Communication With Surrogate During Pregnancy

Surrogate pregnancy is a very emotional journey. On one hand, there are intended parents who have finally fulfilled their dream of becoming parents. In most cases, they have already gone through a lot of stress, disappointment, fear and struggle. On the other hand there is a surrogate mother, who independent from her motivation goes on a complicated journey of pregnancy and makes the dream of intended parents come true.


Surrogacy agency is responsible for informing intended parents about every single aspect of pregnancy : results of prenatal tests, condition of a surrogate mother, overall evaluation of course of pregnancy. While the information exchange process has to be regular, surrogacy agency should not be the only one having communication with surrogate mother. Intended parents too, should be involved in the pregnancy process. We have provided several reasons why parents might want to have communication with surrogate mother:


Express appreciation

During pregnancy, surrogate mother may not be feeling well. She might have nausea, lack of energy, change in appetite and mood swings. While this kind of discomfort is common during pregnancy, intended parents should express their appreciation that surrogate goes through this for them and their baby. Surrogate mothers need to be supported, know that their commitment is not taken for granted and that their health and condition matter a lot too. People are always more encouraged and motivated when their dedication has a value.


Why not double check?

While intended parents are getting all essential information from the agency, it is a good practice to ask surrogate directly. Intended parents might want to know how is she feeling, whether she has everything she needs. It is important to trust a surrogacy agency, however, hearing the same from surrogate is more calming and sometimes more valuable.


Discuss postnatal issues

After the delivery surrogate can be experiencing discomfort and weakness. This is not the best time for discussing issues that are needed to complete the surrogacy journey. For example parents might want a surrogate to breastfeed a baby for even a short period of time. This has to be clarified in advance because surrogate might be planning to dry up her milk with medication.


On the other hand, in some countries, completing the journey is only possible when the surrogate gives her consent and signs documents that confirm the parenthood rights of intended parents.  For example in Russia,where surrogacy is not regulated by law , there have been several court cases because of a surrogate refusing to abandon her parenthood rights and her role as a mother. Earlier communication with surrogate can help to avoid similar issues.


Often there establishes such a strong bond between parents and surrogate, that they stay in touch even long after the delivery.


There are several factors that may hinder the communication with surrogate mother. For example, it happens that surrogate is several countries away and intended parents can not visit her often. Parents should not be scared of distance and should arrange Skype/phone calls with their surrogate. Another issue that may arise is that surrogate and intended parents do not always speak the same language fluently. However, this should never be an obstacle. Sometimes just seeing and feeling that surrogate is doing good and baby is gradually growing in the belly can be as exciting as an hours of conversation and communication.


Intended parents should trust their surrogacy agencies, request and clarify all the information they need. However, at the same time, they should remember that establishing a communication with surrogate is always a step forward to having a good surrogacy experience. One more advice would be to keep the agency posted about the relationship with surrogate mother and arrange meeting through their mediation.


How to Choose your Surrogate Mother

Should we choose surrogate mothers ourselves or should we give the freedom of choice to our surrogacy agencies?  For the sake of transparency and reliability there is a tendency in many parents to gather information and choose the surrogate mother themselves. However, we would recommend that you give the flexibility to your trusted agency and let them help you with the choice.  Reasons behind that decision are several and vary from possible complications to the need of changing the surrogate.


Some processes during surrogacy happen independent from our efforts and expectations. Fresh embryo transfer may need to be cancelled due to the unexpected start of surrogate’s period or vice versa, a long delay in cycle may cause uncertainty and the need to plan a new sequence of procedures. Lining of the uterus, also known as endometrium, might not reach the essential thickness for pregnancy or even more, surrogate may need to withdraw from the program due to personal reasons.  This kind of disturbances are not always the case and are not large in number but why should parents experience inconveniences?  If there is even a slight chance of complication and delay, we should always have the plan B. Professional agencies have a pretty logical solution to these problems – they have backup surrogates. Experiences show that agencies that have thought about backup choices of surrogates in advance, have much higher success rate in comparison to ones that stick to only one and the same surrogate mother. They have the ability and resources to fix unforeseen obstacles on time.


On the other hand, some unpleasant surprises may emerge if we do not have enough information about the surrogate mother. Agencies and partnered clinics should already have collected  and revised the following data but parents should also show interest in them :


Surrogate mother MUST NOT :

  • Have miscarriages and stillbirths in her medical history
  • Be a smoker or alcohol consumer


Surrogate mother MUST :

  • Be healthy, medically and mentally


Surrogate mother is recommended :

  • To already be a biological mother to a child


Opinions about the surrogate already being a biological mother are controversial. It is considered that once a mother, she will have higher chances to conceive the second time. Moreover,  already being familiar with the process of pregnancy and the labour itself, it is less likely that the surrogate experiences any kind of attachment towards the child.


Opposite to the above mentioned beliefs, we can bring the examples of Cambodia, Nepal  and Thailand. When law didn’t use to regulate surrogacy in these countries, the main requirement from the agencies was that surrogate mothers were single. For that reason, most of those women didn’t have families and accordingly, neither did they have biological children. However, this fact has not caused any kind of complications neither from medical , nor from mental point of view.


To sum up, assuring that surrogate has already experienced parenthood is not a must. Moreover, having one child doesn’t guarantee the 100% chance of getting pregnant twice(take the example of secondary infertility pathology) and court cases in USA and UK prove, that neither does it guarantee that surrogate is not going to get attached to a newborn.  


What parents should learn from examples and experiences of others, is that if they trust the agency, they should trust it completely and do it for the sake of making right choices and avoiding irreparable situations. Also parents should read our blog to know what to expect and which information to request from their  agencies. 🙂