Breastfeeding and Surrogacy

Breastfeeding is not impossible for you as an intended parent. With the proper preparation, you can have the same bonding experience with your child born via surrogacy.


Many intended mothers are surprised and excited to learn that even without experiencing pregnancy, they may be able to breastfeed their new babies.

Through induced lactation, it is possible for these new moms to enjoy the breastfeeding experience — along with its suggested health benefits. In this article, learn more about breastfeeding a surrogate-born baby, including a how-to guide to help you get started.

How Can I Breastfeed My Surrogate-Born Baby?

The first step for any mom-to-be who wishes to breastfeed is to talk to her doctor. If you are interested in breastfeeding your surrogate-born baby, it will be especially important to work with your doctor as you start and stop medications to induce lactation.

While it requires some advanced preparation, breastfeeding a surrogate-born baby is not much different from nursing any other newborn. Here, find the breastfeeding process for intended parents:

It is important to remember that every mother’s breastfeeding experience is different, and your success may vary based on a number of factors. Breastfeeding, especially in the case of induced lactation, is not for everyone, whether the child is surrogate-born or not. There will be a learning curve, so the most important thing is to be patient and to talk with your doctor or other lactation consultant for guidance and support.

Using the Surrogate’s Breastmilk

For intended parents who feel strongly about the benefits of breastfeeding, another option is to use the surrogate’s breastmilk.

Many surrogates are willing to continue pumping for up to six weeks following the birth of the baby. This milk can be used to feed the baby with a bottle or with the supplemental nursing system, allowing the infant to receive all of the same benefits of breastmilk regardless of whether the intended mother decides to breastfeed.

Surrogates are not required to pump, and those who choose to do so spend a considerable amount of time and energy pumping and shipping the milk to the intended family. If you or your partner decide to induce lactation, you will quickly discover exactly how trying pumping can be. Similarly, if your surrogate agrees to pump for you, she will need to do so every few hours, even during the night, and it can be an inconvenience that requires serious dedication.

For these reasons, surrogates need to be compensated for their extended commitment to the intended family. Most agencies suggest $200–$250 per week of pumping, including shipping costs and all of the supplies necessary to the process.

If you are interested in using your surrogate’s breastmilk following the birth of the baby, this needs to be discussed, negotiated and included in your legal contract prior to the embryo transfer. Speak with your surrogacy specialist for help finding prospective surrogates who are willing to pump, and work with your attorney to outline the terms for your contract.

Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding a Baby Born through Surrogacy

Intended mothers and surrogate-born babies enjoy all of the same breastfeeding benefits as any other new mom and baby. They also face many of the same challenges, as well as the additional challenges of inducing lactation and supplementing their supply.

As you consider breastfeeding your surrogate-born baby, here are some of the top advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind:

PROS

CONS

These are just some of the pros and cons of breastfeeding a surrogate-born baby, but the true joys and challenges of breastfeeding will vary based on each woman’s individual experience. The most important factor to consider when deciding whether or not to breastfeed is your own individual circumstances; the choice is a personal one, and every mother should do what she feels is best for herself and her baby.

Resources for Intended Parents

Under the right circumstances, breastfeeding a surrogate-born baby can be a rewarding experience that promotes your newborn’s health and attachment. If you are interested in breastfeeding, talk with your doctor and your surrogacy professional early on. Your doctor can help you prepare for induced lactation, and your surrogacy professional can provide more information and help you find a surrogate who is willing to pump for you.

In addition, the following resources can provide more information about breastfeeding your baby born through surrogacy, as well as support and guidance for intended parents as they begin the process:

Are you interested in learning more about surrogacy or starting the process? Complete our form to request free surrogacy information now.

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