Every pregnancy is surrounded with superstitions and old wives' tales. When I was pregnant with my son, I experienced no morning sickness whatsoever. This caused people to assume I would have a boy. In my case, the assumption was correct, but I have known plenty of women who have had horrible morning sickness while pregnant with little boys. More old wives' tales include: If you're carrying high, it's a girl! If you experience a lot of heartburn, your baby will be born with a lot of hair! If you're craving sweets, it's a girl! If you're craving salty foods, it's a boy!
So I was surprised to learn that the surrogacy world has its own set of superstitions as well, especially surrounding transfer day.
Transfer day is a big day in the surrogacy process. This is the day that comes after years (for the intended parents) of dreaming of a baby, and months of planning and medications (for the surrogate). It's the day that an embryo (or two) are selected to be inserted into the surrogate's uterus. The hope and prayer is that the little embryo will implant itself into the uterine wall and get comfortable for the next nine months.
It's a huge culmination for all parties involved. Experiencing a failed transfer can be heartbreaking, but if the transfer is successful, there is a new life to be celebrated. And that's the point of all of this, to celebrate new life.
So it makes sense that surrogates want to do anything they can to help that little embryo stick. Below are some of the more popular surrogacy old wives' tales:
Wearing yellow or green on the day of transfer. These colors are thought to be lucky but are also signs of fertility.
Wearing a fertility charm bracelet to send out good vibes.
Keep your feet warm, because warm feet = warm uterus. And if you can keep your feet warm by wearing green socks, then all the better!
Drinking pomegranate juice for several days or weeks before transfer to thicken the uterine lining. I'm not sure what the science is behind this, but several women suggested it to me when I was trying to thicken my lining and it worked. So I'm a believer on this one.
Eating McDonald's french fries right after transfer. Again, no science behind this. But I have a not-so-secret love affair with McDonald's fries. They're just so greasily delicious.
Starting the day of transfer, cut a pineapple in five equal parts, including the core, and eat each part for five consecutive days. According to fellow surrogate, Jessica Linville, "There are indications that the bromelain in pineapple increases cervical mucous. This increase in cervical mucous can make the uterus 'stickier,' which can lead to increased rates of implantation. Most of the bromelain in the pineapple is found in the core, so it is important to eat that part along with the meat." Again, I'm a big fan of pineapple and if there's any truth to this superstition, I don't mind trying it.
Acupuncture! Apparently many surrogates are having acupuncture sessions directly following their transfers. There are some studies that report a 40-60 percent improvement rate in fertility. Those who believe in acupuncture boast that it can improve the immune system, reduce stress, promote blood flow to the uterus and help normalize reproductive hormones. I actually did some acupuncture treatments while I was pregnant with my daughter to help with some back pain and get labor started. I'm not 100-percent convinced, but it is compelling. And it doesn't hurt to try. Seriously, I promise those little needles don't hurt.
Finally, just think "sticky thoughts." And maybe eating a little sticky bun after transfer will encourage the embryo to stick around as well!