As I mentioned, Cheese Teamcake have our meeting with the midwife to discuss our rather complex birth plan coming up next month. The hospital we are under have so far been fantastic, and we have good reason to believe that they will carry on being supportive and accommodating. Sadly, that is not the case for all teams going through surrogacy. I know more than one case where hospitals have stuck rigidly to policies that clearly will not work for a surrogacy case and have caused great upset for the people affected.
Here are some examples of the flexability needed.
It is standard practice to allow a maximum of 2 people into the room with the woman giving birth.
Many surrogates wish to have both the IPs present at the birth but naturally wish to have their own partner or some other close friend or relative with them as their birthing partner. It seems logical to me that the parents of the child should be allowed to be present for the birth, but that the woman going through labour should also be able to have someone there who's sole priority is their wellbeing. As I say, most hospitals are very supportive and accommodating but some do not even try and teams are presented with a firm "no, only 2 people allowed in" with no discussion. Imagine being told you were not allowed to be present at the birth of your own child. How that feels for the surrogate who has carried out this entire journey to watch the joy and tears of 2 new parents as they meet their child for the first time.
Let's look at the logical viewpoint, bearing in mind surrogacy is completely legal and recognised in this country. It is important for the Intended Mother to start bonding with her new bundle of joy. Equally as important, is the surrogate being able to immediately take that place of special family friend, to allow them to share in the joy of this little family that they have helped create from a detached perspective. This is the healthiest thing for all involved; the mother trying to get to grips with her newborn, the surrogate trying to rest and heal and reflect on the amazing thing she has done, and the baby, who needs to start bonding via feeding, skin to skin, and all other things that hospitals recommend.
Again, unfortunately there are several cases I know of where the IPs have been told absolutely that they will only be permitted to visit during visiting hours (small windows of time, daytime only). Worse than that, this means that the surrogate has to care for the baby when the IPs are not allowed in, for example, through the night. Again, whose best interest is this in? It's certainly not in the best interest of the child, who in any other circumstance, would be being cradled, snuggled and fed by his/her mummy at every given opportunity. It cannot help the surrogate, who has already given so so much to this new family, and now has the exhausting and overwhelming task of looking after someone else's newborn. Nor is it good for the mummy, who has waited so long and fought so hard to get to this point, and is now being told they cannot be there to look after their own child.
These IPs are not asking for an en suite or anything ridiculous, they will sleep in a chair, on the floor, wherever is necessary, they just want to care for their own child. A surrogate is recognised in British Law, so why is it that some surrogates are told that if the baby is taken to special care for any reason (in which case the IPs will of course go with their child) and the surrogate refuses to stay in, they will be reported to social services for neglect?
|Things promoted all over the world as beneficial can be made impossible by these regulations|
It is so sad that having worked so hard together as a team, and communicated so well, and balanced such a complex relationship so beautifully, the issue of red tape can come in and potentially ruin the most magical part, the part that both the surrogate and the IPs dream about.
It would be great to hear any other views on this, especially from anyone in the medical profession. Perhaps people have ideas of ways we might help stop this happening and how to educate those who don't really understand that surrogacy does not fit neatly into the box.