Asking Your Surrogate for Breastmilk

Breast milk is highly regarded by health professionals as the most complete nutrition available to your newborn. The benefits of human breast milk for a newborn are well known and include:

  • An infant who is more resistant to disease and infection in the first year of life
  • A child who will be less likely to develop diseases such as juvenile diabetes, heart disease and cancer prior to age 15.
  • Fewer occurrences of allergies, as breast milk contains allergen antibodies from the surrogate.
  • Fewer instances of ear infections diarrhea, respiratory disease and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

For these reasons and more, many intended parents will desire to have the option of human breast milk for their new child. The breast milk pumping and shipping process is routinely agreed upon at your match meeting but can be discussed and amended by either party at any time. We will work hard to find a surrogate who shares your views of breast milk and is willing to express milk for you if that is your desire.

Once your baby is born the surrogate will generally need to begin pumping right away. Over the next several days, weeks or even months your surrogate will need to use a breast pump several times a day, including the overnight hours, in order to express the milk. If your stay in the surrogate’s hometown extends by more than a day or two, the surrogate will usually deliver fresh, refrigerated milk in person. Once you leave for your own home the milk is usually frozen and sent to you via overnight shipment with frozen dry ice packing materials.

Every woman will produce a different amount of breast milk. There is no standard daily amount of milk that is expected. While some women will be able to produce upwards of 100 ounces of milk per day, others may struggle to produce half that amount. A woman’s nutrition, hydration and rest all play parts in her production, as does her body’s response to the breast pump. This means that your shipments may vary in size.

You should consider these things when deciding how long you’d like to use expressed milk for your baby. While lactation advocates tend to agree that prolonged breast milk consumption is ideal, many agree that the first 6 months are the most beneficial for long term benefits.

Generally the decision to stop breast milk expression and shipments is one reached by both parties. Remaining flexible to a longer or shorter time frame as the process evolves naturally and approaching the process with empathy and support will help build a lasting respect between you and your surrogate.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 22 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for the last two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the American Fertility Association, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 28 years and their two teenage daughters.