Newborn Care in the United States

kissing newborn 

Prior to the birth of your baby you will need to think a bit about the American standard of newborn care, including your child’s first vaccination. While all parents have the option to opt out of receiving these treatments, most parents choose to follow the standard of care during their stateside stay. Here’s a look at the treatments most American born babies will receive during the first month of life.

Eye Drops

Immediately following birth, your child will receive either eye drops or an eye ointment in order to prevent possible eye infections. These infections can occur when the carrier has a sexually transmitted infection (STI)  such as Gonorrhea or Chlamydia. If you choose to refuse treatment and an infection were to occur, blindness can result. You should note that all babies receive eye drops regardless of the carrier’s medical history. Treatment of drops is not an indication that your surrogate currently has, or has ever had, an STI.


Vitamin K

Your newborn will be given a shot of vitamin K to the upper thigh. Most infants are born with low levels of vitamin K, an important element in helping blood to clot. Failure to receive this shot can lead to a rare but serious bleeding condition.


Metabolic Screening

A nurse will prick your infant’s heel to collect a small blood sample. This sample will be used to test for diseases and rare health problems. Some developmental diseases, organ damage, and blindness can be prevented as a result of the early detection this test provides.


Hepatitis B

Standard of care dictated by the American Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that all children should receive the Hepatitis B (HVB) vaccine within 12 hours of birth. This is the first in a series of three shots to complete the vaccination. The second shot should be received between the first and second month of life with the third shot administered sometime between 24 weeks and 18 months of life.

Before your child is discharged, a doctor will also perform a newborn hearing screening to test how your baby responds to sound.

International intended parents need to appoint a pediatrician during the stateside stay. If you’re comfortable, consider asking your surrogate who she uses for her own children. This common acquaintance can create warmth and trust on both sides for your child’s care during those first tender weeks.

Dr. Kim Bergman

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 Fertility Counseling Services and 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 upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.