Dear Honest Surrogate

Dear Honest: I was matched with intended parents who do not plan on telling their family and friends or their baby that he/she was born via gestational surrogacy. I would have to be very secretive about my surrogacy journey to protect their privacy, but I am very proud of being a surrogate and I’d like to help normalize it by discussing it with the public. I’m worried that if I tell them I can’t be their surrogate that they won’t ever find one. What should I do? –Shout It From the Rooftops

Dear Shout: It sounds like this might not be the best match. The intended parents will appreciate you telling them sooner rather than later that you don’t feel like it’s the right fit, so that they can get a start on finding the right surrogate for them. There is a match out there for everyone, but some matches take longer to find than others. Some surrogates don’t want anyone but close friends and family to know they are a surrogate—a surrogate like this would be a better fit for the IPs you were matched with. IPs and surrogates have all sorts of reasons for wanting considerable privacy. Some IPs have been through so much loss that they don’t want any publicity until a healthy baby is in their arms. Depending on where the IPs are from, surrogacy could be illegal or not socially accepted, and therefore they want to keep it a secret. Some IPs and surrogates are just private people. Know that sharing your experience is a great way to normalize surrogacy by helping to change the way the world views surrogacy. The mainstream media often share only the horror stories. In reality, the majority of surrogacy journeys turn out beautifully.

Dear Honest: Our family takes an annual vacation around the holidays and it’s something we all look forward to. I traveled when I was pregnant with my own children up until I was 36 weeks pregnant. Will intended parents allow me to travel while I am pregnant? –World Traveler

Dear Traveler: What an amazing family tradition! The memories you are making for your children are priceless. Generally the answer to your question is yes, up to a certain point, but it really depends on what is specified in your contract. Most contracts ask that you don’t leave the state in which the pre-birth order was filed after 24 weeks of gestation (when the fetus is considered viable). The pre-birth order is only guaranteed to be valid in the state in which it was filed, so you don’t want to be in a situation where you go into labor in a non-reciprocal state or country where the intended parents don’t have the legal right to their child. Most contracts also ask that you don’t travel anywhere that has reported or suspected cases of Zika. In some uncommon cases, the intended parents ask that the surrogate doesn’t travel farther than 50 miles from the closest hospital. Because travel is very important to your family, make sure you communicate that to the agency before matching so that the agency can find intended parents that are open to you traveling up to an agreed upon point. Once you have found intended parents to work with, it’s important to discuss travel when you are negotiating the contract. Also, plan accordingly for the time it may take to find a match and make a successful embryo transfer. If you happen to be past 24 weeks when your annual vacation comes around, you could use your compensation to take your family on an extra special vacation after the baby is born! Keep in mind that the lifestyle changes you would have to make to be a gestational surrogate should be temporary and worth the end result.

Amber Campanelli ~ The Honest Surrogate