Surrogacy 101: The Birth

Surrogacy, like any other pregnancy, can be confusing. From the legalities to the medicine, the process can be confusing and scary. At the end of the long journey, the surrogate gives birth – the last step of the process that can bring with it complications all on its own. Except, other than the amount of preparation needed, giving birth is the least complicated step of the process. 

However, in order for a baby to be properly brought into the world and welcomed by its parents, a surrogate needs to do a lot of emotional, logistical, and mental preparation where other pregnant women may not usually.


Legal Planning

The contract that is set up before the birthing process will outline what the plan is and take everyone’s comfort to mind.

Each State where surrogacy is legal has laws and regulations that protect both parents and surrogates during this process. Intended parents have full rights and protections over their children throughout the process – rights and protections that need to be discussed and signed into contract prior to the baby being born. Chain of custody will be decided prior to delivery. 

The first step to having a successful surrogacy process and delivery involves understanding the rights of everyone involved and having legal planning conversations early.


Logistical Planning

The logistics of delivering the baby are a little more complicated, as both the surrogate and the intended parents must get to the hospital in time for the birth! Usually, the intended parents will fly in the week before the due date.

The surrogacy contract should have a birth plan laid out, including who will be in the room, what the birth looks like, and will there be a doula. While these same questions may be brought up during a typical pregnancy, the answers need to be solidified ahead of time during a surrogate pregnancy. 

Surrogate mothers should plan to stay in the hospital for 1-2 days for a vaginal delivery, and 2-3 days for a cesarean delivery if a hospital birth is part of the plan. Midwives or doulas will provide instructions for birth-center births.The birthing plan should take into account where the intended parents will be staying, as well.


Mental & Emotional Planning

Unlike a typical pregnancy, a surrogate mother has to prepare mentally prior to becoming pregnant. Surrogate mothers always understand that they will not develop a motherly bond to this baby, as at the end of the journey the baby will be going home with someone else.

By referring to the baby as your belly buddy, explaining surrogacy to others, and using terms like “babysitting”, surrogates provide the framework for an easy transfer. Feeling emotional after the surrobaby moves on to their family is perfectly normal, but surrogates need to remember that they will always be a part of the child’s life simply because they made sure the baby came into the world.

Skin to skin bonding, the first meal, and more are things that Intended Parents typically handle, as a surrogate’s time in the hospital is mostly for recovery. Mentally, surrogates should be prepared to say goodbye to the Intended parents and their belly buddy before they are discharged, as the child is typically ready to go out into the world before the surrogate will be.

The intended parents may fall out of communication for a little while, after all they have a newborn! This can also cause some emotions for a surrogate, as they’ve been close for the last nine months or longer while the baby was coming. But, surrogates shouldn’t be discouraged – they will resurface with love and appreciation soon. It is more than likely that intended parents and surrogate mothers have made friends for life. 

Likewise, if the surrogate has previously experienced postpartum depression, they will want to be wary that there is a likelihood of experiencing it again. The surrogate mother has just been through a traumatic experience, creating and birthing a child. The post-birth experience does not change. Surrogates should set themselves up for success by making sure they are prepared for a potential emotional dip.


Physical Planning

Even though surrogates are not taking a child home, their body will respond the same. They will still need time and help to recover from home. Seeking out and taking maternity leave is easier than ever with modern workplace policies towards pregnancy, so surrogates will likely have plenty of time to recover and relax after the birth.

The surrogate’s family should know that they will need additional help around the house, even if there isn’t a newborn around. Surrogates should still take it easy in the following weeks so they can heal.


Things to Remember

By preparing for the birth well ahead of time, surrogates are most likely to have a successful birth and after birth period. A lot of things can create stress in a surrogacy journey, especially the birth. This is one of the most emotional and potentially difficult periods of the entire process.

Be honest with yourself, your family, and your intended parents about how you are doing and feeling during this time so that you can help yourself as you recover from giving the greatest gift in the world.


If you’re interested in becoming a surrogate, please reach out to us here.

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