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Q & A: Creating Families through Surrogacy at South Shore Hospital
by Rebecca Dunk, RN, MPH on 09/28/2015 at 9:22 AM

South Shore Hospital has pioneered a special program, Families through Surrogacy, designed to enhance care for every family using surrogacy to Mom_Holding_Baby_Hand.jpggrow.  We offer expert pregnancy care for women acting as surrogates and welcome inclusion and education for parents-to-be. 

At South Shore Hospital, we embrace our special families and promote dialogue to create a safe, satisfying pregnancy and birth experience for all.   We are here to be your guide to surrogacy—answering all your questions about our program.

Q:  What is the Families through Surrogacy Program at South Shore Hospital?

A: The program is designed for intended parents working with a surrogate who will assist them to build their family.  Parents using surrogacy have special concerns.  They choose surrogacy for a wide variety of reasons, and each family is different.  The women who partner with them to provide a healthy safe place for the baby to grow until delivery also have distinct considerations since they will not parent the babies they carry. 

Q:  Is there only one type of surrogacy?

A:  No, actually there are 2 types of surrogacy—traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy.
In traditional surrogacy, a woman donates her egg for fertilization and then grows the baby in her uterus. This may or may not involve in-vitro fertilization (IVF).  The traditional surrogate is the genetic parent, but does not intend to raise the baby herself. Instead, she plans for the intended parents to raise the baby.Gestational surrogacy tends to be more common.  In this case, the surrogate carries the baby but does not donate her egg.  Through IVF, she becomes pregnant with the child of the intended parents and provides a place for the baby to grow.  A gestational surrogate is not the genetic parent of the baby. 

Q:  Are there different issues facing intended parents with each type of surrogacy?

A: As you might imagine, parents using traditional surrogacy face different issues from those using gestational surrogacy.  Birth certificates, social security numbers, insurance and legal custody of the baby are handled differently, and there are also practical concerns such as preparing for the birth, making decisions for the newborn, and becoming informed about bonding, infant care, and parenting.
 
Q:  What is the unique role of the surrogate? 

A:  Being a surrogate is special work.  Surrogates provide a wonderful service for parents and accept the challenges of being pregnant, having prenatal care, and giving birth to another family’s child.  While their physical care is consistent with other pregnant women, surrogates also engage in learning how the parents would like to be involved with pregnancy and birth, explaining the arrangement to their other children, extended family, friends, and co-workers, and finally returning home after delivery to resume their usual lives and adjust to daily routines while being post-partum.

Q:  How does South Shore Hospital embrace these families?

A:  At South Shore, we practice patient and family-centered care.  That means we identify both the surrogate and her family, and the baby and his/or her parents, as our patients.  We offer expert pregnancy care to women acting as surrogates, and we treat intended parents as parents right from the start.  For each family group, we provide beautiful handbooks covering a wide array of topics parents and surrogates should consider. In addition, we link each family to their own nurse navigator, a registered nurse who will share her expertise, answer questions, arrange for special requests, tour families through the birthing center, and assist in formulating and coordinating birth plans.  The Families through Surrogacy Team works together with the Birthing and Maternity Center staffs to handle the details behind the scenes according to our families’ wishes.   The result is a seamless and satisfying birth experience for all, one where families can focus on themselves and the newborn baby.

If you are a surrogate, a family using surrogacy, or know someone who is, South Shore Hospital is here for you, ready to answer questions or help you plan your birth experience.  For more information please call the Maternal Fetal Medicine department at 781-624-8430 to speak with one of our navigators.

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