Intended parents are usually able to get to the hospital with plenty of time to spare, so they can welcome their baby alongside their surrogate. But it’s always a fear in the back of the mind of gestational surrogates and intended parents, especially in long-distance matches — what if the intended parents don’t make it in time?
What if they miss their baby’s birth? Who would be responsible for the baby’s care and for making any necessary medical decisions until the intended parents arrive?
While this is extremely rare (it’s never happened with American Surrogacy so far!) it’s certainly possible for an unavoidable impediment like unexpected/emergency labor, a travel ban or flight delay to prevent the intended parents from being present at the time of the baby’s birth.
Here’s what surrogates and intended parents should know:
Always Stay Calm
In the unlikely event that this happens in your surrogacy journey, both parties will be understandably upset that things aren’t going according to plan. The arrival of the baby is an important moment, and you all want to be together for that event.
However, if something unexpected and unavoidable occurs, all that really matters is the health and safety of the baby and surrogate. No matter what, the baby will be born and the families will be united — even if it’s not as soon as everyone would prefer. Until then, stay calm and trust that each party (along with your American Surrogacy specialist) will take care of their end of things.
The Baby Would Be Cared for By the Nurses
If the parents are significantly delayed for some reason, the gestational surrogate cannot care for the baby in the interim because she’s not the parent and has no legal rights to the child. That will be the hospital’s policy, even if the intended parents give permission for her to temporarily take over for them until they arrive.
The hospital’s pediatric staff would assume care of the baby until the parents arrive.
Talk to Your Attorney
Your surrogacy attorneys may be able to work a clause into your contracts that outlines what would happen in this situation, including some advanced medical directives. Ask them what’s possible in your situation, and coordinate with your surrogacy partner as well as your specialist to make sure any relevant legal information is provided to hospital staff in advance.
Talking to your attorney will be especially important if you’re stationed overseas and need to travel back to the United States mainland to be with your U.S. surrogate. Ask your attorney and hospital if there are any exceptions that can be made in your situation, or if you can make some decisions regarding your newborn’s care in advance.
Keep Phones Close at Hand
Some of the medical and newborn care decisions that need to be made by the parents may be done over the phone. This can be tricky if the parents are mid-flight or are traveling through an area with spotty reception. However, surrogates and intended parents can try to keep an open line of communication before, during and after the baby’s birth for important updates, so we always recommend having that phone fully charged, close at hand and with the ringer on.
This will also be important in case your surrogacy specialist tries to get ahold of either of you for updates or important information!
You’ll Have the Rest of Your Lives to Make Up for One Missed Moment
If, as an intended parent, you can’t imagine missing your baby’s first breaths, try to keep things in perspective. Missing your child’s birth would be incredibly difficult. But you’ll have a lifetime together ahead of you!
Surrogates: If you’re comfortable doing so, and you know that the intended parents are about to miss their baby’s birth, consider asking your spouse or a nurse to video or photograph your labor and delivery. Being able to see their baby come into the world (even after the fact) may mean a lot to the parents.
Your Surrogacy Specialist Will Be Ready
Whether you’re an intended parent or a surrogate, remember that your American Surrogacy specialist will be watching over your journey and making sure that things are going smoothly. Even if something unexpected and unavoidable happens, like the intended parents being delayed on their way to the hospital, your specialist will be ready.
She will be communicating with hospital staff, your attorneys and both parties as often as possible to keep everyone in the know. We understand that sometimes things unexpectedly happen and throw a wrench in our carefully-made plans! But we’ll be ready to help everyone deal with whatever comes your way and make sure the baby is safe, happy and healthy until he or she is placed into the parents’ arms.