When to Arrive for the Birth: International IP

babies with passports

Planning to arrive in your surrogate’s hometown in time for the birth of your child can be especially difficult when you’re traveling from another country. While it is important to arrive in town early, international intended parents also have to plan accordingly for the time they’ll need to be stateside following the birth as well. This can turn your stateside visit into a lengthy one.

First of all, understand that most babies are not born on their due dates. In fact, studies estimate only about 5% of babies are actually born on their due dates, the rest falling within two weeks to either side of the due date.

For this reason, we strongly urge our international intended parents to arrive in town no later than 38 weeks gestation for a singleton, and 36 weeks gestation for a multiples pregnancy. Many intended parents will choose to arrive even earlier as, in many cases, the travel time from their home to their surrogate’s home can be in excess of 24 hours, leaving little chance to make it in time for delivery if labor begins earlier than expected. If you are unable to travel this far in advance of your expected due date, we advise that you’re able to “drop everything and go” when you receive the call that your surrogate is in active labor.

In the final weeks of pregnancy your surrogate and her OB will be paying very careful attention to your surrogate’s 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.

Some women who have experienced childbirth many times say that they are able to tell when labor is nearing and may be able to share her instincts with you in the final weeks. Of course, there is no exact science and false alarms can happen to anyone.

A defined plan of action leading into the final weeks of the pregnancy can provide the most relief possible as you await the birth of your child. Whatever your plan is, due try to relax and enjoy the final weeks and days of your journey as much as possible.


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.