Dear Scholastic Surrogate!

Dear Scholastic Surrogate:  I’m 20 weeks pregnant with a surrogate baby. My family is throwing a huge 50th wedding anniversary party for my parents in six weeks. The problem is that it’s in California. I have no idea if I’m allowed to travel that late in the pregnancy. I really want to go, but I don’t want to upset the intended parents or do something to put the baby at risk. Help!
-California Dreaming

Dear California Dreaming:  First of all, congratulations to your parents! Being married for 50 years is amazing, and they certainly deserve a huge celebration. As far as you being able to attend the celebration, that really depends on what terms you have in your agreement with your intended parents. Travel is something that should have been very clearly spelled out in your agreement. Almost all IPs specify that you cannot travel outside of the United States and to avoid areas that have reported cases or suspected cases of Zika. It is uncommon, but there are some instances in which the intended parents have asked that the gestational carrier not travel farther than 50 miles from the closest hospital. In addition, most IPs specify not to travel outside of the state after 24 week gestation period because at this point, the fetus is considered viable and you want to be in the state that you obtained the Pre-Birth Order (PBO). The PBO is only valid in the state in which it was drawn up. If you go into pre-term labor in another state and have the baby there, the PBO may not be recognized and the intended parents wouldn’t have legal rights to their baby, which would cause a huge legal disaster. So, even if it’s not specified in the contract, we’d recommend not traveling after 24 weeks. In addition, it’s imperative that you check with your OB to ensure you’re medically cleared to travel. 

Even if you’re medically cleared, based on your being 20 weeks now and the party being in six weeks, you will be past that 24 week period. But as mentioned, it really does depend on what you signed with your IPs. Communication is key. Take a look at your contract and discuss this matter with them. Thankfully, even if you can’t go, FaceTime is still at least an option and you could always use your gestational carrier compensation to plan a great surprise trip to see them after the baby is born.

Dear S.S.: I’m interested in becoming a surrogate and live in a very rural area in New Mexico. The closest fertility clinic to me is in Albuquerque, which is about 150 miles north of where I live. I know that during the first trimester, I’ll need to go to the clinic quite often to get monitored. I’m a little concerned about how much time I’ll lose at work traveling back and forth to appointments and the cost of the gas for the travel. Is this something I would get reimbursed for? How would I even bring this up with the intended parents? I don’t want this to be a barrier from me becoming a gestational carrier, but it does concern me. - Rural Ruby

Hi Rural Ruby:  First and foremost…thank you for considering surrogacy! It’s a wonderful gift. Now for your question…it is often the case that in more rural areas, the closest fertility clinic is in the nearest largest city, so don’t worry…you aren’t the first person with this issue. Many Gestational Carriers don’t even live in the same state as their fertility clinic! In general, there are only two appointments that *must* be conducted at the actual fertility clinic, the first medical screening and the embryo transfer itself.  For every other monitoring appointment you should be able to find a doctors office closer to you capable of conducting the testing needed. It is important to communicate this concern with the intended parents when drafting the legal contract, though. Most contracts come with a clause about traveling more than 100 miles for medical care and mileage is generally covered at the federal medical mileage rate of 18 cents per mile, so it is likely that this is what would be in your contract; however, make sure you discuss this with the intended parents and double check that it is indeed included. Always remember that everything is negotiable, and good communication is key. You both have the goal of a healthy baby in the end, so you’re on the same team!

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