Surrogacy is a generous and transformative journey, but it comes with unique challenges, especially for surrogates who have experienced multiple gestations. Women with the relevance of multiple gestations experience bring valuable insights and experience that can impact the surrogacy process.

However, there are also risks associated with multiple gestations. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering becoming a surrogate in Southern California and have a history of multiple gestations.

Understanding Multiple Gestations in Surrogacy

Multiple gestations occur when a pregnancy involves more than one fetus, such as with twin pregnancies or triplet pregnancies. These pregnancies come with increased medical risks and require specialized medical care, making the previous experience of potential surrogates extremely relevant.

This experience is particularly common in gestational surrogate pregnancy, where the surrogate carries an embryo created via IVF, often resulting in higher rates of multiple births due to multiple embryo transfers.

Multiple Births in Surrogacy: What Happens Next?

Multiple births, such as twins or triplets, are a distinct possibility in surrogacy arrangements, especially due to the use of assisted reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF), which often involves the transfer of multiple embryos to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Immediate Post-Birth Procedures

  • Medical Care for the Babies: Multiples are often born prematurely, which means they may require immediate and specialized medical care. Newborns from multiple births may need to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to address any immediate health concerns, such as respiratory issues, nutritional needs, or other complications common in premature babies.
  • Recovery for the Surrogate: The surrogate’s health is a priority immediately following the delivery, especially if the birth involves a cesarean section, which is more common with multiples. The prenatal care and recovery process for multiple births may be more extensive than with a singleton pregnancy, involving longer hospital stays and potentially more significant postpartum care.

Legal and Custodial Transfer

  • Legal Documentation and Parental Rights: Before the birth, legal arrangements should already be in place to ensure the transfer of parental rights from the surrogate to the intended parents. This legal process is crucial in surrogacy arrangements to establish the intended parents as the legal guardians of the newly born children immediately upon birth.
  • Birth Certificates: The intended parents’ names are placed on the birth certificates. The process can vary depending on local laws regarding surrogacy. Legal counsel typically handles these arrangements to ensure that all paperwork accurately reflects the agreed-upon terms of the surrogacy.

Long-Term Arrangements

  • Ongoing Medical Care: Children born from multiple pregnancies often require ongoing medical monitoring to track their development and address any pregnancy complications from being born prematurely. Intended parents should be prepared for the possibility of continued healthcare needs.
  • Support for the Surrogate: Surrogates may also need emotional and psychological support after the birth. The process of parting with the babies, even when planned and agreed upon, can be emotionally challenging. Many surrogacy agencies provide access to counseling and support groups to help surrogates through this transition.

Medical Risks Associated with Multiple Gestations

Despite meeting strict surrogate requirements and undergoing a rigorous screening process, surrogates still face many risks. These risks not only impact the surrogate during the pregnancy but also have long-term implications for both the surrogate’s and the babies’ health. 

Understanding these risks is crucial for anyone considering becoming a surrogate, especially for those who have previously experienced such pregnancies.

1. High Blood Pressure and Preeclampsia

Multiple gestations significantly increase the risk of developing high blood pressure and preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous medical condition characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys. This condition requires careful monitoring and management to prevent severe complications such as eclampsia, which can be life-threatening.

2. Gestational Diabetes

The likelihood of developing gestational diabetes is higher in pregnancies involving multiples. This condition can lead to larger birth weights and prenatal complications, necessitating specialized medical care and strict dietary management to ensure healthy outcomes for both the surrogate and the babies.

3. Preterm Labor and Premature Birth

One of the most common complications in multiple gestations is preterm labor, leading to preterm birth. Premature babies are at a higher risk of developing health issues such as respiratory distress syndrome, intestinal complications, and long-term developmental delays. The risk of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission increases with the prematurity of the babies.

4. Cesarean Birth and Delivery Complications

Surrogates carrying multiples have a higher probability of requiring a cesarean birth due to the positioning of the babies, their health needs, or the surrogate’s medical condition. Cesarean deliveries involve surgical risks and typically longer recovery periods, which can impact the surrogate’s overall health and future pregnancy plans.

5. Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)

In multiple gestations, there is a risk of unequal growth among the fetuses, known as intrauterine growth restriction. This condition can lead to significant differences in birth weights and may require medical intervention to ensure that all babies receive adequate nutrients and oxygen for proper development.

6. Fetal Growth and Amniotic Fluid Issues

Managing the growth of each fetus is a challenge in multiple pregnancies. Complications such as twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) in monochorionic twins (twins that share one amniotic sac) can occur, requiring sophisticated medical treatment and monitoring. Additionally, issues with too much or too little amniotic fluid can arise, complicating the gestation further.

7. Increased Physical Strain and Health Conditions

Carrying multiple fetuses greatly increases the physical strain on the surrogate’s body, leading to more significant discomfort and potential health issues such as back pain, varicose veins, and significant fatigue. These conditions require additional medical care and support throughout the weeks of pregnancy.

With the right preparations and support, the arrival of twins or triplets through surrogacy can be a joyful and fulfilling experience for everyone involved. With the help of a trusted agency like Southern California Surrogacy, surrogates, egg donors, and intended parents can receive the support and guidance they need.

Join Our Southern California Surrogacy Community

If you’re inspired by the opportunity to help others build their families and have valuable multiple gestation experience, we invite you to become part of our surrogacy community! Southern California Surrogacy is dedicated to providing comprehensive support to ensure a healthy and fulfilling surrogacy journey.

Ready to embark on your journey as a surrogate? Fill out our surrogacy form today and take the first step toward making a profound difference in someone’s life!