Attention Gay Dads: Find Your Gestational Carrier in Colorado

By: Suzie White

Of course you want your surrogate to live in the beautiful, fitness-friendly Colorado: we have a great social and legal climate here for surrogacy, as well as having a very supportive LGBTQ community. Gay dads couldn’t ask for a better place to grow a baby! Well, there are other states that are surrogacy friendly as well, but we are kind of partial to colorful Colorado, as we are one of the few local surrogacy agencies in the state. Here are some reasons we think you should find your gestational carrier in the home of the Mile High City:

Colorado has beautiful mountain ranges and has outstanding medical care.
Some of the world’s leading fertility clinics are located right here in Denver. We have access to top rated fertility specialists, hospitals and birthing centers, so your gestational carrier won’t need to travel for the best medical care. 

Colorado has a friendly court system to LGBTQ families.
Both dads get to be dads in black and white! Our court system in Colorado will put the names of the one or two parents of the child on the pre-birth order (and therefore the birth certificate) regardless of sex. This is a huge step in equality and also practical as far as parenting goes. Filing fees for pre-birth orders are also less expensive in Colorado than in states with specific surrogacy laws. 

Colorado is welcoming and has a progressive legal climate.
Not all states allow surrogacy in one form or another, so do your homework before choosing. Colorado is surrogacy friendly, meaning you can spend your time focusing on welcoming your new baby!

Colorado is cool and has healthy babies.
We have a lower infant mortality rate and higher breastfeeding rate than the national averages, which can be important factors in deciding where to choose your surrogate mother.

Colorado has 300 days of sun a year (sort of) and is a health conscious state.
So maybe the “300 days” thing is a bit of a myth, but it’s not far off. Coloradans always rank high as far as being healthy, fit and active. With so many sunny days, it’s hard not to get out to the farmer’s market, climb the stairs at Red Rocks, or walk your dog in Wash Park.

It’s so exciting to get started on your journey to adding a baby to your family. Colorado is the perfect place to get started!

Photo by Stanley Dai on Unsplash

 

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Photos During the Surrogacy Process

It’s such an amazing time – your surrogate is pregnant with your little one and this is REALLY happening. Your baby will be here in a few months and there is so much to get done. Pregnancy is a beautiful time and you may want to document it with pictures – but how do you approach this intimate subject with your surrogate? Here are some tips for getting those adorable surrogacy maternity photo shoots going!

Ask early: Even if you aren’t sure that you’ll even want pictures during the pregnancy, talk to your surrogate before matching to see her and her family’s willingness to do photos. Most surrogates are thrilled to be a part of their IPs’ photos, but it’s worth talking over early. She may have modesty requests for photos, but probably nothing you’re not already certain to be respectful of!

Styles and Timelines:  Do you want pictures of the pregnancy every month, or just a couple of times during the pregnancy? Do you just want birth pictures? Do you have a vision for how the photos will look and who will be in the photos? Will it be just you and the surrogate’s belly, or will there be other family members as well?

Research your photographers: Online surrogacy boards and communities are a great place to find recommendations on professional photographers! It can sometimes help if your photographer has done a surrogacy pregnancy/birth before, but it’s not necessary. You may also have a family friend in mind who could help out. You may also just want to ask the surrogate (or her partner) to take monthly pictures in the same location so you can have a souvenir of baby growing – your surrogate is likely very excited to help you document this beautiful process.

Props?: There are a lot of adorable surrogate maternity photo ideas, including chalk board props, clever positioning, t-shirts, ultrasounds, and holding bellies and hands. What do you want your photos to look like?

Run your plan past your surrogate: Even if your surrogate is totally game for whatever you want to do for photos, make sure to share with her (or even brainstorm with her) ideas on taking photos.

Delivery room photos: The best way to approach the subject of delivery room photos is to just bring it up. Delivery room photos are more and more common, and many surrogates are happy to be part of them. Just make sure you’ve discussed your vision with your surrogate and with your photographer. Get excited – and teary – here comes your baby, and take heart that you’re going to be able to relive that beautiful moment through these photos.

Don’t be afraid to ask your surrogate to help you out with photos of the pregnancy and delivery. Your surrogate wants you to have the full experience of pregnancy and will most likely be open to how you want to document it. Just be open and give her a heads up and you’ll end up with pictures that will make the world swoon with love for your beautiful family.

