When to Arrive for the Birth: Domestic IPs

Being present for the birth of your child is something most intended parents will want to strive to achieve. The reality is that sometimes birth can happen with little or no warning, and it may not always be possible to guarantee your presence at the birth. Even so, many intended parents spend a lot of time considering exactly when they should be heading to the surrogate’s hometown for the big day.

Understand that due dates are not an exact science. In fact, research shows that only about 5% of women will actually deliver on their due date. In most cases birth occurs two or three weeks to either side of the actual due date. Of course, this makes the question of, “When should I arrive?” even trickier.

Generally, we advise domestic intended parents expecting a singleton to plan to arrive in the surrogate’s hometown as close to 38 weeks gestation as possible. If this is not feasible, you should, at a minimum, arrange your life so that you’re able to jump on a plane at any moment from 38 weeks forward. For twin pregnancies we recommend arriving or being prepared and able to travel as soon as possible from 36 weeks gestation.

Over the coming days and weeks your surrogate and her OB will be paying very careful attention to her body as it prepares for labor and child birth. Her OB will be monitoring her swelling, blood pressure, and the heart rate of the baby to ensure that no one is in distress. Elevated levels could lead to a medical induction. The OB will also be performing internal exams on your surrogate’s cervical opening to check for softening, thinning, or dilation, as these can mean labor is approaching.

Our surrogates are experienced mothers, and often have a hunch when labor is nearing. A woman who has experienced childbirth multiple times will notice slight changes in her body and may be able to have an idea of when labor is nearing.

Try to relax and enjoy the last weeks and days of your journey as much as possible. Being prepared for travel, or in town with no hard set plans, is the best thing you can do to be prepared for the upcoming birth of your new baby.

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.