COVID-19 Best Practices: Surrogate Pregnancy & Agency Updates
Originally published February 2021. Updated as we transition from the pandemic status of COVID-19 according to CDC Guidelines. For specific questions about Giving Tree’s Best Practices during this time of transition, please call 888-328-8883
In March of 2020, many Americans were glued to their televisions, watching update after update of a global pandemic rippling across the globe.
So much has changed since then. We live our lives differently and hold our loved ones a little tighter since we have seen the other side. At Giving Tree Surrogacy & Egg Donation our core value has always been family.
Each one of our clients, surrogate mothers, partners, and staff is treated with love, empathy, and best practices to ensure family-building remains the focus. As we exit the pandemic stage even more will change, and that can be scary. We are doing our very best to offer accurate, science-backed information as well as update office policies to reflect community needs.
In times like these, it is especially important to remember, it takes a village. We are here to answer questions, ease worries, and offer full transparency on our best practices.
Surrogates, Egg Donors, and Intended Parents will always know what to expect when they walk through our doors…or attend a virtual visit.
As more has become known about COVID-19 and how it impacts the human body, we have updated a few key best practices.
Read below for COVID-19 Surrogate Pregnancy & Agency Updates - to help smash fear and get you loving your appointments again.
Telehealth options (for certain parts of the process) and complimentary masks for in-person appointments if needed.
Family-building is a complex process, which is often fueled by powerful emotions, on any given day. Add a twist of pandemic and a dash of constantly changing guidelines and it can be a recipe for high anxiety!
Many medical institutions are reporting a lack of attendance and high instances of appointment skipping due to COVID fear.
Robert Gabbay, M.D., chief scientific and medical officer for the Boston-based American Diabetes Association, told HealthCentral, “Telemedicine provides a good alternative, and it is important for people to engage with their healthcare team to maintain good health.”
The trend of skipping appointments is alarming, especially in surrogate patients, egg donors, or pregnant women in general. A surrogate is, a pregnant woman, so surrogate pregnancy has to be treated the same way. Sounds straightforward and simple; however, in the times of COVID-19, it is even more pressing to make your appointments and keep them.
Pregnant women can be at higher risk for gestational diabetes, preeclampsia (high blood pressure with the presence of protein in the urine), as well as additional issues.
As a woman progresses through the stages of pregnancy, her organs shift, her rib cage expands, and changes occur biologically which can make breathing difficult through tasks a non-pregnant woman may have no problem with.
In short, pregnant women must be monitored closely by doctors - whether she is a surrogate mother or not.
We visit CDC Guidelines For Pregnant People often to ensure we have the most up-to-date info to share with our clients.
In addition to telehealth options, we also have an amazing team of people from around the world helping bring GivingTree to life, which brings us to our next change.
Remote work for admin and office staff.
As a company and a family, we are called to assist the well-being of our intended parents, surrogates, staff, and families by making wise decisions to support the health of those in our care.
As a result, we have transitioned to our office staff working remotely to minimize opportunities for the virus to spread.
According to an article in Forbes, “the flexibility remote work offers contributes to happier and healthier employees. Remote workers also save money on commuting, child care, clothing, food and more. And in some cases, the company even covers home internet expenses for their remote workers.”
We’re also loving the virtual background vibes.
Previously, we minimized office outings to help prevent the spread. We are so relieved, as many Americans are, to finally have the chance to socialize at an industry event in October. Our Events page has been lonely lately!
Our partner organizations also hold themselves to an exceptionally high standard regarding staff, administration, and client safety. We work with so many phenomenal partner organizations and deeply value our working relationships.
Here is a directory of our professional associations.
We are committed to safe donor screenings and examinations.
This is nothing new of course! But there have been a few changes to note since the screening process is of the utmost importance in surrogacy and surrogacy-related services.
It ensures a healthy donation for the Intended Parents and a smooth process for the donor with minimal stress.
After successfully being matched with your prospective parent(s), donors will be required to undergo a series of screenings and evaluations as follows:
- Psychological Evaluation - a 1:1 consultation with a licensed clinical psychologist.
- Genetic Consultation - done remotely to review your and your family’s health background.
- Medical Evaluation - an in-person evaluation at the fertility clinic chosen by the Intended Parent(s).
- Self-injection Training - provided in person to learn more about the medications used in the donor cycle.
An agency will confirm the identity and perform a criminal background check on the donor, or surrogate, and payment, as well as financial stability, will be discussed during the screening process.
Surrogate Candidates and Surrogate Mothers receive complimentary masks to be used during their doctor’s visits and other outings.
Hand-washing training combined with transparency on best practices for COVID-19 hot spots should they occur.
Oftentimes, in a search for resources, it is easy to glance over the most essential keywords.
Of course, you can always call our office, or read any of the FAQs on our site. But if you find yourself frustrated Google at 3 AM trying to find resources on what to do if you are pregnant or want to become a surrogate (We’ve been there!)...here is a search term to help you out:
Surrogate Support COVID-19 Pregnant & Recently Pregnant COVID-19 Support
Looks weird but it will get you ALL the results. Add in your location and it will be even better.
Asking questions, having open communication, and gathering your team to get you through COVID-19 are one of the best ways to smash fear and worry. So often we hear things like, “Oh, I should have asked the doctor, but I was embarrassed.”
Or something a little embarrassing such as, “Ever since I gave birth to my son, my body odor is off the charts, and I have more frequent bouts of bacterial vaginosis (BV)...am I still a candidate?”
Or a statement to self like…“I had COVID-19 last year, I won’t clear a medical exam.”
The fact is, you won’t know unless you ask, and you could have something easy to fix like BV…or you may qualify to be a surrogate when you think you won’t…or you can make staff aware that your specific questions are out there which means others may have the same questions too.
We truly feel one of the best defenses against COVID-19 is open communication about medical issues or concerns. Handwashing and masking up are important too, of course!
Surrogacy is a global community and we're proud to be part of it.
Because our company is part of a larger community, we seek to reduce opportunities for the virus to spread. Protecting ourselves and those close to us who may be at risk for serious complications is a constant conversation.
We take it very seriously.
As a company with a global reach, we are connected with people around the world, regularly interacting with many cultures, political affiliations, various sexual orientations, and religious beliefs.
Our methods have always been inclusive, respectful, and science-backed.
Decisions made in one part of the world may rapidly affect other areas. Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic is ever-changing as more knowledge about the virus becomes available. We serve our neighbors globally and locally when we seek ways to help mitigate the impact of the virus. It takes a village to grow love, and we’re so honored to navigate through these difficult times together.
Giving Tree Surrogacy has multiple locations in the domestic U.S. and Internationally. It is our mission to navigate, support, facilitate, and implement remarkable surrogacy and egg donation journeys for all; helping intended parents across the globe achieve the seemingly impossible.
The Giving Tree staff will be working from home until further notice to be able to do our part for our loved ones while helping our intended parents and surrogates still achieve their dreams of completed families.
We will continue to provide you with the very best service, and as always, we are here to help you during every step of this very amazing journey of surrogacy.
By staying informed and working together, we can protect ourselves and our community.
For the latest information on the coronavirus, visit the CDC website.
It takes a village to grow love.
The Giving Tree Surrogacy & Egg Donation blog is a space to connect and communicate with intended parents, surrogates, and egg donors.
Contact Us to schedule your free, no-obligation exploratory consultation today! For media inquiries, please call 888-328-8883
Giving Tree Surrogacy & Egg Donation does not receive affiliate commissions from any of the organizations linked above. We simply value knowledge sharing and benchmarking for best practices and services.