If you’re thinking about being a gestational surrogate, you’ve probably thought about a lot: how your pregnancy will affect your body and mind, how your family will feel, whether you’re ready for the challenges ahead.
But, have you thought about how being a surrogate may affect your job?
Just like being pregnant with your own child, being pregnant with an intended parent’s child will require a great deal of time and energy from you. As you focus on a healthy pregnancy and strong relationship with your intended parents, you will also need to focus on your everyday family and career responsibilities. It’s easy to forget how much pregnancy can affect your career, but it’s an important thing to think about before starting down this path.
We encourage you to talk in depth with your surrogacy specialist about how surrogacy may impact your job. Remember, we’re always available to talk at 1-800-875-2229(BABY). In the meantime, keep reading to prepare yourself for how surrogacy may affect your career.
The Challenges of Surrogate Pregnancy
As you know, pregnancy takes a great deal of energy and effort. Keeping yourself healthy during nine months — while simultaneously managing your everyday responsibilities — can quickly take a toll on your body and mind.
How much your career will be affected will depend on a few things. First, how much physical and mental energy does your job take? If you are in a position that requires a great deal of physical movement, you will have to cut back on your responsibilities while pregnant. This, in turn, may affect your work performance. While there are legal protections for working while pregnant, you should still think hard about how your pregnancy may affect your current and future pay — and whether your family can afford that while you are pregnant.
At the same time, you may be required to take time off work for important appointments and meetings. For example, you may need to travel to the intended parents’ clinic for your embryo transfer. That may require you to take a few days off work. Do you have the time off you need, or can you afford to take a hit to your paycheck for those few days?
Breaking the News to Your Boss
As you prepare to take time off of work, you’ll eventually need to speak with your supervisor. Not only will you need to take time off for the embryo transfer process, but you’ll also need to take maternity leave for your delivery and postpartum recovery. While there shouldn’t be any difference in time off for a gestational pregnancy or a pregnancy of your own, you’ll still need to keep your boss in the loop as early as possible.
How much detail you share with your supervisor will be up to you. It’s a good idea to explain that you are carrying a gestational pregnancy to avoid misinformation spreading around the office. This is also a good time to mention that you will likely be taking a shorter maternity leave because you won’t have a child to look after.
Before you meet with your supervisor, you might want to review your company policies or talk to your human resources manager. That way, you will be as informed as possible about your maternity leave policy and know what to expect in your conversation.
What to Say to Coworkers
If you plan to work through your pregnancy, you’ll also need to think about your conversations with your coworkers. You won’t be able to keep your pregnancy a secret but, if you keep secret the fact that the baby is not yours, you may find yourself facing some uncomfortable situations — congratulations or even a work baby shower.
As always, how much you decide to share about your surrogacy journey will always be up to you. When explaining your decision to be a surrogate, you might take this opportunity to answer your coworkers’ questions — or you might simply give only the information they need. It is your decision. But, if you feel comfortable doing so, telling your coworkers about your surrogacy allows you to educate others and clear up some of the misconceptions that still exist.
Of course, you will likely need to keep your coworkers updated about your plans for time off and maternity leave. This way, you will ensure that your responsibilities are covered while you are gone.
While you will likely take less time to recover from a gestational pregnancy than a pregnancy of your own (because you won’t be caring for a newborn at home), you will still need to take some time off after delivery. Fortunately, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects your ability to have 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave for the birth of a child.
However, before becoming a surrogate, think about how your maternity leave may affect your family’s financial situation. Can you afford to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave? Do you want to use your paid vacation for your recovery period? Will your surrogate base compensation provide enough to support your family during this time?
While it may not be something at the top of your mind when you first become a surrogate, your career should play a role in deciding whether this is the right time for this journey or not. If you’re not sure how your job will affect being a surrogate, or you want to learn more about the demands of surrogacy, don’t hesitate to contact our surrogacy specialists today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).