What You Should Know About NICU Stays After Surrogacy

When your surrogacy journey ends with an extended hospital stay it can feel overwhelming and emotionally draining. This may be a challenging way to enter into your parenthood journey, but parenthood is rarely a smooth experience. We have faith that you can navigate this first hurdle. Here’s a look at what to expect, and how we can help you during this time.

What you’re feeling

More likely than not, you’re feeling a whirlwind of emotions. You may be feeling fear or anxiety if your new child needs time in the NICU. You could be feeling stress about the financial implications of extended hospital care for your child or your surrogate. It is entirely likely that you’re feeling confused about what is expected of you and who to talk to when it comes to managing expenses. And, of course, all of this is happening in a city you are not familiar with while your normal life continues on back home. It’s a lot to manage at once–we understand. First of all, know that whatever you’re feeling, it is probably incredibly normal. The Fertility Counseling Services (FCS) team is available to talk with you about your emotions and how to manage them if you’d like.

What’s expected of you

If your surrogate needs to be hospitalized for an extended period of time, be it before or after the delivery, you should know that you will be responsible for any additional medical expenses that occur as the result of the pregnancy or birth. Additionally, you will be responsible for additional lost wages, childcare, and housekeeping expenses that may arise as a result of an extended hospital stay.

If your surrogate is expressing breastmilk for your use, remember that you are now responsible for the costs of a breast pump, nursing supplies, and compensation for your surrogate. These expenses are outlined in your contract with your surrogate.

How to Balance it All

First of all, accept that you’re likely to be spending a fair amount of time in a city that you aren’t familiar with. The best thing to do is look into potential long-term housing. We recommend looking into furnished apartments with a kitchen. Not only are they far more affordable than hotels, they’ll also give you a “home base” and sense of comfort in the days or weeks to come. If you know that you’ll need to be in your surrogate’s hometown for an extended period following the birth, it can be advantageous to look into this sort of lodging in advance of the delivery. This is prudent especially in the instance of multiple gestations.

Next up, it is in your best interest to identify your hospital social worker and establish a good rapport with this person. Growing Generations will not be with you at the hospital, and the hospital social worker is your best link for on-site support and guidance. It is likely that you will meet this person during your 20-week hospital tour.

Finally, consider allowing your surrogate time with your new child. Quite often, surrogates feel as though they’ve failed in their mission to carry a child for you if the child needs to spend time in the NICU. She may also be jarred from a premature end to her surrogate journey. Allowing your surrogate time with the child that she carried for you is a kindness that will help with her emotional and physical recovery.

 

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: An Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Red Wheel 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.