In most IVF and surrogacy journeys, creating one healthy pregnancy can be hard enough. But, what happens when the embryo you’ve transferred to your gestational surrogate splits — and you now have identical twins on the way?
This surprise is enough to make even the most level-headed hopeful parents’ heads spin. But you’re not the first parents to experience this shock, and you won’t be the last. What’s important is moving forward with a clear head and a clear set of steps and responsibilities.
Remember, your American Surrogacy specialist will always be there for you in unexpected situations, including identical twins. You can always reach out to them for support and guidance moving forward.
There are usually a few tips we recommend to intended parents in this position:
1. First, Take Stock of Your Situation
Getting the news you’re having twins can be a huge shock. It’s normal to need some time to process this change in your family-building journey. Don’t be afraid to take a beat to accept this news.
Talk with your spouse, if applicable. Talk with your gestational surrogate, too. There is often a great deal of complicated emotions that come with this exciting news, and you are all in this gestational surrogacy journey together. Wherever you go from here, you will need to be on the same page.
However, don’t take too long for this step. Your reproductive endocrinologist will likely present a few paths moving forward (we’ll talk more about those below).
2. Recognize How This Changes Your Financial Situation
It’s no secret that having one baby is expensive. When you have two babies at once, those costs will often more than double.
Being a parent of twins means spending more on:
- Baby supplies (clothing, diapers, formula, etc.)
- Extracurricular activities
- School and college tuition
- And more
You should also consider the unique costs associated with a multiples gestational pregnancy. You will need to pay your surrogate an additional retainer for carrying more than one embryo, and you should be prepared for the extra costs associated with bedrest, invasive procedures or more time off work. These costs can quickly add up, so make sure you talk about them in depth with your surrogacy specialist.
Remember that a multiples pregnancy is much riskier than a singleton pregnancy. In the worst-case scenario, a gestational surrogate’s health could be permanently affected, and you could pay additional disability and even death compensation. While these situations are rare, they are always a possibility you should consider.
3. Remember the Risks of a Multiples Pregnancy
There’s a reason why most medical professionals no longer complete multiple-embryo transfers. The risks of a multiples pregnancy are just too great, to both the surrogate and the babies she carries. A multiples pregnancy can increase the possibility of:
- Preterm labor and delivery
- Low birth weight
- Gestational diabetes
- Placental abruption
- Fetal death
Your gestational surrogate will always be at risk in a multiples pregnancy, no matter how careful she is. This is why intended parents must talk at length with their surrogate before transfer and determine what both parties are comfortable with. If you choose to move forward with a twin pregnancy, your surrogate will have to accept this increased risk, and you will need to pay additional retainers, as mentioned above.
Unlike with multiple embryo transfers, twins that result from a single split embryo transfer often cannot be reduced. Identical twins will most likely share a placenta, making it impossible to remove one fetus to give the other the best chance of a healthy birth. Most reproductive endocrinologists will offer an “all-or-none” option: Either the surrogate must carry both fetuses to term, or the pregnancy will be terminated in hopes of a successful singleton pregnancy next time.
These are complicated conversations to have, made more difficult in the emotions of the moment. That’s why surrogacy contracts are so important — they will address situations like this ahead of time and lay out a clear path forward, should they occur.
4. Prepare for Parenting Two Newborns at Once
There’s a lot more to preparing for twins than getting your bank account in order. You’ll have twice as many responsibilities as caring for a single baby, and you’ll need to take a few steps to make that as easy as possible.
If you can, put these measures in place prior to even coming home with your new additions:
- Recruit some family members or friends to stay with you the first few weeks after the babies are born.
- Talk to and get advice from other parents raising multiple babies at once.
- Create a schedule for when your babies come home — who will feed the babies during the day and night, who will change diapers, who will put together your family’s meals, etc.
- Set up your first pediatrician’s appointment.
While you can’t prepare for all of the unknowns that come with raising children, taking a few steps ahead of time will save you a great deal of stress in the long run.
5. Finally, Take a Deep Breath
Becoming a parent is stressful. When you’re unexpectedly becoming a parent to two little babies, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Remember that every emotion you’re feeling — excitement, worry, sadness, guilt and terror — is all completely normal. You will never be a “bad” parent, as long as you take the steps now to prepare your family for this new journey. That means taking care of your mental health, too.
Don’t forget that your surrogate is likely feeling all kinds of complicated emotions, too. Take the time to reach out to her and remind her of your support. While the journey ahead may be unexpected, you can get through it together.
And, if you ever need any additional help or support, American Surrogacy will always be there for you.