In your previous deliveries, you probably had a fairly standard hospital experience. But if this is your first delivery as a gestational surrogate, you might be unsure of what to expect at the hospital and how this experience as a surrogate will differ from your past experiences.
Here’s what you can anticipate from your time at the hospital as a surrogate:
1. Much of the Paperwork is Prepared in Advance
The intended parents’ attorney will contact the hospital for the necessary legal paperwork. American Surrogacy will send the hospital the birth plan that you and the intended parents created, so they’ll be aware of all your wishes in advance.
2. Accommodations Will Already Be Made for the Intended Parents
American Surrogacy will contact the hospital to see if they can accommodate the intended parents in a separate room, so you can each have your privacy but be nearby one another. Hospitals are usually pretty welcoming and accommodating toward surrogacy situations, and we always do our best to let them know what’s going on in advance so they can respect the unique connection between your two families.
3. You’ll Receive Two Wristbands at the Hospital
Similar to most deliveries, you’ll be given two identifying hospital wristbands. One will be for you, the other for an intended parent, which is how hospitals usually handle adoptions, as well. When the baby is born and given an identifying wristband, he or she may have your last name on their band. This can be a source of sensitivity for some intended parents, but hospitals do this to try to keep track of your group.
4. We Can Help Alert (Most) Hospital Staff about Your Surrogacy Situation
Although hospitals are usually very welcoming of surrogates and intended parents, it’s hard to let every hospital staff member that you’ll encounter know that you’re a gestational surrogate. This means you could be congratulated on “your” baby, and the intended parents might unintentionally be excluded by someone. Try to stay patient.
We can also give you a sign to place on your hospital room door, if you like, which lets hospital staff know that you’re a proud gestational surrogate.
5. The Baby is Already on the Family’s Insurance
Don’t worry about being responsible for the baby’s medical expenses (or your own). Those will be covered by the intended parents, and arrangements will already have been made to add the baby to the intended parents’ insurance plan.
6. You Just Need to Focus on Your Delivery and Recovery
When you give birth to your own baby, there’s often a lot of paperwork and fuss before and after you arrive home with your new child. Not to mention the nerves and excitement of becoming a parent. As a surrogate, however, as soon as you’re discharged from the hospital, your responsibilities are usually done! Your main job is to recover, rest and get back to the things you didn’t have time for while you were a surrogate.
The only exceptions to this would be dependent on where you live. In some states, you might need to complete a few post-birth legal measures, which your attorney will guide you through beforehand.
Some surrogates choose to pump for the parents and the baby. Deciding what you’d like to do with your breastmilk supply is a pre-birth consideration that will affect your post-birth experience, depending on your choice.
7. Your Recovery Time is a Good Opportunity for Closure
Even if you continue to stay in each other’s lives after your surrogacy journey together has ended, your postpartum recovery can be a chance for you to see the intended family finally together, let your family meet the baby and serve as a time to be proud of yourself and what you’ve done for this family.
If you’re feeling well enough, now can be a nice time for your family to visit and congratulate you on the hard work and love you put into your journey as a surrogate. If you’re not up to it, that’s fine — but do allow others to celebrate your efforts, even in small ways.
A Surrogate’s Hospital Experience Is Usually Surprisingly Straightforward
Up until this point, you’ve had a lot to juggle — frequent doctor appointments, paperwork, screening processes and even your relationship with the intended parents. At the hospital, however, your experience will be relatively straightforward and standard. The biggest two exceptions being that this isn’t your baby and another family will be included in the experience.
Barring any unforeseen medical complications with your delivery, most surrogates have a fairly easy time at the hospital. Once your labor is over, all the hardest parts of surrogacy will be behind you, and you’ll be rewarded with seeing the family you helped create.
If you need help preparing for your time at the hospital as a surrogate, reach out to your surrogate specialist at American Surrogacy at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).