Actually, it’s more like 10. For top LGBTQ+ surrogacy agency Be Parent, that’s the first tip for anyone prepping to support their gestational carrier (GC) or surrogate across her pregnancy. Know your dates, key milestones and process – we promise it’ll be appreciated, when you’re connecting and sorting out the details.
LGBT surrogacy and gestational carrying – why it’s crucial to work with a human-first, best practice team
Human-first is our priority when working with a surrogacy agency. For your surrogate or gestational carrier, it’s essential that their care team are following best practices. And for you as the intended parent(s) – or IP(s) – it really helps to have a connection with the agency and/or clinic you choose, from shared values and approach to the right level of support and expert access.
At Be Parent, it’s all top of the list. Their Georgia and Cyprus-based teams oversee the creation of family – through surrogacy – from the very beginning and until well after your baby arrives. And their unified, simple approach provides the set-up everyone needs (you and your surrogate or GC), to move through the experience with expert support, step-by-step.
There’s no-one better to put together top tips for gay dads-to-be (or any other IP) looking to support their amazing GC through her pregnancy. Over to Be Parent for their top five tips, built over years of hands-on, human-first experience.
1 Know your dates and milestones
So yes, about those 10 months. Did you know that pregnancy – in most cases – lasts around 280 days? It’s recorded as starting from the first day of a woman’s last period. Your dates will depend on lots of factors, including whether you’ve gone for traditional or gestational surrogacy, and where applicable the embryo transfer process, your carrier’s cycle dates, how the pregnancy develops and more.
Beyond your carrier’s pregnancy length, we also really recommend getting clued up with the four trimesters (yes, there’s a fourth trimester in which your carrier recovers from birth!) Understanding the timeline, and your baby’s key developmental milestones while in utero will strengthen your preparation as the due date approaches.
Plus, depending on whether you’ve used egg donation with IVF, or something else – ensure you’re up to speed with this process too (we’re sure you will be), and mindful of challenges like medication side effects, symptoms and anxieties, which your GC may be experiencing.
2 Know and respect the boundaries
This one is really important. Ideally, your agency or support team will have taken care to match you with a GC or surrogate whose preferences align with yours. Many IPs and surrogates build a unique bond over the process of matching, fertilization, pregnancy and delivery. But on the other hand, some choose to keep things a bit separate, with less contact during the process.
The key tip here, from the care team at Be Parent, is to agree these aspects at the outset – in writing where necessary – and respect wishes, preferences and boundaries as contractual. Avoid asking at the eleventh hour, for example, to be present at the birth, if your carrier has set a preference against this, or if you’ve never discussed it.
3 Ask how you can help
Pregnancy, even for an experienced surrogate, mother or carrier, can be an overwhelming time. Every journey hits more difficult patches, and knowing her support team (whether that’s you, your agency or her own support network) are on-hand to help will be hugely positive.
In tandem with your personal coordinator, you can always check in and offer support. Virtual cards, calls and video messages can mean the world.
If you have established a more formal relationship with your GC you can always ask he support team at your agency or clinic to let you know how things are going, and communicate your encouragement to your carrier on your behalf. Just knowing it’s there makes all the difference.
4 Get organised
Funnily enough, the vast majority of IPs we work with are highly organised! Very few begin this process without having done their research, and we’re used to ticking off comprehensive lists of questions, working with an IP’s calendar and covering every possible scenario along the way.
When speaking to the gestational carriers in our community – we run a regular events programme at Be Parent – we often hear that knowing an IP is organised and preparing for parenthood is a real positive, for their peace of mind. Our top tips are to:
- read a few good parenting and newborn care books, for early days and weeks prep
- think about how you’ll talk to your child about their amazing origins
- spend a bit of time with babies and kids if you can, and get to know the family-friendly spots near you
- show up on time – and prepared – to any check-ins with your GC and support team
- keep up-to-speed with your GC – either directly or by close contact with your agency
5 Magical touches (and don’t forget the fourth trimester)
You may or may not identify with this last tip – and the same goes for your gestational carrier. Stay authentic, read the room and do what feels right and natural.
But from experience, we know that small gestures, from flowers at the start of every new trimester, to a pregnancy massage somewhere lovely, a card letting her know how wonderful she is or just photo of you and your partner staggering home with nappies and wipes, can be just the ticket.
That said, you know your journey best. So if your GC prefers minimal connection, ask your agency what would be appropriate. On the other hand, if you’ve bonded and have a strong relationship in full flower, go all-out with the things that make her happy.
That’s it! Our five top tips for anyone looking to support their surrogate through pregnancy and beyond. Don’t forget that fourth trimester – once your baby’s here you’ll be busy (very busy!), so think in advance about how you can support her recovery over the postnatal period.
We wish you, your GC and, of course, your baby all the love in the world for this incredible experience, and the amazing times ahead.
Start your LGBT surrogacy journey with Be Parent, and experience their amazing care from the get-go. Every initial consultation is completely free.