A common question from gestational carrier applicants is whether it’s possible to continue a full time job during a surrogacy journey. Considering the logistics and emotional commitment involved, some wonder if it’s realistic to maintain your normal, day-to-day responsibilities. Can you really fit surrogacy into your family, work and daily life routines?
Together with the perspective from our very own Ashtin Gurevitz, we take a closer look at the expectations of a surrogate, as well as the realities of working both in and outside the home while pregnant.
Absolutely. In fact, the majority of surrogates who work outside the home continue at their jobs throughout the pregnancy and well into their third trimester, just as they may have done with their own children. If you have a full time job and are wondering if you can fit surrogacy into your life, we can assure you that is indeed how it is often done.
There can be many positive aspects of working during a surrogate pregnancy.
Career fulfillment. If you love what you do, working toward your professional goals can provide a sense of fulfillment outside of being a gestational carrier. Keeping an identity outside of your role as a surrogate mother may be an emotional need your job helps you to maintain.
Employer Benefits. You can continue to utilize any benefits your employer offers. If you are lucky enough to have extra perks like a gym membership or dental coverage, it’s nice to have the option to take advantage of those in addition to medical benefits.
Camaraderie. Your colleagues can provide an additional layer of support throughout your pregnancy. At minimum, this could mean that there are always extra drivers around if you have a doctor’s appointment over lunch and a dead car battery. At its best, you may connect with a wonderful group of people who are available eight hours a day to lend a supportive ear or join you for a walking lap around the office.
While it’s still very doable, working while pregnant can present challenges as well.
Managing side effects. Handling the physical effects of pregnancy while working full time can take some additional planning and preparation. The act of helping others build a family is beautiful and yet sometimes, early in the pregnancy, there is morning sickness and exhaustion that can come along with it. Later in the pregnancy, there may be limitations on your physical agility for jobs that require you to be on your feet all day.
Time management. You are responsible for attending scheduled appointments throughout your pregnancy, and some may fall within typical work hours. Consider the flexibility of your schedule and job responsibilities.
Despite any challenges, you are not the first to follow the path of working full time as a surrogate. There is a wealth of resources and guidance from women and professionals who have learned firsthand from their experience working while pregnant.
Perhaps you are looking for ways to continue to stay home with your own children while earning income. There are plenty of stay at home moms who decide to become surrogates.
Whether a surrogate works out of the home or in, many find the camaraderie with others to be one of the highlights of the journey. As a ConceiveAbilities surrogate, you join a community of women who are there to encourage and support one another, often sharing tips for working full time during surrogacy.
To be clear, surrogacy is not a job. It is a calling which compensates and it is prudent to consider the ways in which surrogacy is different than a regular salary.
Steady compensation. Significant payments may not begin until the first or second confirmation of the baby’s heartbeat. Although it is rare, matches can sometimes face challenges in reaching that particular milestone. If your match experiences delays, your compensation may also be delayed.
Health insurance. It may be crucial to maintain your employment status throughout your journey as a surrogate to avoid disruptions in your primary health insurance, if your health insurance is provided by your employer.
1. Know your rights. Working with a reputable surrogacy agency like ConceiveAbilities gives you access to an in house legal team to help your understand your rights and what laws are applicable to you. State laws and employer policies vary, but it is generally illegal for employers to discriminate based on pregnancy or related conditions. This is just one example of your rights as a surrogate, and working with our legal team along with your own attorney will help you understand the full scope of your rights related to your employment while pregnant.
2. Talk to management. It’s highly encouraged to tell your boss or HR about your pregnancy before other coworkers. First, this will give your boss more context to better assist if you need additional accommodations during work. Second, your boss’s knowledge may help limit the news traveling until you choose to share it with your other coworkers. Third, being up front with your boss opens communication to game plan for any pregnancy-related situations that may arise.
3. Prepare for common side effects. Taking a proactive approach to managing these effects during work can be beneficial.
Nausea: Avoid foods and situations that you know trigger queasiness. If your stomach starts flipping when your coworker insists on reheating fish in the microwave, try taking a quick walk outside during their lunch break. You can also keep a stash of stomach-settling foods in your workspace as a quick fix when you feel nauseous. Saltines, ginger ale and ginger candy can help course correct an unexpected wave of morning sickness.
Fatigue: Incorporating short, frequent breaks or walks into your workday can help reboot energy if you are feeling fatigued. Adding more protein to your diet can also help reduce fatigue. Try keeping some high protein snacks on hand, or incorporate a big leafy salad at lunch. Drinking plenty of fluids is important whether or not you are pregnant and staying hydrated can help combat fatigue. Even if it’s the last thing you want to do at the end of the day, sticking to your exercise routine also has its benefits: it boosts mental and physical energy levels, as does focusing on getting a full night’s sleep as often as you can.
Discomfort: Make small changes to reduce physical discomfort throughout the day. Do you need to bring a pillow to work for better back support while you are sitting? Do you have a comfortable pair of shoes with good arch support for long periods of standing? Small considerations like these can have a big impact. Stay healthy mentally as well. Try implementing mini-meditations throughout the day, or seeking out the support of a friend or trusted coworker for vexing problems.
At ConceiveAbilities, we are focused on a healthy pregnancy for the surrogate and the baby. We encourage gestational carriers to continue with their normal lives, while always following doctor’s orders.
Using the resources of a surrogacy agency will set you up for success to navigate working full time as a gestational carrier. At ConceiveAbilities, we take the extra step to make sure that your compensation as a surrogate takes into account what you earn, so that if you have any time periods with lost wages, you are fully made whole. Learn more about how that works for you with our personalized surrogacy pay calculator.
Further, we will help you understand your rights and guide you to helpful resources. For instance, we partner with top health professionals who can provide guidance if any element of your work environment is not conducive to a healthy pregnancy. We also take your employment into account during the matching process. Any intent to change your employment status should be shared with your team as early as possible. We will make sure that you are matched with intended parents who understand and value your preferences about being employed full-time, or not, while pregnant.
Your life is busy. Allow us to assure you that this is a role unlike any other. Are you a woman who enjoyed a healthy and successful pregnancy? Do you have friends or family who have suffered from infertility or need assistance from someone else to build their family? Have you ever considered the role you could play in helping someone else build their family - as a surrogate? Learn more about the process of helping someone else's dream of building a family come true. We would love to talk with you.