Dear Sassy Surrogate: Strange Things in Gestational Surrogacy Agreements
I have been matched and cleared by the clinic but I am extremely nervous about moving to the legal agreement with the Intended Parents. Yes, I think they are great or I would not have chosen to be matched with them, however legal scares me. I am wanting to be prepared for the unexpected. What are the 3 strangest things you have seen in a Gestational Carrier Agreement?
—Optimistic but Concerned
Dear O & C,
I know we have all heard the horror stories of the controlling and demanding Intended Parents. Really most intended parents want what’s best for you and their baby. With that said, some things to expect, that may seem strange in a Gestational Carrier Agreement are limits on travel, handling rodents, reptiles and poop, and extreme sports.
Intended Parents are very concerned about minimizing risks, especially if it is something you can control like travel. Air travel poses higher risk during pregnancy for things like blood clots. It is possible that IPs will want to limit air travel during the pregnancy or restrict it all together. Some of those risks apply to traveling in general and many parents may have reasons to limit that travel, like Zika. The main issue with travel during pregnancy comes down to the legal aspect of the parentage process. The law governing the parentage process is by state, so it is important where the baby is physically delivered. Travel after 24 weeks is typically limited to the state in which you live and the parentage order has been established.
Herbert the Hamster and his little friends, rodents and reptiles, are notorious for carrying diseases. Normally having pets around is fine, but in pregnancy those pets can cause much bigger problems. It’s best to be hands off Herbert and any other rodents during pregnancy. That means no cleaning cages, cleaning the litter box or anything else that would contain feces. Yes, you can still snuggle your cat, just pass on the duty of the litter box, who doesn’t want to pass along that chore anyway.
While most of us are trying to put our socks on or just see our feet, there are some woman who are able to still rock climb or ski! If you are a Gestational Carrier these are considered extreme sports and extreme risk to the pregnancy. Commonly Gestational Carrier Agreements will say that the Gestational Carrier is not allowed to scuba dive, skydive, jump on a pogo stick, ski, roller skate, rock climb, ice climb, white water raft, or hang glide. This does not mean you can not exercise, just need to stay in the moderate range and talk with the fertility clinic or your OB about what kind and how much is right for you.
Each situation is different and of course other things can be requested of the Gestational Carrier like eating only organic, not having vaccinations, or maybe something to do with a religious preference. Most importantly these are important to discuss and compromise if possible now, rather than having any surprises during the pregnancy. Yes, there are outliers that want outrageous things, most just want you and their baby to be happy and healthy, with a few special requests ;-)
—The Sassy Surrogate