A surrogate mother is, without a doubt, one of the most important parties in a surrogacy arrangement. She is the figure that ensures a childless couple walks home with a child they can call their own. Therefore, she deserves the best care that anyone can get.
Whether you are looking for a surrogate mother or you want to become a surrogate yourself, below is a comprehensive guide on the type of care a surrogate mother should be given.
By giving the surrogate mother every support and advice she needs to live a healthy lifestyle, we go a long mile in ensuring her health and that of the baby.
At the Ukrainian Institute of Surrogacy, we offer advice to the surrogate mother on aspects of her life that could compromise her health. We talk to them about:
The benefits of physical exercise- the workouts we recommend are proven by medical professionals, and they help them maintain a healthy weight, relieve pain, and improve their mood
Avoiding drug and alcohol abuse- for a fact, we don’t accept surrogate mothers who drink, smoke, or abuse other drugs. Nonetheless, we do regular checks on them and ensure they are drug-free before and during pregnancy
Self-care tips and insights- they help a surrogate mother to adopt the best practices that will help her stay healthy throughout the pregnancy period
Having enough sleep and rest- this allows a surrogate mother to remain stress-free and stay in high spirits throughout the day
The reason why we give them this advice is that we are confident that by doing so, we shall impart values in them, which will ultimately enable them to carry a healthy pregnancy to term without any complications.
Even if surrogacy may not be complicated, the surrogate mother and the intended parents must be aware of the implications of their decisions before proceeding with the journey. The surrogate mother, in particular, must consider her potential emotional reactions to the developing baby, the likelihood of termination or miscarriage, and the adverse effects of parting with the baby after birth.
Just like physical health, a surrogate’s mother's emotional health is of utmost importance.
While their bodies change to accommodate the babies there are carrying, surrogate mothers can go through a challenging emotional journey. This is why they need the utmost support, counseling, and guidance.
When you choose to work with us, you can rest assured that we shall always be there for the surrogate mother every step of the way. To promote her mental wellbeing, we shall ensure that:
She is given encouragement and support to engage in activities that make her happy
She is provided with the best psychological counseling after delivery
She is given mental care in case she develops stress and anxiety
She has a pregnancy care coordinate all day long, every day of the week
She is applauded and respected as an essential party to the surrogacy process
Surrogate mothers deserve the utmost emotional care before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and after giving birth to the baby.
A woman must meet the following requirements for her to become a surrogate mother:
She must be between 20 and 35 years of age
She must be a biological mother to at least one child of her own- this requirement is geared towards giving intended parents the peace of mind, knowing that the surrogate they intend to work with is fertile, and can carry a healthy pregnancy to term.
She must be mentally capable of becoming a surrogate mother- a surrogate mother must pass a psychological review, which ensures she is mentally capable of proceeding with the surrogacy process. Being mentally stable means that she should have the ability to follow doctor’s instructions, care for the unborn baby, read and understand the legal contracts, and schedule appointment
She can be married or unmarried- in the Ukrainian laws, the marital status of the surrogate mother is irrelevant unless she has official concent from her legal partner\
She must agree to sign a surrogacy contract- through the help of a surrogacy lawyer, a surrogate mother should read the surrogacy contract, in which she must accept to take care of the pregnancy and relinquish her parental rights once the baby has been born
Proper nutrition is one of the key elements of healthy living. If a surrogate mother doesn’t eat nutritious food, she might gain unhealthy weight. Also, it could affect the health of the growing baby, who could suffer some medical conditions such as hypoxia. This is a condition that causes a host of other problems including delayed psychological development and dyslexia.
We train surrogate mothers on proper nutrition. We provide information on why they should avoid excessive sugars, caffeine, junk food, and other unhealthy snacks. In addition, we have medical professionals in our team to monitor the lifestyle of surrogate mothers and offer their assistance where necessary.
As part of the surrogate mother care program, surrogate mothers undergo various checkups during pregnancy:
On week 0-13, they undergo various tests, which include blood group and rhesus, HIV, hepatitis B, Urine analysis, Pap Smear Test, and many more
On week 14-18, they undergo Alpha-Fetoprotein, Triple Marker Screening Test, Ultrasound scan, and a lot more
Week 19-21 subjects them to other tests, which include complete blood count, urine analysis, and four-dimensional ultrasound scan
On week 30-32, they undergo cardio topography, doctor consultation, gynecologist consultation, and urine analysis
On week 33-40, they undergo cardio topography, consultation of the doctor, genetic screening, and ultrasound scan.
Additional tests can be done on the request of intended parents. After birth, we also ensure that the surrogate mother continues to get medical attention until doctors recommend that she is ready to resume a normal life.
Even though the surrogate mother carries a baby for another couple, the law in Ukraine recognizes the growing fetus as part of her body. Therefore, she has absolute rights to accept or reject medical procedures during pregnancy.
Therefore, clinicians should be careful when seeking medical consent from the surrogate mother, and ensure the intended parents do not coerce her.
In fact, the surrogate mother has the right to decide which information a clinician should share with the intended parents. Nonetheless, she is free to consider all the wishes of the intended parents.
When making decisions about the preferred place of delivery and whether drugs should be used for pain relief, the surrogate mother needs to be actively involved. With the advice of healthcare professionals, a surrogate mother can make the final decisions about delivery based on the progress of the pregnancy.
However, the rights in regard to the consent of the surrogate mother have been balanced, especially when the wellbeing of the baby is at risk.
Also, intended parents need to know that the surrogate mother makes a decision on when to make an agreement. However, a good agency can help settle everything faster and more efficiently.
Women experience labor and deliver differently. It is, therefore, common for surrogate mothers to worry about how they will deliver.
As a result, they might face stress and anxiety, which might compromise their mental health. At the Ukrainian Institute of surrogacy, we provide surrogate mothers with pre-labor training, which gives them the confidence to face their fears.
At times, the surrogate mother might be forced to deliver the baby through a cesarean section due to a medical emergency or by request from intended parents.
In an event that the C-section has to be done on request by the intended parents (which is uncommon), we are aware that a surrogate mother has a voice in the process, and this is a decision that solely lies with her.
She, therefore, has to give consent before the process begins. But more often than not, C-section is only done if it is a medical recommendation or requirement because it does not minimize the risks associated with labor.
During labor and delivery, we make sure that the surrogate mother is given the best care possible.
This is the fact – surrogate mothers give up a lot of time and energy to carry a baby for other people. Therefore, even though there exists a lot of criticism surrounding commercial surrogacy, surrogates deserve some compensation in return for the sacrifices they make.
Compensation is, without a doubt, an essential aspect of surrogate mother care.
The amount of money intended parents pay as compensation for a surrogate mother depends on an array of factors that include:
The experiences of the surrogate mother with surrogacy
The destination is chosen
The policies of the surrogacy agency they are working with
This compensation is often made in monthly installments during the pregnancy period.
The reason why compensation is essential in surrogacy mother care is that it takes care of:
Local travel for doctor’s appointments
And tons of other miscellaneous pregnancy expenses
The postnatal period is a time of emotional upheaval, especially for the surrogate mother. Therefore, this is the time she requires the most care.
After delivery, the surrogate mother typically stays in the hospital for 24-72 hours. In most cases, the baby is discharged before the surrogate mother, and given to the intended parents. This makes it easy for the surrogate to recover quickly since there is no newborn to look after. However, she may take some time to feel like herself again. She may experience some confusing emotions, going home without a baby after nine long months of pregnancy!
Since the surrogate mother is often mentally exhausted, she may recover during her maternity leave. Also, she will get back to her former self with the help of a surrogacy professional or counselor who will be on her side for as long as she wants.