Their Bun, Your Oven – The Relationship between Gestational carrier and Intended Parents
For the gestational carrier, pregnancy and delivery are going to be different from their experience with their own children. How does one navigate this relationship?
Everything begins with communication. Good communication is key to a healthy relationship. At Surrogacy Center of Philadelphia, we make sure that gestational carriers and the families they match with have similar preferences on important issues like communication. We encourage Intended Parents and Surrogates to communicate directly, while also being available at any time for either party to ask questions or voice concerns.
Speaking of concerns, the gestational carrier will be carrying the Intended Parents’ child, but it is her body. How does one express concerns? Is there anything that is “off limits?” Being an Intended Parent is not an easy journey, as it requires relinquishing control. At Surrogacy Center of Philadelphia, we do our best as an agency to match parents with a gestational carrier whose lifestyle and values are similar to the family they are helping. We find that this goes a long way to minimize conflicts.
There are times (particularly in the week before the embryo transfer and the weeks following until the confirmed heart beat) where everyone will feel quite stressed and concerned about whether the gestational carrier is following her medical protocol carefully and resting adequately. It helps if Intended Parents attend critical appointments so they can see the progress she is making. If attending appointments is not possible, as an agency, we document these visits through pictures, videos and summaries.
What if the Intended Parents have a major concern? Please tell your agency. It is their job to help, not simply find a match and let both parties figure it out on their own. At Surrogacy Center of Philadelphia, we are there to communicate to the gestational carrier in a caring, but professional manner. We only want the best outcome for a surrogacy journey and it is important to remember that the gestational carrier feels the same way.
Besides attending appointments, are there other ways that Intended Parents feel involved in the pregnancy? What about bonding? Bonding is a long process. There are many steps that parents can take to remain connected to their baby. Surrogates can find creative ways to help!
Certainly keeping abreast of all the developmental changes and attending critical appointments will help Intended Parents keep strong ties during the pregnancy (never hesitate to ask for ultrasound pictures). It is also helpful to keep a journal with feelings about the baby’s growth and impending parenthood. Many parents say that they have conversations with their baby in utero. Parents through surrogacy can still have those conversations – write them down and read them to your baby. Plus this is a precious keepsake!
Many surrogates are happy to document everything that Intended Parents cannot be physically part of. Whether it is through pictures, videos, Facetime or Zoom calls, modern technology helps us stay more connected than ever.
Prizzilla from Surrogacy Center of Philadelphia is sharing her own experience as surrogate:
“As a gestational carrier, your pregnancy and delivery is going to be different from your experience with your own child(ren). What worries you had preparing to bring your child into the world are now left up to your intended parents, even though they’re not the ones carrying and delivering their baby. In order to help with some of the stress that comes with preparing for a baby’s arrival, my advice is to include your Intended Parents in your pregnancy as much as possible.
My intended parents lived internationally, so I only got to see them a few times before the arrival of their precious bun. I did however, make it a point to document everything they couldn’t physically be a part of. From the moment I matched with them, I started to film myself sharing my feelings about becoming a surrogate and hopefully carrying and delivering their baby one day. I filmed myself taking my medications and injections leading up to the embryo transfer, and of course, the transfer itself. Every doctor’s appointment, I filmed the heartbeat and ultrasound, then sent the videos to my IPs so they could experience that same joy expectant parents usually have at those appointments.
Most of what I filmed as far as my thoughts, IVF journey, and “bumpdates” were saved for one big video diary I gave to my intended parents after they had returned home with their bundle of joy. This was one way I felt I could include my Intended Parents in the everyday moments an expectant parent lives through.
Another way I was able to involve my Intended Parents in my pregnancy was by spending time with them while they were in town. Of course, they were fortunate enough to sit in a few doctor’s appointments with me, but during their free time, we enjoyed each other’s company. I’ll never forget their very first visit was for an early morning appointment that ended around the time malls were opening up. I cleared my schedule and spent the entire day shopping with them as someone would do with a pregnant friend or family member. We compared baby bottles, strollers, looked at tons of tiny clothes, and by the end of it all, I forgot I was the pregnant one!
My excitement for my intended parents grew with every minute I got to spend planning for their baby with them, and I could tell it contributed to theirs as well. Sure, holding their baby in their arms is as real as it gets, but growing a child isn’t something that everyone personally experiences. Remember this when building a relationship with your Intended Parents, and consider different ways of including them in your pregnancy.”
Surrogates and the families they are helping can build strong, healthy and life-long relationships through our program. This is an incredible journey that they are going on together. Open and honest communication is key and should be supported by your agency of choice.