Connection with Your Surrogate: Is There a Relationship After Baby Arrives?
It’s almost time for the birth of your baby. You’ve waited nine months. You’ve decorated the nursery and bought the booties and onesies. The car seat is ready to go. During your pregnancy you’ve built a relationship with your surrogate. Is this relationship going to continue after the birth of your baby?
Deciding how much connection you maintain with your surrogate after your baby is born is an important one. It’s a decision that impacts you as the intended parents and it has an effect on your surrogate. But the decision has the most significance for your child.
Importance of the Birth Story
All children want to know their birth story no matter what that birth story is. Although you may not be entirely comfortable talking about their conception and birth, this is a conversation you need to be prepared for. Surrogacy is your child’s birth story and it’s important that you’re open and honest about this story. Be proud of the love and planning that went into the birth of your child – and pass this joy and pride on to them, letting them know the wonderful role your surrogate played in this journey. The openness of your child’s birth story will help them develop a strong sense of identity whether or not your surrogate has a relationship with your child or not.
Surrogates Point of View
Communication after birth can be one of the most difficult issues in your agreement with your surrogate. Women who make the choice to become a surrogate know that their role in the surrogacy process is to carry your child for you, taking care of the fetus from the moment of conception until after the birth of your baby. They understand that after delivery, their responsibility to your baby has ended. Many surrogates are open to maintaining contact with you and your baby in the years to come if it’s something you want. Others prefer an end to the surrogacy relationship once baby is born.
Many of those surrogates who choose not to see your baby after birth still want some reassurance that the baby, they carried is happy and healthy. Consider providing your surrogate with a picture of your child each year on their birthday. They may appreciate a note now and then, with a little bit of information about how your child is doing. An email or a postcard can go a long way in showing your surrogate that you appreciate what she’s done for you.
The Right to Know
Many experts believe that it’s the right of surrogate children to know their own story and where they come from. This knowledge is an important part of their own sense of identity. Maintaining even a limited communication with your surrogate may make a big difference in the years to come. As your child gets older, they may decide they want to meet your surrogate and establish some contact. If you’ve been sending your surrogate updates it may be easier to approach her to arrange a meeting.
Be Prepared for Questions
Should you decide not to maintain a connection with your surrogate, be prepared for some questions from your child as they get older. When they understand their birth story, they may be curious to meet your surrogate, to find out more about her. Some children will be satisfied with information about the woman who carried them and gave birth. Other children will persist, wanting to meet. Before your child is old enough for these questions decide how you’re going to handle them.
After the birth of your child, and before ending your relationship with your surrogate, discuss how much or little information they want you to share with your child when the questions start. If she’s open to communication at a later time you can contact, her then to further discuss and make decisions about connecting with your child.
Children and your Surrogate
Some research has been done on the contact, and the frequency of contact, between surrogacy families and the surrogate. One study showed that families who maintained contact and had some type of relationship with their surrogate had a good experience. Children of surrogacy felt positive about their surrogate and their birth. The same study shows that those families who maintain contact with their surrogate after the birth continue this way for a few years. However, as the child gets older, this contact starts to decrease. This information may be useful for helping you make a decision about the type of relationship, if any, you want with your surrogate.
Your Surrogates Own Children
If you decide to maintain contact with your surrogate and let her have some place in your child’s life, there arises the question about her own children. During the pregnancy, your surrogate’s own children will have been aware of the surrogacy process. If you maintain contact with your surrogate, will her own children be involved in the relationship? Some families have been very successful with this type of connection with everyone involved in the surrogacy journey. Other surrogates are okay with staying in touch but choose to keep their own children out of the relationship.
Maintaining a Surrogate Relationship
Remember that you’re in control of how little or how often your child sees or communicates with your surrogate. Your relationship with your surrogate after birth is going to be what you make of it. You may only be comfortable with a phone call now and then. Or perhaps you want your surrogate to be an active part of your child’s life. Depending on how close you live to each other this can include regular visits and phone calls, exchanging pictures, and celebrating birthdays and holidays together. Take as much or as little as you feel comfortable with.
Making the Right Decision
Whatever you decide to do is okay. There is no right or wrong – there are no rules. You made one of the most important decisions of your life when you started the journey of surrogacy. You’ll make the right decisions now.