The Pre-Birth Order: A Gift for Gay Parents
Pre-Birth Order (PBO), is an important term in the surrogacy world. A pre-birth order is a legal document assigning parentage to the unborn child and removing any rights or obligations from the surrogate after the birth. When a child is born, typically the names of the person who gave birth and the child’s father go on the birth certificate. When a baby is born via surrogacy, the surrogate does not want her name on the birth certificate, because she is not the child’s mother. This is where a pre-birth order comes in! The intended parents usually apply for a pre-birth order sometime in the second trimester.
We are lucky to live in the state of Montana where pre-birth orders can be obtained. Missoula county is the only county in the state that only issues post-birth orders. A post-birth order is usually seen in court within a few days of the birth. In states that don’t allow pre-birth or post-birth orders, the intended parents have to go through the adoption process.
After 32 weeks gestation, it's important for the surrogate to stay in the state where the pre-birth order was issued. If the baby is born in another state, then the pre-birth order will not be valid and the intended parents will have to get a post-birth order or go through the adoption process depending on which state the baby is born in. It could end up much worse than that if the baby is born in a state that is not surrogacy friendly.
I experienced first hand what happens when a baby is born via surrogacy in a different state than where the pre-birth order was issued. Due to my husband's change in jobs, my family and I made an unplanned move from Colorado to Montana in the first trimester of my surrogacy journey. The pre-birth order was obtained in Colorado, so the plan was for me to travel back to Colorado at 36 weeks and wait for the baby to arrive. Montana doesn't have explicit laws surrounding surrogacy, and there had never been a birth certificate issued to two men in the state of Montana, so we didn't want to take any chances of the intended fathers not getting their baby. Well, the baby had other plans and I went into labor around 34 weeks. He was born big and healthy which was the important thing, but we were all a little stressed about the birth certificate. Thanks to the intended fathers' lawyer, the co-founder of Montana Surrogacy Ellen Trachman, and some Montana-based lawyers, it all worked out. The baby I gave birth to was the first baby born in the state of Montana with two fathers on the birth certificate. We made history!
A pre-birth order gives parental rights to gay couples even before the baby is born. The intended parents can rest easy knowing that they will immediately be named on their child's original birth certificate. Having a pre-birth order will also give them the right to make medical decisions for their baby and have their baby discharged from the hospital directly to them. It just makes the entire experience smoother from the moment the baby is born—everyones favorite part of having a baby— to when they have to deal with insurance companies.