Dear Sassy: As my most recent surrogacy ended I found myself in labor and unable to reach the intended parents. The new parents didn’t arrive until almost 24 hours after their precious bundle arrived, and as the hospital didn’t have a nursery, I was left taking care of the baby! Don’t get me wrong, I gave the baby all the love and care I would have my own children, but what can I do to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again? – Lost After Labor
Dear Lost: Wow! You are an amazing human on top of being an amazing human! You gave this family the ultimate gift by agreeing to “babysit” their child during gestation and then you went on to do a little bit of babysitting afterwards when I’m certain you were exhausted! This is definitely an issue that surrogates and IP’s should address together, ideally before a legal contract is even signed! I think it’s rare for an intended parent to intentionally miss the birth of their child. But sometimes, due to the baby coming early, international travel, or circumstances out of everyone’s control, it does happen. If you are a surrogate through an agency, ask them what their policy is. Some intended parents have agreements in place where the agency director obtains power of attorney to act in place of the intended parents until their arrival. It’s also possible for you to take on power of attorney until the parents arrive if everyone is in agreement of that being best. Early communication is key to preventing situations like this. Have a great next journey!
Dear S.S.: I was recently informed that I would not be able to carry a child of my own and that using a surrogate would be my best bet to have a biological child. Luckily, I have a cousin who has willingly stepped forward to be our surrogate. It turns out that surrogacy is expensive! And my cousin is insisting that we each have our own attorney, which just adds to the cost – unnecessarily in my opinion – and we agree on all the big issues so there’s no point. We’re at an impasse because she won’t budge. Help me convince her she’s wrong and one attorney can represent us both! – Saving For Diapers
Dear Saving: Congratulations on finding a family member willing to give you such a fantastic gift! Unfortunately, in this case I agree with your cousin. The legal documents surrounding surrogacy are complex and even if you feel like you are in 100% agreement (which, the fact that you are disagreeing about the attorney issue shows that might not be the case to the degree you think!) it’s always best to have someone looking out for each side’s interest. Not to mention, depending on what state your cousin is in, you may be legally required to obtain independent counsel. Yes, surrogacy is expensive, but the cost of a second attorney is a small price to pay to be 100% confident that everyone’s best interests are represented.
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