The moment you give birth a lot changes. In an instant the whole world changes for your intended parent(s). They go from planning a family, to creating a new one or growing a larger one. Their attention shifts and you go from being the star of the show to a very important supporting actress.
This shift can hit some surrogates hard, especially as it is compounded with hormone surges and emotions of your own. So how do you manage all of these emotions while preserving this bond you’ve spent the last nine plus months building? As with every other step in your journey, this step takes compassion and patience.
Our surrogates tell us that the day their medications arrive in the mail feels two-pronged. First they feel the excitement to begin the cycle, and then they open the box and feel completely overwhelmed. This is normal. Most of our surrogates will not be on any daily medications, so when a large box shows up filled to the brim with bottles and bottles of pills, needles, boxes, blister packs and even a sharps box, that feeling of total bewilderment is completely acceptable. In fact, we’ve heard from more than one woman that she put the box in a closet for the day, resolving to look at it again later.
So what comes next? How can you transform this daunting box of medications into a manageable task? Here’s a couple of pointers:
Telling your children that you are becoming a surrogate can seem almost as scary as telling your parents. This is news that will impact their lives in a big way, and how these young people handle the news will impact your life in a big way.
How you approach the topic will vary greatly based on a number of factors including your children’s ages and personality types. The overriding theme should always be to provide open, clear, and age appropriate information in an honest way that encourages empathy and communication.
Telling your boss that you’re pregnant can be stressful. When the baby you’ll be carrying isn’t your own, telling the boss your big news can seem overwhelming. Depending on your relationship with your boss and the workplace atmosphere, you’ll first need to decide if you’re an early sharer or a late sharer.
If you have an open relationship with your boss and you don’t feel as though the news would be ill received or put you in jeopardy, then sharing news of your surrogacy hopes early may be beneficial. Early sharing inspires open communications and trust while allowing you to be honest with your boss over the upcoming absences you’ll be taking for the transfer and monitoring appointments. Your boss will also be clued in to any tiredness or moodiness that tends to come with early pregnancy.
Many women do not feel comfortable sharing their goals until much later in the process. Some wait until a positive pregnancy test and others wait until the end of the first trimester. Delayed sharing allows you to keep their secret a bit longer in the sad possibility of an early miscarriage. Some women also feel as though their bosses would not authorize time away from work for these important medical procedures. If this is your situation, feel confident knowing you are not required to tell your boss why you’re missing work for medically related absences.
Whenever you choose to tell your boss about your surrogate pregnancy, it is probably best to schedule a time for the conversation in advance. A good call would be a time when this can be a one on one discussion without many distractions. A lunch break or other time when you’re off the clock is probably best.
Be sure to ensure your boss of any intentions you have for time off following the birth and, if you intend to return to work following the birth, ensuring your boss of this intention can help create calm. Finally, ask if he/she has any questions. Giving your boss the opportunity to ask questions about the process and what it means to your job performance is important.
Women entering surrogacy are typically placed on a regimen of hormone therapies to aid in preparing the uterus for the embryo transfer and aid in maintaining the pregnancy. Some of the medications you can expect to be on during your medical cycle include:
Estrogen– You are likely to be on at least one form of estrogen supplement. This is to build the uterine lining. Common forms include a small oral pill (Estrace) and/or an intramuscular injection (Delestrogen.)
Lupron– This medication is given primarily to women who are planning on transferring a fresh embryo as opposed to a frozen one. It is used to help suppress the ovaries while waiting for the transfer.
Growing Generations takes pride in providing comprehensive care and support to our surrogates during every phase of their journey. As part of our commitment to provide that support, surrogates receive monthly links to our “Surro-Support ™” survey.
The survey, completed online, is designed as a way to check in on all areas of the surrogate’s life as it relates to the surrogacy. She’s asked to rate the level of support she is receiving from family, friends, and her intended parents. We will touch base on her emotional health as well as her physical health and give her an open door to reach out to our staff with any concerns or stress she may be experiencing.
Our surrogates tell us they are frequently asked, “How can you just give your baby away?” That sort of question, while most likely asked out of ignorance and honest curiosity with no malice intended, can leave you feeling flustered and at a loss for proper reply.
Remember that you do not have to justify your choices to anyone. If you’re uncomfortable in replying to the question you can simply tell them that you’ll manage that part of your journey as it approaches with the help of those who support you.
If you feel comfortable replying, here are a few angles that can help educate them on the process and understand your choice and mental approach to the birth.
A current trend in the surrogacy community is for a surrogate to seek the rights to the placenta created as part of her surrogacy for the purpose of encapsulation or consumption.
With potential benefits including a quicker post natal recovery time, fewer instances of the “baby blues”, increased breast milk supply and greater energy reserves, it’s easy to understand why surrogates could be interested in this trend.
There is also a belief that, as the placenta contains high levels certain stress reducing hormones, placenta consumption can equalize a woman’s hormones more quickly after birth.
A surrogate will frequently be prescribed intramuscular injections of progesterone. The hormone is used to help aid in sustaining a pregnancy achieved through IVF and is typically given daily for the first ten to twelve weeks. The progesterone is mixed with an oil to create an injectable compound. There are several different types of oils that can be used for this process. Here’s a breakdown of the most commonly used oils for this purpose.
Ethyl Oleate- This is a type of oil you may not be familiar with. The fatty acid is created by the body when ethanol and oleic acid combine. It is, by far, the thinnest of the oil compounds for intramuscular injection. This allows for a smaller gauge injection needle.
Plenty of women considering surrogacy assume that having the ability to conceive easily on their own is a surrogate mother prerequisite. In fact, many women desiring to become surrogates tell us their ease of conception is one of the reasons they feel most confident in their ability to conceive as a surrogate. While it can be helpful if a woman was able to easily conceive her own children, it is not necessarily an indication that her body will lend itself well to surrogacy.