone with an ice cube in a face cloth. The clinic-recommended method included a large ice pack or a bag of frozen peas and was more stunning to the flesh than the 'baby' needle.
Secondly, and most important for minimizing pain, break the skin with a quick smooth motion. Do NOT set the tip on the skin and gradually push harder until it breaks the skin. The thumb and pointer push motion should resemble throwing a dart.
This is the hardest step mentally since this is your loved one and you are holding a deadly weapon! At least you will build some trust here.
Another easy tip is to alternate cheeks, say left side on even days, right on odds, or use a calendar.
Another pain avoidance strategy to my new doctor’s in training: hold the needle gently by the very end to remove it out straight – you know, along the same path you went in on – breaking a new trail with a sharp steel point won't win you any kisses.
Of course, remind her to also hold still, and enjoy the free peek at her feminine curves.
With these few tips, there is usually no bleeding, no bruising, and sometimes she won't even feel it. Oh, and you won't have to sleep on the couch.