Bad surrogacy journeys do exist. Although it would be nice to think that all surrogate journeys are perfect, the truth of the matter is that there can be problems with surrogate motherhood. Sometimes, a surrogacy lawyer can help with issues with surrogate pregnancy.
I would love to tell you that all surrogacy journeys are filled with peaches and cream and rainbows on sunny days. I’d love to tell you that every surrogate mother gives birth to full-term, healthy babies, and gets to see them once a year at the family reunion.
It would warm my heart to show you the awesome, loving friendship every surrogate and her intended mother share.
But the unfortunate truth is that not every journey goes well; there are often problems with surrogate motherhood. Things happen. People’s feelings change. Sometimes people deceive others. Sometimes medical complications arise.
This bad surrogacy journeys section is not intended to scare you, depress you, or make you feel like surrogacy is not an option for your family. It is intended to show you the uglier side of a beautiful process.
One of the most common things that contributes to bad surrogacy journeys are unpaid medical bills.
Surprisingly, intended parents often do not cover the medical bills the surrogate incurs for the birth or immediate care of the surrogate baby.
Since the surrogate mother is the patient, all medical bills are in her name.
If they go unpaid, the surrogate mother risks having the hospital take her to court and filing a judgment.
They do not care about surrogacy contracts or what your surrogacy lawyer says.
To them, the surrogate mother is the responsible party.
This can ruin her credit and her financial future in some cases.
Why do these issues with surrogate pregnancy happen?
For a few reasons:
- Sometimes the intended parents cannot be found/contacted
- Sometimes the relationship between surrogate and intended parents deteriorates and they refuse to have any contact whatsoever
- Sometimes the intended parents are just jerks
- Sometimes the time the surrogate has to submit the bills to the intended parents has lapsed according to their contract, and either the surrogate or the intended parents feel that the surrogate is contractually obligated to pay the bills
- Sometimes the bills were thought to have been covered by the insurance, and when the insurance company refuses payment, the intend parents do also, blaming the surrogate
It is NEVER ok for intended parents to not pay the bills associated with the pregnancy or birth of their child. It doesn’t matter if the surrogate and intended parents had a fight, if the insurance said they would cover it and suddenly had cold feet, or if 5 years down the road the surrogate finds a new bill she didn’t know existed.
It is always the intended parents’ responsibility to pay for the bills. Always. Let me say that again: Always.
Leaving a surrogate mother with unpaid medical bills is like slapping her in the face. It is one of the worst things that an intended parent can do.
Even though surrogate mothers are healthy, sometimes it happens that unexpected medical conditions arise during surrogacy.
This can lead to bad surrogacy journeys and problems with surrogate motherhood.
A surrogate mother, most often in gestational surrogacy, could become pregnant with high order multiples: triples, quadruplets, quintuplets or more.
She could be required to remain on bedrest for most of the pregnancy.
These issues with surrogate pregnancy could lead to a financial burden to both the intended parents and the surrogate mother. Not to mention a great stress to everyone involved.
The babies would most likely be born prematurely, with low birth weights and possibly medical problems. Sadly, some might not make it at all.
In addition to multiples, any number of things can happen in a surrogacy that could happen in a regular pregnancy. The baby could be miscarried, stillborn, or born with birth defects.
Surrogacy is not a promise for an uneventful pregnancy with a perfect baby at the end. The truth is, sometimes bad things happen.
Bad surrogacy journeys can come from changing feelings and hormones. Very often, the feelings of the surrogate mother or intended parents change during the surrogate pregnancy.
Whether this is hormonal due to the pregnancy in the surrogate’s case, or it is something unexpected, stemming from unresolved issues in the intended parent’s case, it sometimes happens that what started as a grand friendship has turned into a delicate situation.
Disagreements can be blown out of control and require a mediator. Feelings get hurt. Words are spoken that cannot be taken back.
In addition to disagreements, sometimes a surrogacy will suddenly turn sour towards the end of the pregnancy. Sometimes an intended mother will shut out the surrogate mother towards the end, leading to bad surrogacy journeys.
