Entering into a surrogacy agreement is a very exciting time for everyone involved. From the intended parent’s point of view, you’re agreeing to place your trust in a gestational surrogate who will carry the pregnancy and deliver your baby. Preparing for this stage can seem daunting, but in truth, you’ve already completed the more challenging parts of the surrogacy process. You’ve found a surrogate who you believe is best suited to help your growing family, you’ve worked through the matching stage where an agreement was made and contracts were signed, and now it’s time to transition to the medical side and work toward achieving a pregnancy.
After pregnancy has been confirmed, it’s common for intended parents to wonder what comes next. Here is what both surrogates and intended parents have to look forward to once a pregnancy is confirmed.
Every pregnancy requires frequent medical visits to an OBGYN. These visits tend to be less frequent during the balance of the first and second trimester, as long as the pregnancy is not considered to be high-risk, and pick up again during the third trimester. Surrogates will likely be asked to complete the same processes they went through during their earlier pregnancies, which typically involve various blood tests, urine tests, and other physical exams. These are all completed to ensure that the pregnancy is progressing normally and that the surrogate is healthy.
In terms of attending these appointments as an intended parent, this will depend on a few factors. The first of which is whether your attendance was agreed upon during the match phase. In most cases, the surrogate is open to having intended parents attend visits, so if you are able to travel to some appointments, that helps to keep you feeling part of the pregnancy. We often recommend that you try to attend the 20-week ultrasound if you are unable to attend any other appointments. This is not a requirement, but it is a great opportunity for you to have a little “facetime” with your baby during the very detailed ultrasound.
In addition to medical visits, communication is also something that is worked out before a contract is signed. You’ll have already discussed the method and frequency of communication between you and the surrogate. In some cases, frequent communication via phone calls, video calls, and text messages is desired by all parties. In others, email is the more common form used and any photos or updates are sent in this way. There is nothing wrong with either approach – everyone is different and entitled to want different things and ways of connecting. What is essential is that this agreed-upon method is respected by everyone throughout the pregnancy and delivery stages. If communication needs to be adjusted in any way, it is helpful to talk to your Case Manager to help guide all parties to an acceptable manner going forward.
Planning For Delivery
In the same vein as the previous two points, the baby’s delivery will also be agreed upon during the contract phase of your journey. Where the surrogate will deliver, who will or won’t be in the room, and other medical considerations will all be established way before the baby comes. It’s important to remember that giving birth, whether to your own child or someone else’s, is a deeply vulnerable position to be in. Yes, gestational surrogates have given birth before, but that does not make their thoughts, wishes, or concerns any less relevant. Surrogates deserve the utmost support while delivering as well as after the baby has been born.
Intended parents as well as surrogates often wonder what their relationship with their surrogate will be like once the child is born. This is something that is also planned for during the contract stage, however, just as in any relationship, things can change naturally over time. Some intended parents stay very close with their surrogate, and she is involved in their lives as a family friend or ceremonial aunt. Some agree to respectfully part ways, perhaps staying connected via holiday cards or occasional emails. Again, both courses are entirely fine.
With all aspects of a surrogacy agreement, we always wish to emphasize the core need for respect. All anyone wants during periods of vulnerability is to feel listened to, and there are parts of surrogacy where all parties will feel this.
For more information about surrogacy, contact Reproductive Possibilities today.