Surrogate Maternity Pay and Leave [What to Know]

Many potential surrogates wonder if they are entitled to maternity leave and surrogate maternity pay following the birth of the child. After all, women need time to recover and get back into their usual routine following childbirth. This applies to surrogates as well. However, since you are not the one who will be caring for the child, you might be wondering if maternity leave still applies to you. 

This will depend on your employer and the surrogacy professional you work with, but this article can answer some of the more general questions you might have about surrogate maternity pay and leave. 

With a decision as big as giving a person or family the gift of a child of their own, it’s important that you educate yourself on the surrogacy process and all it entails before committing to being a gestational carrier. The surrogacy process doesn’t end the moment the baby is born. With all the goes into being a surrogate, it’s easy to overlook what the process will look like postpartum.

To get an idea of what you can expect when it comes to maternity pay for surrogate mothers, you should always speak with your employer ahead of time so that you can make the appropriate arrangements. You can also reach out to your surrogacy professional for guidance on how to approach the conversation.

Will I be Able to Receive Maternity Leave as a Surrogate? 

It’s a no-brainer that after the birth of your own children you were able to receive maternity leave to rest and recover. Not only that, but this leave gives you time to spend with your newborn and give them around the clock care and attention.  So, does this still apply after you’ve given birth to someone else’s child?  

The answer is yes! Even if the baby won’t be coming home with you, you are still entitled to maternity leave. As long as you meet the maternity leave criteria laid out in Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you will be able to receive up to 12 weeks of maternity leave regardless of whether the baby comes home with you or not. Childbirth is physically exhausting, and you will still need time to rest and recover.

The criteria you must meet to receive maternity leave under FLMA is: 

  • Work at a location that has 50 or more employees within 75 miles. 
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the past 12 months before the start of your leave. 
  • Have worked for this employer for 12 months. 

Requesting maternity leave can be intimidating, especially with a situation as unique as being a surrogate for another person or couple. Even if it’s uncomfortable, it’s important that you are as transparent as possible about your situation and what you need.

While FMLA will ensure that your job will be protected during your leave, it’s still important to have this conversation with your employer so that they can be prepared to have your position covered while you are away. 

Is there Maternity Pay for Surrogate Mothers?

So, if you receive maternity leave, you might be wondering if you’re also entitled to surrogate maternity leave compensation. This will largely depend on your employer. Whatever maternity leave policy your employer has will still apply to you as a gestational carrier so that your job is protected while you recover and get back into your everyday routine. 

Unfortunately, many employers in the U.S. do not offer paid maternity leave to any person who gives birth, surrogate or not. You may be required to take vacation time or unpaid medical leave. However, the earlier you talk to your employer about their maternity leave policy, the sooner you will know whether you will or won’t receive paid leave and make the appropriate arrangements. 

Fortunately, any wages lost during your surrogacy process may be able to be covered by the intended parents. You will need to speak with your surrogacy attorney and your surrogacy professional to make these arrangements. 

It’s your surrogacy professionals’ goal to ensure that you are properly compensated during your surrogacy journey and that you have everything you need. So, regardless of if your employer can grant you paid maternity leave, you will be financially taken care of postpartum. 

How do I Talk to My Employer about Maternity Leave and Surrogate Maternity Pay? 

While it might be daunting to speak with your employer about surrogate maternity pay and maternity leave, it is necessary to make it happen. In fact, the policies your surrogacy professional will have for certain payments and reimbursements will depend on the policies your employer has in place. 

This might be an uncomfortable conversation to have as a gestational surrogate. 

  • You can prepare for this conversation by speaking with your surrogacy attorney.
  • They can make sure you are aware of any applicable laws when it comes to maternity leave surrogate maternity leave compensation policies.
  • You may even want to plan out what you’re going to stay and establish important talking points so that you don’t leave out any important information and you get everything you need out of the conversation. 

Some things to keep in mind before having this conversation are: 

  • Wait until you are at least 20 weeks pregnant to tell your employer about your pregnancy. 
  • It’s your choice to disclose that you are carrying a child for someone else as a surrogate. 
  • Try not to give a set amount of time that you will be gone. Instead, tell your employer you will communicate about your postpartum recovery, and you will return when you are ready. 

While these conversations can be uncomfortable, they are necessary and worth it in the long run. No matter what, you should be proud of the amazing gift you are giving. In fact, having these conversations can help normalize surrogacy and help educate others on the gift that it is. To get more information about surrogate maternity pay and leave, reach out to a surrogacy professional today.