 

Photo by Marcelo Matarazzo on Unsplash

The Crazy Questions Surrogates Get

Kids say the darnedest things? Well, so do adults (family, friends, strangers on the bus) when they find out you are going to be a surrogate. Answers to most of these questions or comments could be topics all on their own, but here are the basics of the questions surrogates get asked.

Don’t you want to keep the baby? Won’t you get attached? The baby is not mine, I went into this experience knowing the baby was not mine and I wanted to help someone else make their dreams come true in making a family.  There is a relationship made with the baby, like seeing the joy in the intended parents eyes when the baby is born. And, NO I don’t want to keep the baby. Does your babysitter try to keep your kids when you get home?

Can a surrogate keep the baby? No. There are legal contracts made before the embryo(s) is/are ever transferred and legal documents filed with the courts as the pregnancy progresses establishing who the parents are.

Wow, I could never give up my baby! The baby is in no way mine.  I knew going into this process it was not my baby and the baby is in no way genetically related to me.

So you are going to be rich? I am compensated for my time, and all medical costs are covered . . . but, rich? No.

Do you have to give yourself shots? Yes, as well as pills, suppositories, patches, creams, and the list goes on and on.

People shouldn’t be playing God.  Totally. I assume that's why you won't take antibiotics or other medications. If God didn't want you sick or dying, he would make you better without turning to modern medicine and doctors who are otherwise playing God by treating you.

People shouldn’t pay for babies.  We all pay for babies in one way or another, some just have to pay a little more to get help make their dreams come true.

Isn’t that just like egg donation? No, they are not using my eggs, and I carry a baby for 9 months.  This is not anonymous, I know these people and relationships are made.

So they use a turkey baster? Well, not really. Embryos don’t last too well in turkey basters. It’s a little more complicated than that.

Did you have sex with the dad to get pregnant? NO!!! EWWW!!! An embryo, created from someone else’s egg and sperm, was transferred to my uterus by a licensed medical professional.

What if the Intended Parents wanted only one and you get pregnant with twins, do they only keep one baby? Legal contracts will stipulate if reduction of fetuses is an option, but if two babies are born they both go home with the intended parents.

Won’t the babies look like you? No, they are in no way genetically related to me.  A little caveat: they could look like the surrogate if she chooses to carry for a family member, but it still wouldn’t be her eggs. 

Surrogacy has a steep learning curve and it’s still not all that common, but the experience is amazing. With that being said, words still hurt, and make eyes roll so please try to approach with kindness and curiosity.  As surrogates, we know we are going to have to answer all sorts of questions, and we usually don’t mind a bit, but please just ask with an open heart.

Photo by Eunice Lituañas on Unsplash

Dear Sassy Surrogate

Dear Sassy: I recently signed my contract with my intended parents (yay!) and we have started scheduling the appointments with the clinic. I’m going to be in and out of work A LOT leading up to the transfer, and beyond. When is a good time to tell my boss that I’m a surrogate? I’m worried they aren’t going to understand, or that they’ll treat me differently because I’ll be pregnant (with someone else’s child!). – Working and Worried

Dear Working: That’s so exciting that you’ve signed your contract! You’ve asked a great question here: when do I tell work that I’m a surrogate? The answer really depends on what your work culture is like. If you feel comfortable being open with your boss, and you feel supported in general at the workplace, you could probably discuss your upcoming surrogacy journey at any point. But it sounds like your workplace might be less open to pregnancy in general. Remember that you don’t actually ever have to officially tell your work about your pregnancy, or your surrogacy journey. You should be able to put in for time off for your appointments without ever having to say why. Of course, once your baby bump is visible, it may become open office knowledge anyway. I would suggest talking to your HR department first, if you have one. They may be able to guide you in the rest of the office politics. Hopefully your surrogacy becomes a learning experience for the whole workplace, and continues to be a journey of joy.

