Earlier this week we were saddened to learn of the passing of an Idaho surrogate mother and the intended parent’s unborn twins. The American woman is believed to be the first in the US to pass away during a surrogate pregnancy. The exact circumstances surrounding their deaths have not been released publicly.
Every Pregnancy Faces Risks
The harsh but often not discussed reality is that every pregnancy faces risks regardless of whether the mother is carrying a biological child or acting as a surrogate. Otherwise unrelated but underlying medical conditions can be worsened and make it difficult for a mother to care for her unborn child. Uncontrolled asthma may lead to preeclampsia; depression may make care difficult or worsen the risk for postpartum depression; diabetes can cause harm to the fetus; seizures themselves may harm the fetus and increase the risk of a miscarriage but seizure medications may cause birth defects. The list of health concerns and related pregnancy complications also includes high blood pressure, HIV, migraines, eating disorders, obesity, sexual transmitted diseases, thyroid disease, and uterine fibroids.
Even relatively healthy women can develop complications during pregnancy. Some prenatal tests can detect a risk or early signs of disease, but not all can be diagnosed early on. Many women develop anemia, depression (during and postpartum), gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperemesis gravidarum (nausea and vomiting that does not stop). Through ultrasounds, blood tests and other diagnostic means, obstetricians will monitor for things such as blood pressure, fetal heartbeat and positioning, anomalies in the uterus or the fetus, and the health of the placenta to diagnose and treat any complications that may arise.
Reducing the Risk
According to the CDC, there were 3,932,181 births in the US in 2013. Approximately 650 (less than .02%) women die each year in the US as a result of a pregnancy complication or a complication during delivery. While 650 is 650 too many, the numbers prove how rare birth-related deaths actually are.
We at Open Arms have a strict set of qualifications that a woman must meet before even being eligible to take part in our program as a surrogate mother. These include age qualifications, a healthy body mass index, having already had a successful pregnancy and having custody of that child, a spouse or support system, and much more. Once a surrogate mother is chosen by our intended parents, she undergoes additional medical and psychological screening with fertility specialists and remains under the constant care of the physician of her choice during her pregnancy.
Also included in our benefits package is a $250,000 life insurance policy for the surrogate mother. While our hope is that a beneficiary will never have to file a claim, we and the mothers we partner with feel more secure in knowing their families are provided for in the event of a tragedy – related to the pregnancy or otherwise.
Don’t let media hype or fears of the complications associated with pregnancy stop you from becoming a surrogate mother. The gift of life and the joy you’ll bring to a couple in need is irreplaceable. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about the process of becoming a surrogate mother and we want you to know we’ll be here for you every step of the way. Please contact us at any time to open up the lines of communication.