18. Birth of your Surrogacy Baby
Surrogacy pregnancies conclude in one of two ways…
In most cases the obstetrician and clinic doctor will determine that the baby is fully developed and ready to be delivered. Although most parents believe that pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, in truth a pregnancy is usually considered “full term” at week 37 (although some research indicates Week 38 is better). At this time the hospital and clinic may decide to induce labor, or plan for a c-section delivery to finalize the pregnancy.
If the delivery is planned, parents will be notified to come to the clinic at a convenient time so they can be present at the time of the birth. Overseas couples should be prepared to travel to the clinic at any time after week 36 when the clinic decides that the pregnancy is complete.
It is not generally allowed for parents to be in the room where the delivery happens. Most often they will wait just outside in a reserved waiting area. When the baby is born it receives a quick evaluation to make sure that it is breathing well and healthy in most respects. Then the nurses will bring the baby to the parents immediately so they can take a first look at the child. Then the child will be returned to the obstetrics room for a more complete examination, washed, wrapped, and checked into the hospital where he will stay under supervised care. (Note that the baby is never in the custody of the surrogate, and from the first moment, the Intended Parents are assumed by the hospital to be the child’s guardians.)
Often the parents are given a room or apartment in the obstetrics ward and the new baby may be allowed to stay with them (under the watch of the nursing staff of course). After a few days of observation and evaluation, the baby is released from the hospital in the care of the parents.
In the less likely case where the pregnancy ends in a premature birth, the parents will be notified immediately once the obstetrician and clinic doctors have decided that the baby needs to be born early. In this case, the parents will be urged to travel to the clinic as soon as possible, although it is unlikely they will arrive before the actual delivery of the baby.
Generally, about eight per cent of births are premature, but for unknown reasons, the probability of premature birth for a child conceived through IVF is slightly higher, about 12% to 15%.
A child born prematurely is generally given a full examination and the places in an incubator in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the obstetric hospital. Intended parents can visit the child under controlled conditions until the doctors have determined that the child is fully developed and healthy enough to be released from NICU. This is mot often a matter of days, but can be two to three weeks or more if the child was seriously premature.
After being released from NICU, the baby generally is returned to the normal obstetrics ward for continued observation, or into the care of the parents who may stay with the baby at the hospital under the watch of the nursing staff.
The surrogate remains at the hospital for two to three days, until doctors have determined she is fit and there are no lingering complications from the pregnancy. Then she returns to her apartment where she may stay for an additional month before returning home.
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