Dear Sassy: I’ve been reading through my gestational carrier agreement and I noticed that my IPs are going to pay $225/month for housekeeping. I’ve been able to clean my own house while pregnant with my own little ones, and I’d just rather they keep the money. My partner says to just take the money and enjoy the break, but I’d feel bad taking money for something that I’m perfectly able to do. – Comfortable Cleaning

Dear Comfortable: It’s a common struggle for surrogates to feel bad about some (or all) of the money that the IPs have to spend in order to have the baby they’ve been pining over. Here’s how I look at it: the IPs are aware of the expenses of having a surrogate up front. And while it’s not fair that some people have to pay so much to have a baby, the IPs have had to face that cost, and additionally, they want to do whatever they can to help their surrogate be happy and have a healthy pregnancy. That may mean that they want to provide some money so that you can have your house deep cleaned once a month while pregnant with their child to save you a little stress and a little exertion. I’m sure that if you absolutely did not want to accept the housecleaning money that they would have their attorney take it out, but that it is in there in the first place indicates that they are comfortable, and maybe even eager, to help you out in any way they can.

Have a question for the Sassy Surrogate?  Send it to info@coloradosurro.com and we’ll pass it along!

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The Surrogacy Relationship

When approaching the relationship between intended parents (IPs) and gestational carriers (GCs), there are a lot of variables to consider, as usual with the surrogacy process! From what city each party is located, to the personalities at play, every situation and personal preference is different.  The most important thing is that when you are matched you discuss together what your relationship will look like, and possibly include it in your legal contract.

Here are some specifics to consider:

Style of Communication

First you have to know your own style of communication and will that style work with the other people involved in this relationship. A fun (and enlightening!) exercise is to see what you think your communication style is, and find out what your match discovers about their communication style. We like the 4 archetypes on Maturitas Café: Relator, Initiator, Analyzer or Director. Once you know your style and your match’s style, you can have a greater understanding of why they communicate the way they do, and how you might communicate more effectively to them.

Preferred Method of Contact

This is huge in a world of technology. Both parties need to know each other’s preferred method of contact and be able to use that in order to communicate. For example, would someone prefer to text than talk on the phone, or do they prefer to only talk and will never answer or possibly not even look at a text? People might also just prefer to email, or use Facebook Messenger, or Google Hangouts.  Something important to discuss is how to contact each other in case of an emergency.

How Often

For IPs there is a great deal of trust in this relationship, because you can’t be with your GC every waking moment. Knowing how often you want (or need!) to be in contact with your GC is important: every day, every couple of weeks, once a month, or only before and/or after appointments. Know your absolute limits of how much time out of touch is too much time out of touch. Also, go over your expectations with your GC: I expect a response within the hour, within 24 hours, within a week.

For GCs, it is important for you to realize how much trust is given to you and do your best to communicate with the IPs as often or not as they would like. Knowing how involved the IPs want to be and being conscientious about trying to include them when they would like to be included is important. And while it’s important to try to live up to your IP’s expectations on communication, being up front about your own desires and needs with communication will help you feel more connected.

How to Include the GC’s Partner

Ask! Ask the GC’s partner if and how much they want to be included.  Do they want to be included on all correspondence between the two families, included in doctors’ appointments, and side-by-side with the GC, or would they rather be more of a bystander? The GC’s partner may just want to be there for the GC, and not involved so much in the nitty-gritty of the surrogacy pregnancy, like the appointments.

One way to include the GC’s partner more would be through an app, like TinyBeans, where everyone can log their experiences for the whole group to see. Or if you are planning to give a gift to your GC, make it something she and her partner can enjoy together, like massages, dinner someplace away from the kids, etc.

Location of GC and IPs

Location determines some of the contact made. If both parties are local to each other, seeing each other in-person is a nice touch especially as that belly grows. If parties live in different states or countries, in-person contact will definitely be less, but that just means that phone calls, video calls, emails, and pictures become your main medium.

Taking Care of Yourself

Something that often gets overlooked when talking about our relationships to other people is how important it is that we take care of ourselves. We can relate better to others and share better with others when we feel heard ourselves, and when we feel connected to our own feelings. For IPs, intended parents surrogacy blogs or intended parents support groups that you can find and join online can really help you take care of questions you may not feel comfortable asking your GC or just help you vent about the whole surrogacy process. For GCs, surrogate mother support groups or surrogacy journey blogs, as well as resources like surromomsonline can help you do the same thing: ask weird questions, vent about the process, find camaraderie.

The relationship between gestational carrier and intended parents is one of the most beautiful, nuanced, challenging and important relationships out there. You’re going through a lot together! Building a great relationship is all about being open with each other, communication, and taking care of yourself and each other.

 

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