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!