She may be feeling jealous (unexpectedly) that the surrogate is about to give birth to her child; she might be feeling fear (unrealistically) that the surrogate will suddenly try to steal the child; or she may be suddenly feeling that she wants to have nothing more to do with this portion of her life, and in particular, the surrogate. The surrogate mother may have done nothing to deserve this treatment.
But she may find herself in a situation where the parents take the baby at birth and never speak to her directly again. With no warning, no reason, and no kindness whatsoever.
This happens, often. As a surrogate, you need to be prepared to deal with this type of situation should it occur. As an intended parent, you need to make sure you consider the surrogate’s feelings as well as your own.
When looking for potential surrogates or intended parents, it’s important to realize that there is fraud that goes on in this community. Though rare, it contributes to bad surrogacy journeys. It can come from those posing as surrogates, those posing as intended parents, and even those posing as agencies.
Some women will cause bad surrogacy journeys by fraudulently saying they are experienced surrogates looking to do another journey. They will require a deposit or retainer fee, and will walk off with your money.
Some may even go so far as to fake a long distance pregnancy. This is not hard with traditional surrogacy.
With gestational surrogacy they may go through the transfer and then stop taking their medication. Then they will tell you late in the pregnancy that the baby miscarried.
Yes, there are intended parents out there trying to commit fraud. Some are simply trying to get something for nothing, and will trick an inexperienced surrogate into accepting one bulk payment at the end of the journey, and then will fall off the face of the earth.
This is uncommon, however. More common are the so-called intended parents, often (but not always) a single man, who have sinister plans for the child upon birth. I won’t go into detail here.
You also may run into couples who do not understand how a traditional surrogate mother gets pregnant, and might suggest something, well, more traditional and completely inappropriate. Luckily, when it comes to intended parents who want to commit fraud, or are just creepy, its usually easy to tell. Just look for Red Flags and trust your gut.
There have been a few bad surrogacy journeys over the years where intended parents have been taken by an agency. This can be particularly bad if the agency has already matched the intended parents and has the money for the entire journey in escrow.
I know of a few situations where all the money for the journey was gone. Totally gone. The surrogate was pregnant, and the intended parents were broke. Very sad.
Because the process of surrogacy is such an emotional journey, for all involved, it is easier than you think to fall into a fraudulent situation. These con artists are trying to take advantage of your feelings, and often succeed. Be careful.
What to Do if Things Go Wrong
So what do you need to do, as a surrogate mother or intended parent who finds themselves involved in one of these bad surrogacy journeys? First, calm down and try to see the situation from the other party’s perspective. With all the emotions flying around in surrogacy, this can be surprisingly hard to do, but is often the thing that works the best. If that doesn’t work, follow these steps, in this order.
Try to Work It Out Together
If at all possible, work this out amongst yourselves. Let the other party know what the problems with surrogate motherhood are, and how it makes you feel. Arrange a meeting for all four of you: the intended parents, the surrogate, and her husband. Sometimes, one party has no idea that there is a problem at all! This will sometimes correct bad surrogacy journeys.
Take Advantage of Your Support System
If the issues with surrogate pregnancy have not been resolved through talking with one another, its time to take advantage of your support system. This can be family, friends, or others involved in surrogacy either in person or online. Share the situation with your support team (be careful of giving away too much information publicly online) and see if they have any helpful advice or perspective for you. Often, just sharing is enough.
Contact Your Surrogacy Agency
If your problems are bigger than this, and are contributing to a really bad surrogacy journey, then contact your agency. The intended parents have paid them for just such an occurrence. With their experience, they may have a solution to your issues, and will be able to mediate the situation.
Involve a Mediator
If you have no agency or are not receiving the help that you need from your surrogacy agency, then it may be time to involve a mediator. This third party, unbiased person can sit down with both the intended parents, as well as the surrogate and her husband, and try to work things out. Often, your surrogacy contract will advise mediation at this point.
Contact Your Surrogacy Lawyer
When all else fails, it’s time to get your surrogacy lawyer involved in bad surrogacy journeys. Sometimes, as in the case of fraud, this last resort should become your first. In some situations, it will be necessary to pay additional fees to a surrogacy lawyer for continued representation.
Have you ever had something go wrong in a journey? What did you do?