Becoming a Surrogate Parent
Surrogacy can be a fulfilling experience for both the intended parents and the surrogate mother. Surrogacy also needs a high level of commitment from those involved for some of the challenges the parties might experience. One of which is the intended parents bonding with the surrogate baby. The relationship between a child and a parent holds an incredibly devoted bond. It is this very bond that makes a parent want to protect and nurture their children. This connection is the centre of the psychological well being of any child. Counselling is provided through the clinics, and whenever necessary or required.
How to know when you are emotionally ready to become an Intended Parent?
Deciding to become parents, no matter the situation, is a big decision. When choosing to have a child through surrogacy, you need to be aware of the challenges and be prepared for the process and what will be needed from you. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Are you and your partner committed to the surrogacy process?
Do you have the right Agency and support to guide you through your journey, and be fully informed.
Do you know the potential risks involved in this process?
How to bond with your baby before birth?
The pregnancy can be an emotional time for the Intended Parents, as you’re still grieving your loss for the role. By having a good relationship with your gestational carrier, you certainly can bond with your baby in utero. Let’s go through a few ways in which you can bond with your surrogate baby before birth.
Be involved in the pregnancy
Be as involved in the pregnancy as possible. That means being present at every doctors visit, making sure your surrogate is comfortable and taken care of. Be active in your preparation for your new baby through activities like preparing the nursery and starting your family album early with the sonogram pictures. Ensuring that all the needs of the Surrogate are met and she has full trust in them. Providing her with any necessary requirements, ie childcare, dietary requirements, clothing, vitamins.
Bonding with your baby in the womb
As mentioned before, the baby becomes accustomed to sounds in utero. Use this opportunity to talk to your baby in the womb, allow them to learn and recognise your voice. Another way to do this is to record your voice reading stories or singing songs, and ask your surrogate to play this to the baby.This will allow the baby to become more and more attached to your voice.
Form a relationship with the surrogate mother
Creating and nurturing a relationship between the surrogate and the intended parents is highly recommended. By having a good relationship with your gestational carrier, you are able to feel more a part of the pregnancy. Establish trust, communication, boundaries and flexibility with your surrogate. Surrogacy is a mutual gift that you give to one another. By having a healthy relationship with your surrogate, you are able to be an active part of the pregnancy through various ways. By instilling these four core values, the surrogate will feel as though she has your respect and you have theirs with whatever you need her to fulfill for you to feel as active in the pregnancy/surrogacy journey as possible. Being able to feel comfortable to discuss any issues that may arise. Enjoy each others company, feeling totally relaxed, re-assuring each other, and keeping in constant communication.
Dealing with emotional grief
Acknowledge your feelings. Don’t push aside any negative emotions. It's important that you acknowledge what you’re feeling, understand what it means and remember that you are able to become the parent you’ve always wanted to be. Be honest with your partner about where your emotions are. If you need guidance in dealing with your emotional grief, talk to a professional. There are trained therapists who will be able to help with sustainable, healthy mechanisms to assist you in coping with your grief, all clinics insist on counselling sessions prior to beginning the process, and starting your journey. Find a healthy outlet for the emotions you’re feeling. Whether that’s journaling, exercise, yoga or mindfulness groups.
How a surrogate mother can help
There are various things a surrogate mother can do to assist in the transition. A few of these things include:
Allowing the parents to talk to the baby in the womb
Playing their recorded voices for the baby using particular headphones
Making sure the intended parents are present for sonograms and doctors visits
Be included in hypnobirthing classes so that they can all be included and feel a part of the birth process.
Ensure the baby is handed straight to the Intended Parent straight after delivery, ideally skin to skin is recommended
These are just a few ways in which a surrogate can assist in creating a bond with the parents and baby in utero and how they can play a role in transitioning after birth. Make sure the hospital, midwives, and any medical staff are informed this is a Surrogacy arrangement, and the Intended Parents are the main care providers for the baby.
If you’d like to find out more ways in which surrogacy could help you, contact us for more information.
Make a Memorable day for you all to celebrate your journey
Having days out including the surrogates children and where relevant there partner, having a spa day and pamper with afternoon tea, possibly buying a thoughtful gift as a keepsake.
Do you invite a surrogate to a baby shower
There is no right or wrong answer to this. Some intended parents prefer to not have a surrogate mother at the shower, and prefer to keep it a closed celebration with only close family members. If everyone is aware of your surrogacy pregnancy and you’d like your gestational carrier to be there at the day, that’s fine too. There is no right or wrong answer as to whether you should throw a baby shower for a surrogate mom. Whatever is comfortable for both parties.
How to bond with your baby after birth?
Planning a pregnancy through surrogacy can be an overwhelming task. Apart from all the other factors involved, the one element most intended parents worry about is bonding with your baby. As mentioned above, attachment begins in utero. Whilst there are ways to involve yourself as the intended parent during the pregnancy, following birth, it can be difficult to navigate. This is why emotional transfer after birth is so important. Let’s explore.
Emotional transfer is the exchange of this natural attachment from the baby and the surrogate to the baby and the intended parents. Emotional transferring for surrogate parents is a process that is started before the birth through the various bonding exercises such as being involved with the pregnancy, doctors visits, taking to the baby in utero, among others.
When it comes to the physical transfer of the baby, there are different scenarios to consider. Some of the elements to keep in mind are:
Will you be in the delivery room
Will the surrogate hold the baby and hand it over to you
What are birthing centre or hospitals procedures on transfers
Navigating your way around your planned physical transfer will depend on the agreement you set up with your gestational carrier and birth place. Physical transferring will also allow you to begin your physical bond with your baby. Let’s go through some of the ways that can be done.
A letter is normally lodged with the hospital at 26 weeks gestational, outlining the wishes of the handover procedure and who the main care provider will be of the baby. In all cases this will be the Intended Parents.
Bonding through touch
Skin to skin touch after birth is crucial for the intended parents. This is where your baby will first become accustomed to you, your touch and your scent. Often this is where your baby will be placed in your arms, close to your chest to have skin on skin action, where they are able to hear your heartbeat and feel the warmth of your body.
Bonding through senses
During the pregnancy, when you have spoken to the baby in utero, asked the surrogate to play certain music, one birthed, the baby can bond through these audio senses too. By hearing the familiar voice and music played to them, they can make the connection from when they heard you from within the womb.
Maintaining a healthy relationship with the surrogate mother after birth
Part of the surrogacy process, and something to consider before birth, is how you would see your relationship panning out after the baby is delivered. There is no right or wrong in this scenario. Some intended parents don’t mind having their surrogate as part of their life, others would prefer you go your separate ways once the baby has been born. Either way, this is a point to be discussed and agreed upon by all involved so that everyone understands how the relationship changes after birth. This is outlined in the agreement, prior to starting their journey.
Do surrogate mothers get attached to the child?
A common question intended parents have are “Do surrogate mothers get attached to the child?”. It is natural for the surrogate mother to be protective of the unborn child, on behalf of the Intended Parent. This ensures you that your baby is growing in a safe and loving place by the gestational carrier who cares about them. The surrogate mother becomes more attached to giving the intended parents a healthy and happy baby. Surrogate mothers are also evaluated to make sure they have the psychological counselling, to ensure that each surrogate is committed to the journey of being a gestational carrier.