Ask Jennifer! What happens if you deliver the baby and the IPs don’t make the birth?

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Ask Jennifer! Does Colorado Surrogacy expect to grow over the next 5 years?

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Ask Jennifer! Are there resources and support for when surrogacy doesn’t go as planned?

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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.

 

Ask Jennifer! How many pregnancies can a GC have before they are not able to be a surrogate?

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Ask Jennifer! Is a surrogate allowed to decline vaccination while pregnant?

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Ask Jennifer! Is there anything that limits the length of times embryos can be frozen?

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What You Need to Know About the Right for Assisted Reproductive Technologies

It’s true that there have been exciting and encouraging advances in LGBTQ rights recently. But as you may have seen featured here on our blog from Ellen Trachman’s articles at Above the Law, there’s still a long ways to go, especially when it comes to parenting rights and access to assisted reproductive technologies (ART).

When the Obergefell v. Hodges decision guaranteed the fundamental right to marry to same-sex couples last year, some states began to try to find ways to get around the decision. Unfortunately, parenting rights for the LGBTQ community, which had been meager to begin with, began to be chipped away even further, from “Natural Meaning” laws being proposed in Tennessee to the Pidgeon v. Turner decision from the Texas Supreme Court.

In better news, just two weeks ago, the Supreme Court confirmed that the Obergefell decision did indeed grant same-sex couples “the constellation of benefits” that other couples enjoy in their states in the Pavan v. Smith decision.

While some places race forward to make IVF and surrogacy easier for all to access, some continue to throw up roadblocks, especially to LGBTQ communities, and a lot of that has to do with insurance coverage. Only fifteen states require that insurance companies even offer infertility treatment coverage, while only seven of those fifteen states actually require employers to offer infertility benefits to employees. And in some cases, infertility has to be proven to even receive the benefit, which can be impossible for some same-sex couples.

The limitations and continual challenges to the LGBTQ community’s parenting rights and access to ART is discouraging. But as more cases are brought fighting for the rights of LGBTQ couples to have families with whom and how they choose, the more encouraging the scenery gets. Here’s some more reading and resources on the status of ART and parenting rights for the LGBTQ community. If you have any questions as you start your own journey to becoming a parent, be sure to consult with an attorney in your state!

How LGBTQ Americans are Reshaping the Fight for Assisted Reproduction – Neil Mcarthur, VICE

Gestational Surrogacy Law Across the United States – Creative Family Connections

Reproductive Rights – The National LGBTQ Taskforce

Happy Fourth to All ART-Formed Families! Enjoy Your Rights – But We Still Have a Long Way to Go – Ellen Trachman, Above the Law

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 

 

Ask Jennifer! Is it appropriate for the IPs to be added to the life insurance policy for the GC?

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Ask Jennifer! What is the strangest dietary restriction asked of a surrogate and did she do it?

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Ask Jennifer! Is it a requirement that surrogates be open to termination or selective reduction?

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How to Strengthen Your Relationship with Your GC

By: Amanda Kinnard-Fuchsgruber

I am not an expert in relationships, but I have been a gestational carrier.  Relationships are work and all of them have their ups and downs. Intended parents (IPs) and gestational carriers (GCs) have a special relationship: they are creating a life together and this process involves many more ins and outs and a bond like no other.

Trust

It is important to establish a good relationship as this journey is quick, yet can feel long. This relationship requires a great amount of trust. Knowing your surrogate, asking her questions, and communicating often will help to build that trust. Know what she likes, her preferences, joys, frustrations, and just what’s going on in her life. She has given a lot to go on this journey and showing her that you care about her, and not just the baby she is nurturing for you, is important. This will also help you know her in order to trust her with the decisions she has to make, even when you are not around.

Use an Agency

This is a must in my book, especially having seen what can happen when there is no one helping the IPs and GCs do everything that needs to get done. An agency can be the 3rd party middle man, seeing both sides of the situation.  An agency can help with all the appointments, processes, and to just be a listening ear. Most importantly they handle anything related to the discussion of money. Money is a huge stressor to begin with and adding all of the ins and outs of surrogacy, it becomes an even bigger stressor. Letting the agency handle those discussions and being the go-between can save a lot of heartache and resentment on both sides. If for some reason you have to do an independent match, both the IPs and the GC (and her spouse) need a lawyer, preferably a lawyer who can set up an escrow account for you. 

Different Journeys

Many times coming to the decision of using a surrogate has come from great turmoil and loss. No one should have to experience that. There will be tough times that will bring up hurt feelings, or emotions that you thought you had already dealt with. Many times the GC’s journey has been very different. She may not understand your journey completely but she does want to help make a positive end to that long and treacherous road. Be mindful in those hard moments that you don’t point those hard moments her way.

Everyone Wants the Same Thing

I know we have all heard the horror stories, but let’s put that aside. Almost ALL of the women who are surrogates are doing this for the same goal as the IPs: to create a baby or two and build a family. A beautiful, healthy, bouncing baby is everyone’s truest goal. Trusting that knowledge can take a lot of faith and a little bit of letting go.

Be Kind

As the intended parents, this is a stressful journey, financially, physically, and emotionally. It can also be stressful for the carrier in a different way, with appointments, medications, time, money, and still having to live her life while caring for somebody else’s baby. There is always that voice reminding her about the intended parents, “What would they do?”, or “What would they want?”  In those moments of stress be kind: be kind to yourself in your mind and words, while also being kind to your surrogate, trusting that she also wants the best for all of you.

Positive Communication

In any relationship there are bumps in the road. Staying positive is not always easy, however, negativity only leads to anger and resentment. Staying positive can only help in building the relationship, as well as the health and wellness of your surrogate and the baby she is growing inside. Being honest, yet kind and respectful is important. You are working together to create this life.  

Yes, the surrogate is being compensated, but that doesn’t mean her life stops or that there are not sacrifices she or her family have to make. Keep your communication and kindness high, and you’ll soon be looking back on the sometimes very challenging journey of surrogacy with a full heart.