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Posted By YouMeMine on 04/06/2021

Bonding with Your Baby After a Surrogacy Birth

Bonding with Your Baby After a Surrogacy Birth

Parents start to fall in love with their baby well before birth. For intended parents using a surrogate, those feelings of love and anticipation may transcend many miles. They often spend hours daydreaming about their baby’s first cries and smiles. Once baby arrives, bonding can take place in earnest but for many parents, this experience doesn’t begin in the delivery room or even in the hospital. Dr. Jane Frederick, a reproductive endocrinologist, started to recognize this phenomenon while talking with patients who had undergone this experience.

“A large portion of my practice is focused on third party reproduction, and many of my patients are part of the LGBTQ+ community. Often I will ask, ‘How was the experience?’ The response I often get back was that it was great and they loved the surrogate, but were excluded from the delivery room by the hospital. This wonderful moment occurs after nine months, and the intended parents miss it,” she explains.

This is unfortunate not only for the intended parents but also for their baby. Through a desire to ease this portion of the journey, Dr. Frederick conceived of a special place where intended parents could spend time with their newborn, and funded it herself

The Jane L. Frederick, M.D. Bonding Room, at the Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Memorial, is a safe space with a hotel-like atmosphere, where legally intended parents who have given birth with the help of a surrogate can stay overnight with their brand new baby. Here, they can have privacy and quiet time to become a family and solidify the bonds that started to form in the hearts and minds of the parents many months ago.

The hospital is located in South Orange County, CA. It is a model for other hospitals, but most have been very, very slow to take up the charge. We reached out to Dr. Frederick to ask her for ideas on how intended parents can recreate the experience of the Bonding Room. These are her suggestions:

Choose a surrogacy-friendly hospital 

A lot of hospitals aren’t user friendly when it comes to third party reproduction. This includes many hospitals that are affiliated with specific religions. Whenever it is realistic to do so, choose a hospital that will be friendly to your situation. This may not always be possible, based upon location and logistics.


Make an arrangement through the hospital

No matter what hospital you use, find out if they have a written surrogacy policy. Whether they do or not, make sure that the hospital staff acknowledges that a third-party delivery will be taking place, and that the intended parents must be present at birth. This may be more challenging if your surrogate is delivering in a state that doesn’t recognize surrogacy.


Get there earlier than you think you need to 

If you’re out of the area, fly in early. Babies don’t always come on their due date. You want to be there during labor delivery time. Manage your schedule about a month before. Because of COVID-19, I recommend that there be a representative in the area, if you’re not going to be local, that you have determined will be responsible for your baby, should you be delayed. This will ensure that the responsibility doesn’t fall to the surrogate or to the agency.


Meet the obstetric/gynecologist who will delivery your baby 

The doctor’s main role is to safely deliver the baby, and to make sure that the surrogate is alright. But they can also be your voice at the hospital. I would advocate with the doctor to make sure you’re included in any decision making that is needed, as well as the experience. Of course, these details should also be solidified legally before birth. If you deliver in a state that doesn’t recognize surrogacy, you will not be able to make onsite decisions regarding care during labor and delivery. The surrogate is empowered to make all the decisions during that time, because she’s the patient.


Create an extra set of eyes and ears

If there is an emergency you want to make sure that there is someone in the labor room who is advocating for you. This can be the OB/GYN,  

a member of their staff, a social worker, or a doula. Saddleback has a special liaison for intended parents who takes them under their wing. 

The liaison explains the process to them, teaches them how to put on scrubs, and makes them feel like they are part of the experience, 

instead of on the sidelines.


Know that according to your baby, you have a right to be there 

That’s not as tongue in cheek as it may sound. Your baby knows who they’re bonding with. The connection with you will be there right away. The uterus is a great home for development, but bonding blossoms after delivery has taken place.


Let your surrogate know she is welcome in the bonding room 

No matter where you are bonding with your baby, it is so nice for your surrogate to come and visit with you and your newborn. You honor her by allowing that connection to continue.


“This is my passion in my heart and my legacy to our beloved field,” she adds. “We want couples to know that they have family options now – you don’t have to be stigmatized if you can’t have a baby due to a lost uterus or because you’re two men, or for any reason.”

For the past 30 years, Dr. Jane Frederick, M.D., FACOG, one of longest-practicing female experts in reproductive science, has been helping couples that are struggling with infertility to build the families they have always wanted. As a result, Dr. Frederick, Medical Director of HRC Fertility, has helped bring 3,000 babies into the world. Read more about her services here.


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