Looking after a new baby as surrogacy parents
It is sensible for intended parents to inform their local GP that they are expecting a baby as soon as their surrogate is pregnant. Not only will this help when you come to register your child at the practice after the birth, but it should trigger you being put on the radar of your local midwife and health visitor team.
A health visitor should be in touch with you towards the end of the pregnancy, and will visit you soon after your baby is born to support you. Routine examinations will be carried out to keep track of your baby’s growth and development in the first few weeks, and your health visitor will be able to offer support and advice on all aspects of looking after a new-born. Since your surrogate may have been cared for during the pregnancy in a different area, her healthcare team and yours may need to be in contact with each other, usually after the birth, to hand over care of the baby.
A health visitor will also give you your baby’s personal child health ‘red book’ either just before or just after the birth. This is a record you keep for your child which your health visitor and doctor can use to record how your baby is growing and developing, as well to keep track of immunisations, illnesses or accidents and any medication given. Your health visitor should continue to support you until your child is five years old.
Leave from work and pay for surrogacy parents
You should review your company’s policies with regard to time off work after the birth but there is a minimum statutory provision. Since 2015, intended parents have been entitled to a special form of adoption leave and pay which applies in surrogacy cases, provided that you intend to apply for a parental order.
You can then take adoption leave from the date of birth, and have an entitlement of up to 52 weeks. Only one intended parent can claim this – if you are a couple you can choose which of you this is. The other parent will be entitled to paternity leave and you may also be able to claim shared parental leave if you wish to share the adoption leave between you.
You may also qualify for statutory adoption pay (which, like maternity pay, is currently 90% of salary for six weeks and then a flat rate after that) and statutory paternity pay. This may be enhanced by your employment contract.