Modern Families: Babies Delivered in Surprising Ways
We live in a world where grandmothers are giving birth to their own granddaughters. It's not the latest episode of your favorite soap opera — it's science! But to the families for whom it's providing a (perhaps last) chance to have biological children, it's much more.
To be sure, this form of surrogacy is unconventional and not an option for everyone. But medicine and tolerance are opening up new avenues of nontraditional birth experiences, allowing more people to participate in the joy of welcoming a baby into the world.
If you're considering an alternative birth route, it's important to find the right doctor and hospital — a dynamic duo that can offer prepregnancy, pregnancy, labor and delivery support for the option you ultimately choose. Here's what to look for when screening healthcare professionals and facilities.
The decision to adopt a child is a big one — for all parties involved. Be sure to choose a healthcare provider and hospital that is committed to:
- Supporting families and staff during deliveries and placements
- Providing clear communication with agency social workers and attorneys
- Providing emotional support for potential adoptive parents and patients
- Encouraging and facilitating staff education regarding infant adoption
- Empowering women considering the option of adoption
Birth mothers choose the type of adoption they want, so having guidance when making this important determination is crucial.
Kinship adoption is typically a simplified process that allows a family member to raise a child.
Open adoption is the most common and allows both families to communicate in ways that work best for them.
Semi-open adoption keeps identifying information confidential and allows communication between third parties, such as an adoption agency or attorney.
Closed adoption keeps identifying information confidential and assumes there will be no contact after placement, although the families may meet beforehand.
Of the approximately 2,300 same-sex couples raising children in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it's safe to say that they all wanted what every other parent wants when welcoming a child into their lives: a caring, supportive environment populated by people who understand the concerns and questions of new parents and treat them with empathy and respect.
One area of concern has to do with the child's birth certificate. Under current Texas law, there is no place to record two mothers or two fathers, so only one parent is named on the legal document.
While Texas legislators are currently considering making changes to birth certificates and other legal documents following the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, one interim solution is a second-parent adoption.
Second-parent adoption permits a parent in a same-sex relationship to adopt his or her partner's child and become a legal parent of that child, giving the child two legal parents and giving both parents legal rights. It also typically grants adoptive parents the same rights as biological parents in custody and visitation matters. In contrast to stepparent adoption laws, which require the parents be married, second-parent adoption laws do not.
Does the doctor and hospital offer surrogacy support and fully explain your options? While the lines between gestational and traditional surrogacy are blurring, surrogacy entails a woman carrying a baby for another couple or individual.
Gestational surrogacy involves a fertilized egg implanted in a surrogate mother.
- The baby may get 100 percent of its DNA from the parents who will raise it, 50 percent in the form of either sperm or egg, or none at all, in which case there was both an egg and sperm donor.
- This option typically involves in vitro fertilization.
Traditional surrogacy uses the surrogate's own eggs and artificial insemination with the sperm of the intended father or a sperm donor.
- The baby will be related to the surrogate mother and may or may not be related to one of the parents who will raise it.
- Traditional surrogacy is less expensive than gestational, as the surrogate is unlikely to have fertility issues and need fertility medication.
In this age of the "modern family," no two households are alike, but we at Medical City Healthcare hospitals believe they all deserve the very best start in life. To that end, we offer amenities that support all types of families, designed to give each and every one the birth experience of their dreams.
Tracy Harper, MSN, RN, CNML, Director of Women's Services at Medical City Plano
Tracy Harper has been a nurse for 21 years and has devoted her entire nursing career to the area of women's and children's health. She is married to Kit Harper and is the mother of two children, Haley and Owen. Outside of work, Tracy enjoys traveling, reading and listening to live music.