Possible Variations in Gestational Carrier Agreements
You have matched with a great gestational surrogate and her medical clearance went perfectly! Now it is time for the legal contract to be done. While this is an exciting step, we know there can be some confusion about the variations that can occur based on the individuals involved. Let’s dive into a few of the most common you might be presented with.
Pumping breastmilk: This is something that can be put into your initial contract or can be handled separately between the surrogate and intended parents later. For this article, we will assume it’s being placed in the contract. First you will need to know if your surrogate is willing to pump; this is a great thing to make sure you discussed during matching. If your GC is willing to pump you will need to discuss time and cost. How long would you like to receive milk? Does that match how long she is willing to commit to pumping? Typically, anywhere from 3-12 months is agreed upon in advance, but know that anyone can change their mind about duration of time, or even about pumping at all! You will also want to discuss compensation for her time spent pumping. As of now we are seeing a range of $250-$300 a week as a flat rate, or $1 an ounce. It is also expected that the intended parents pay for both the initial pumping supplies (breast pump and necessary accessories) as well as ongoing cost such as bags, replacement parts and shipping materials and cost. Another good idea is to put some sort of notice to discontinue clause. Something as simple as a two-week notice to discontinue can be a huge courtesy. This allows the IPs to find a different source of milk, if desired, and for a surrogate to begin to wean.
Having a Doula: Doulas have been around for as long as women have been birthing children. As of late they are also becoming more common in surrogacy births. This is for a variety of reasons, one of which is that the unique balance of attending to a new parent’s needs and a birthing person’s needs at the same time can be tricky. A doula specialized in surrogacy can help everyone navigate that balance by providing appropriate support to both sides. You may find that your surrogate has requested this cost be covered by you, the intended parent. Cost of a doula is relative to their experience, education and location. I would encourage you to ask to be a part of the doula selection process if they will be offering support to you both. As you are negotiating contracts remember that you can say no. If the cost of a doula is not something you are comfortable offering, you can decline. There is also a possible middle ground of splitting the cost. Find what works best for both parties. If you do agree to cover the cost, you are able to specify a dollar amount.
Lastly, and maybe the most important, is birthing location: As an expecting parent, where your child is born is likely extremely important to you. Rightfully so! This process hasn’t been easy. For a birthing person, in this case, the surrogate, their autonomy and comfort is also going to be important to them. This conversation should happen during matching as well, but that doesn’t mean feelings may not have changed on either side. Whatever agreement you do come to, it will be important that it is clearly outlined in the contract. If your surrogate was hoping for a home birth, but you prefer a hospital birth, could a birth center be a viable alternative? Or perhaps a birth center inside of a hospital? Does a hospital local to your surrogate offer birthing suites that mimic the feel of a birth center or home birth? Research your options and feel free to reach out to your agency for help.
Contracts can be tough, we know this. But with honest and open communication from both sides, even the tricky subjects can be handled with ease. Going into transfer knowing you have the legal protection you need will be worth the hard work.
At Texas Surrogacy, we pride ourselves on providing you with the local knowledge and connections you need to have an amazing surrogacy experience. If you are ready to take the next step on your journey, please contact us today at www.texassurro.com to schedule your consultation.