A~~ I thought I would write a FYI here because there are some potential Egg Donors and Surrogates out there that are not aware that you can not donate your eggs or become a surrogate if you have had a tattoo or body piercing within the past 6 months to a year. (In most cases it's 6 months for the piercing's and a year for the tattoo unless you have written proof that the needles used were disposable and in that case, you would be free and clear to donate or volunteer to carry.) This requirement is a safeguard against the risk of infectious diseases. Obviously any tattoos you have that are over a year old are fine!
After interviewing hundreds of potential surrogates and talking with the same amount of Intended Parents over the years, the subject always comes up regarding contact after the birth. This conversation takes place far before any match is made and has shown me over and over the optimism of all parties involved. 'No matter who I am matched with, we will be having a baby and I would like to know what will our relationship look like after the birth?' Expectations. Optimism. Positive thinking. Call it what you will but its a subject that needs to be discussed. It needs to be discussed and UNDERSTOOD that no matter what each party maybe feeling NOW, emotions, relationships, situations will change. (Not may change, WILL CHANGE.)
I think that some Intended Parents are more than willing to consider a relationship with their surrogate and try to actually build that into their vision of what a future will look like for their child/children. Some IP's, flat out, state that they can't get beyond the thought of a once a year photo and a small percentage are seemingly firm on their views on future relationship...no contact at all. Period.
A large percentage of women who envision themselves becoming a surrogate for a lucky couple want some contact after the birth of the baby. They understand that this isn't their biological child. They are cognizant of the fact that legally they have no rights, however, they may see themselves receiving photos and visiting with the family a couple of times a year...maybe e-mails or cards when the big milestones happen; first tooth, first step, first day of school. Why is this? I don't believe that it has as much to do with the baby but with the Intended Parents themselves. Surrogate's want to believe that they will mean more to their couple then "being just a carrier". That they will become life long friends with a common goal. That the couple will appreciate her forever and want to share the same joys that she has experienced with her own children. And, honestly, throughout the surrogacy journey most relationships move from the parties being complete strangers to constant companions. It's hard to make that jump, after the birth, and return to "normal" life for the surrogate mother and the IP's taking care of a newborn. In an instant, their relationship has changed.
When the decision to work together within the realm of surrogacy was reached, the conversation regarding contact after the birth should have taken place. And no matter what the agreed consensus was at that time, hopefully as the pregnancy progressed, the topic was discussed again. It's ok if the thought process changed and feelings are now decidedly different between the start of this relationship and the birth but it is important that no one is lead to believe something that will/will not be happening...whether that means there will be no contact at all on the surrogates part, or there will be no photos coming from the IP's or that an unexpected friendship bloomed and everyone wants to have lots of contact as apposed to very little. Whatever the situation its best to remember that communication is key and the understanding of each other's emotional investment is essential!
Pregnancy takes your mind and body through an ongoing stream of changes. On a basic level, your body is making unusual amounts of hormones. At certain times, this can cause you to feel exhausted, forgetful, or moody. On top of that, you will be preoccupied with how your body is quickly changing, worrying about how to manage symptoms, worrying about the pregnancy going well, finances, and keeping up with everyday life.
It is common to go through many of the following changes in a pregnancy:
First trimester: Extreme fatigue or morning sickness can color your daily life. Moodiness (as with premenstrual syndrome) is normal. Happiness and anxiety about the new pregnancy are also common.
Second trimester: Fatigue, morning sickness, and moodiness usually improve or go away. You may feel more forgetful and disorganized than before. Feeling heavier than normal, then looking visibly pregnant and feeling the baby move can make you feel any number of emotions.
Third trimester: Forgetfulness may continue. As your due date nears, it is common to feel more anxious about the childbirth. As you feel more tired and uncomfortable, you may find yourself being more irritable.
For some women, serious anxiety or depression problems improve during pregnancy. For others, they do not. If you suffer from insomnia, sadness, tearfulness, anxiety, hopelessness, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, irritability, appetite change, or poor concentration, talk to your health professional. Without treatment, mental health problems will get in the way of a healthy pregnancy.
The following items are regularly discussed between a patient and her OB to minimize the possibility of a sick pregnancy or an increased risk of miscarriage.
Drug use and medications that are not approved by your health professional (for example, NSAID use during conception and early pregnancy, which may increase the risk of miscarriage)
Papaya, which when unripe can cause the muscles of the uterus to contract leaded to a miscarriage.
Hot tubs and saunas
Toxoplasmosis or E.Coli infection, which may come from raw meat, poultry, or seafood; unwashed fruits or vegetables; and cat feces.
Mercury toxicity, which is known to come from shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, more than 6 oz of white albacore tuna per week, or fish which haven't tested as safe.
Pesticides, household cleaners, and paint will leach out fumes which can be harmful to a developing fetus, especially in the first trimester. While pregnant, use chemical-free cleaning alternatives. If you must use chemical cleaners, wear gloves, ventilate the area, and avoid inhaling fumes. Lead exposure typically through paints found in homes older than 1960 or toys which have originated from certain Chinese toy manufacturers. Nail polish contains a number of hazardous chemicals linked to an increased risk of early pregnancy loss.
Hair permanents and Bleaches are generally discouraged during the first trimester. While there is no known connection to fetal harm it is best to be cautious.
Radiation exposure: X-rays, air travel, and electrical appliances. It is a good idea to avoid unnecessary X-rays. However, be sure to tell the technician that you are pregnant even when it is only dental x-rays. When necessary, they can be performed with a lead apron that shields your abdomen.
If you travel by plane frequently it is possible to exceed the cosmic radiation limit considered safe during pregnancy (1 millisievert, or mSv). Although the occasional flight doesn't pose a risk, frequent low-altitude domestic flights or several high-altitude international flights may increase a fetus's risk of developing cancer during childhood. You can track your exposure using software from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), available online at http://jag.cami.jccbi.gov/cariprofile.asp.