When you’re carrying a child who is not your own, you are still eligible for maternity leave.
Surrogacy maternity leave and compensation is a normal and expected part of the surrogacy process. You won’t be left out in the cold once you give birth to the intended parents’ child. You can take time for your postpartum recovery without putting a financial strain on your family.
We created this guide to help you understand what surrogacy maternity leave entails and what you can do to ensure you’re taken care of during your postpartum recovery time.
How Does Maternity Leave for Surrogate Mothers Work?
Postpartum leave during any kind of pregnancy can be intimidating.
Many working women worry about their careers during their postpartum recovery. Even though there are laws protecting new mothers during this time, many are concerned how their absence at work will affect their career path and their employer’s view of them.
Before we get into the details of maternity leave for surrogate mothers, you need to understand the basics of general maternity leave in the U.S. today.
The Family and Medical Leave Act allows for eligible employees of covered employers to take 12 work weeks of leave to care for family members or to recover from a serious health condition. That includes the birth of a child or to care for a newborn child within one year of birth.
The two are mutually exclusive, meaning that you can take advantage of FMLA policy as a gestational carrier. Even though you will not care for the child you deliver, your job will still be protected as you utilize surrogacy maternity leave to recover from the major heath conditions of pregnancy and childbirth.
However, there is an important note to consider: While FMLA protects your right to a leave from work, it does not ensure that you will be paid during your absence. That will be up to your employer and your surrogacy professional.
What is Surrogate Maternity Pay?
It’s normal to be concerned about your family’s financial situation when you take leave from work. If your employer does not offer any paid maternity leave, there are other options available for you.
Surrogacy professionals understand the complications and rarity of employer-provided paid maternity leave. That’s why many require paid surrogacy maternity leave as part of their compensation package.
Intended parents understand the sacrifices that you will make carrying their child, and they know those don’t end once their baby is in their arms.
They know you will have to take time off work to recover from childbirth, especially if you have had a cesarean-section. Along with compensating you for the act of carrying their child, they also reimburse you for any lost wages you may incur during your surrogacy maternity leave.
Any discussion of paid surrogacy maternity leave will occur during your surrogacy contract stage. At this point, your surrogacy professional and attorney will review your employer’s leave policy, your pay stubs, and more to ensure you receive the reimbursement you deserve during your surrogacy and maternity leave.
You can always reach out to a surrogacy professional to get more information about paid maternity leave for surrogate mothers.
How to Talk with Your Employer About Compensation for Surrogacy Maternity Leave
While your surrogacy professional and attorney will play an important role in determining your surrogacy maternity leave and compensation, you also have to talk to someone else: your employer.
We know it can be awkward and uncomfortable to discuss pregnancy and surrogacy maternity leave with your employer, especially when you are still in the beginning stages of the surrogacy process.
However, your surrogacy journey will affect your job at some point, and it’s best to be honest with your employer as early as you can. That way, you can come up with a plan that suits both of your needs.
Before you have this conversation about surrogacy maternity leave and compensation, think about good talking points that can help keep your discussion on track. To get you started, here are a few tips:
- Wait to tell your employer about your pregnancy until you are about 20 weeks along. Like in all pregnancies, unexpected developments can happen during the first half of a gestational pregnancy. Unfortunately, this can include a failed transfer or miscarriage.
- You are not obliged to tell your employer you are carrying a gestational pregnancy. The choice of whether or not to reveal that will always be up to you.
- Keep in mind that your postpartum recovery may take shorter than your previous postpartum recoveries. Because you will not be caring for a newborn, you may feel recovered just a week after childbirth. However, tell your employer you’re planning to use your entire 12 weeks to avoid being forced back into the office before you’re ready. You can always keep your employer in the loop and come back early.
- Think about the conversations you will have with coworkers. Do you want to tell them about the surrogacy? If not, you may find yourself at the center of an unexpected baby shower or discussions about your future with the baby.
Learn More About Maternity Leave for Surrogate Mothers Today
Yes, surrogacy maternity leave and compensation can be an awkward conversation for all involved, but it’s a crucial one to have. As a surrogate, you must protect yourself and your family, and ensuring you receive the proper reimbursement during your postpartum recovery is a big part of that.
Remember, if you have questions about surrogacy maternity leave and pay, don’t hesitate to reach out to a surrogacy professional anytime.