Donor Conception

6 ways parents can bond with baby during and after surrogacy

Emma Harpham, in partnership with Be Parent Surrogacy  |  21 Jun 2023

The decision to start a surrogacy journey can bring immeasurable joy and hope to countless intended parents around the world. But, undertaking a surrogacy process, particularly for the first time, can also feel overwhelming. There are many complex elements and emotions at play – especially around bonding with baby.

Be Parent Surrogacy understands these concerns. They know that surrogacy is an unfamiliar experience and, although joyful, can also be anxiety-producing for some. With personal coordinators there to support you from the very beginning to well after birth, their approach to surrogacy provision is unified and simple.

That’s why, together with Be Parent, we’ve selected 6 practical tips to bond with baby, both during and after surrogacy.

The surrogacy bonding myth

It is not uncommon for intended parents to experience concerns about bonding with their baby after gestational surrogacy, particularly when the child is conceived through donor conception. It is crucial here to address the surrogacy myth that suggests a genetic link is a prerequisite for bonding – the emotional bond that forms between parents and their child transcends biology, proving that love knows no boundaries, and that surrogacy is a beautiful path to parenthood.

Every family-building scenario is unique, and it is also with considering what bonding means, for you and your family constellation! In itself, bonding is an intensely personal experience, and everything from your emotions to the timeline can vary. It’s worth being gentle with yourself, and keeping these points in mind as you read on.

Bonding with your baby during surrogacy

Contrary to what you might think, it’s possible to bond with your baby in the womb during a surrogate pregnancy. Music can be a really effective way to connect with your baby in utero, and choosing tunes at a tempo that mimics a heartbeat can feel particularly soothing for your little one. Further, talking to baby in the womb can be a really special experience, and research does suggest that talking to your baby in the womb has numerous benefits for both the baby and the bonding experience of the parents. You could try using Belly Buds, or sending recordings to your surrogate partner so baby can experience the sound of your voices.

Active involvement in your gestational carrier’s pregnancy is also a great way to feel connected with your baby before birth. Scheduling video calls, keeping in touch via shared WhatsApp groups, and in-person visits are all really nurturing. Particularly, attending ultrasound appointments can be a poignant experience for intended parents. It can facilitate bonding with the baby as it usually makes the whole process feel a lot more real – so be prepared to feel lots.

Finally, working on a birth plan together is a really important tool for this early bonding process. “As part of every surrogacy program, we provide pre-natal and post-birth preparation with the help of our Be Parent Baby Nurses / Doulas. Intended parents, on a surrogacy journey, have the very same needs as any expectant parent and we want to ensure they feel included, supported, and prepared for the arrival and early care of their new baby.”Naia Adamia, Be Parent Director

Their Surro-Doula program ensures a dedicated and experienced person is on-hand as intended parents find their feet as caregivers. Her role is to guide, alleviate anxiety and help to create a space where intended parents can practice safe, practical and confident parenting in a secure environment. In short, the more assured you feel about the journey, the smoother the path becomes towards establishing a deep connection with your little one.

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Surrogacy and bonding after the birth

When a baby is born via surrogacy, an emotional transfer takes place. This process lets the baby start bonding with you and facilitates a smooth emotional transition from the nine months spent with the gestational carrier to their new life with you.

Firstly, when it comes to bonding with baby after surrogacy, familiarize yourself with and engage in the practice of “skin-to-skin kangaroo care.” This method entails holding your newborn directly against your bare chest, allowing them to experience the genuine warmth, sounds, and scents of your body. By doing so, you create an environment that triggers your baby’s senses and brings them a feeeling of comfort.

Lots of chatter can also help you bond with your baby after birth via surrogacy. Your little one will be able to feel the emotion of your voice, even if they can’t understand your words yet. Further, you can help your baby learn to recognise your face by giving them plenty of face time – think eye contact, and lots of smiles!

Be Parent also highlights induced lactation as a process that can be started weeks to months before baby arrives, allowing an intended mother to breastfeed her baby after a surrogate has given birth. This can also be a powerful bonding tool, if relevant to your family constellation.

Finally, be sure to get support for yourself, too. As a primary figure in your baby’s life, your emotional well-being becomes intricately connected to that of your child. Be Parent specifically advocates for self-care during this time – parents who can prioritize their mental health are better equipped to provide nurturing care and connection to their little ones.

Fertility Help

New parenthood, especially after donor conception and a surrogacy journey, can be challenging. When you start your family-building journey with Be Parent, they know just how much support matters when you’re making a life-changing decision. Sign up here for a consultation.

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