Labor Induction: Part 1

holding handsLabor induction is a realistic consideration for many intended parents in the final weeks of their pregnancy. If you’ve never been through a labor and delivery before, the thought of an induction can seem quite foreign. Let’s start by taking a look at what an induction is, and when it might be beneficial.

Inducing labor means using medications or other natural techniques in order to artificially start the labor process. Induction is a practice that is rarely done prior to 37 weeks gestation unless medically it is necessary for the health of the carrier or the baby. 

A common reason to consider an induction in a surrogacy setting is for the control of timing that it allows. The option of choosing your child’s birthdate in advance allows you to pre-plan your travel in order to give you a better chance of being present at the birth. Keep in mind, though, that even with a planned induction, babies often have a mind of their own and could still come before your chosen date.

These pre-planned inductions are often called “elective inductions” as they are not medically necessary. Many doctors have restrictions on these types of inductions and some may refuse to do them at all. This is also an area where your surrogate may have strong opinions.

Other reasons for elective inductions include a pregnancy exceeding a full 40 weeks or a history of rapid labors.

Medically ordered inductions are inductions that a doctor orders when the risk of an early birth is less than the risk of staying pregnant. Instances where a medical induction may be necessary include:

    • Low amniotic fluid levels
    • Decreased placental competence
    • Premature rupture of membranes (also known as water breaking)
    • Development of Pre-Eclampsia

Whatever your feelings are on induction, especially elective inductions, you’ll want to make sure to talk about this at your match meeting. Many surrogates have strong feelings on inductions and you will want to make sure everyone is on the same page.

In a future blog we’ll talk more about the types of induction, both medicinal and natural methods, commonly used and the potential risks that can accompany inductions.

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over 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 Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 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 Emeritus 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’s is the author of the book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019) as well as the children's book You Began as a Wish (Independent Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. She has two adult daughters.