If you’re a potential surrogate, you may be wondering about the topic of maternity leave. This time off work is intended to give new mothers a chance to adjust, heal and bond with their newborn. You may not be bringing a baby home with you, but there is still a healing process that must take place after childbirth. So, is maternity leave and compensation possible for surrogates once they have given birth?
As your gateway into the incredible gift that is surrogacy, the team at Western Fertility Institute wants you to understand as much as possible about this process so you can determine if it’s the right choice for you and your family. Surrogate maternity leave is a tricky but important consideration. So, here is some information about surrogacy leave you can consider before choosing to give the precious gift of life to a family in need.
Can You Get Maternity Leave as a Surrogate?
If you’re considering surrogacy, then you’ve had children before. You understand that while giving birth is an amazing process, it’s also physically, mentally and emotionally draining. You need time to recover, and you also have a brand new person who requires your undivided attention.
Surrogacy is a bit different. You won’t have a baby to care for, but you will still need time to heal from the physical effects of childbirth. So, is there an option for maternity leave as a surrogate? The simple answer is yes.
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants certain protections to employees, including 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave for many different situations, including the birth of a child. What you plan to do with the baby after the delivery doesn’t impact your ability to take advantage of government-protected maternity leave. As you recover, your job will be waiting for you for up to 12 weeks.
There are a few guidelines that surrogates and intended parents must meet in order to benefit from the protections of FMLA, including:
- You must work for a covered employer
- You must have worked at least 12 months for that employer
- You must have worked at least 1,250 hours 12 months prior to intended maternity leave
- Your job site must have 50 or more employees within 75 miles
If you do not meet these criteria, your maternity leave is up to the discretion of your employer. Be sure to have an open and honest conversation with your supervisor as soon as possible to make arrangements.
Will You Be Compensated During This Time off Work?
Sadly, paid maternity leave is not the norm in the United States. While the FMLA offers job protection during maternity leave, it does not require employers to pay their workers during this time. Some jobs provide generous paid maternity leave to employees. Most of the time, however, expectant parents find themselves using vacation time or unpaid medical leave after the birth of their child — the same is true for surrogate mothers.
Your employer should already have a leave policy in place, and it shouldn’t matter whether or not you’re raising the child you give birth to. Be sure to talk to your supervisor about their maternity leave protocol. The earlier you understand this policy, the better, as you may have to make other arrangements.
If your job does not provide paid maternity leave, your lost wages could be covered by the intended parents. However, you’ll need to talk to your surrogacy attorney and the specialists at Western Fertility Institute to help make arrangements. Your surrogacy professionals are here to ensure the process of surrogacy, including your postpartum recovery, goes smoothly. The decision to carry a child for someone else should not come at the cost of your financial security.
Learn More About the Gift of Surrogacy at Western Fertility Institute
If you’re interested in becoming a surrogate mother, please know that you are giving a precious gift to couples struggling to grow their families. At Western Fertility Institute, we offer a simple and confidential application process to see if you qualify to become a surrogate. Once you’re accepted into our program, we will walk with you every step of the way.
If you’re ready to move forward, apply to become a surrogate with Western Fertility Institute today.