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Tuesday, 22 August 2023 17:37

Understanding Breastfeeding in Surrogacy Arrangements

Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural bonding experience between a mother and her child. Many prospective mothers might believe that if they haven't been pregnant, they can't lactate. However, they'll be delighted to discover that they can still embrace the act of breastfeeding their child born through surrogacy via a method termed induced lactation. In this detailed guide, we'll delve into the journey of inducing one's ability to lactate and offer essential insights for parents pondering breastfeeding their surrogate-born child.

Understanding Induced Lactation

Induced lactation is the process of stimulating milk production in a woman who has not been pregnant. It involves taking hormones, supplements, and medications to mimic the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and initiate milk production. While inducing lactation takes some preparation and dedication, it is a viable option for intended mothers who wish to experience the benefits of breastfeeding.

Consulting with Your Doctor

Before embarking on the journey of induced lactation, it is crucial to consult with your doctor. They will guide you through the necessary steps and ensure that you are in good health to proceed. Your doctor will work with you to determine the appropriate medications and supplements needed to induce lactation safely.

The Process of Inducing Lactation

Inducing lactation typically involves several key steps, which we will discuss in detail:

  • Taking Hormones: Several months before your baby's expected birth, your doctor may prescribe birth control pills or other hormones that imitate the hormonal changes during pregnancy. These hormones "trick" your body into thinking that you are pregnant, laying the foundation for milk production.
  • Transitioning to Supplements and Medications: As the delivery date approaches, you will discontinue the use of birth control pills and start taking specific medications and herbal supplements recommended by your doctor. These supplements and medications help promote milk production and prepare your body for breastfeeding.
  • Initiating Pumping: Once you have stopped taking hormones and started the milk-producing medications, you will begin pumping. Initially, you will pump for short durations and gradually increase the frequency and duration as your milk supply develops. Following induced lactation protocols, your production should increase progressively as you prepare for your baby's arrival.
  • Nursing and Supplementing: Although it is possible to induce lactation, most intended mothers will not produce enough milk to fully sustain their baby. To ensure your baby receives adequate nutrition, many mothers use a supplemental nursing system (SNS). This system combines your own milk with supplemental milk, such as donated breast milk, the surrogate's breast milk, milk you've previously pumped, or formula. By using the SNS, your baby receives both the milk you are producing and the supplemental milk, fostering the important bond of breastfeeding.

It is important to note that every woman's breastfeeding experience is unique, and success may vary based on individual factors. Breastfeeding, especially through induced lactation, may not be feasible for everyone. It is essential to be patient, seek guidance from your doctor or a lactation consultant, and remember that the journey may have its challenges.

Using the Surrogate's Breastmilk

For intended family who are unable to induce lactation or choose not to do so, another option is to use the surrogate's breast donor milk. Many surrogates are willing to pump and provide breast donor milk for up to six weeks following the birth of the baby. This breast milk can be fed to the baby using a bottle or the supplemental nursing system (SNS), allowing the infant to receive the benefits of breast milk regardless of the intended mother's decision to breastfeed.

It is crucial to discuss the use of the surrogate's breast milk and include it in your legal contract before the embryo transfer. Compensation for the surrogate's extended commitment should also be outlined in the contract. Surrogates who choose to pump dedicate a significant amount of time and effort, and it is important to acknowledge and appreciate their contribution. For more details on surrogacy and its intricacies, visit here.

Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding a Surrogate-Born Baby

Breastfeeding offers numerous benefits for both the baby and the mother. However, breastfeeding a surrogate-born baby presents unique advantages and challenges. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider:

Pros of Breastfeeding a Surrogate-Born Baby

  • Health Benefits: Breastfeeding provides various health benefits for newborns, including a reduced risk of ear infections, asthma, and childhood obesity. It may also offer advantages for the mother, such as a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Bonding and Attachment: Breastfeeding promotes bonding and attachment between the mother and the baby. This physical contact and nurturing experience can be particularly meaningful for intended mothers who were unable to carry the pregnancy.
  • Convenience: Breastfeeding can be more convenient than bottle-feeding, as it eliminates the need to prepare bottles and carry formula when leaving the house.

Cons of Breastfeeding a Surrogate-Born Baby

  • Time and Energy Commitment: Breastfeeding requires a significant commitment of time and energy, especially for intended mothers who need to induce lactation and use supplemental nursing systems. Nursing mothers often feed their babies 10-12 times per day, which can be demanding.
  • Learning Curve: Both new mothers and babies face a learning curve when it comes to breastfeeding. Intended mothers may encounter additional challenges in inducing lactation and using supplemental nursing systems.
  • Convenience Challenges: Most intended mothers will not produce enough milk to exclusively breastfeed their baby. The use of supplemental nursing systems can make breastfeeding less convenient, especially in public settings.

It is important to remember that each woman's breastfeeding journey is unique, and the decision to breastfeed is a personal one. Consider your individual circumstances, consult with healthcare professionals, and choose what you believe is best for yourself and your baby. For a broader perspective on surrogacy, visit here.

Future Directions and Recommendations

As we navigate the complex landscape of breastfeeding in surrogacy arrangements, it becomes evident that advancements in technology, follow-up studies, and supportive systems can significantly impact the experiences of all parties involved. Looking forward, several avenues present themselves for further exploration and improvement.

Advancements in Breastfeeding Technology for Surrogacy Scenarios

The rapid evolution of medical technology offers promising prospects for enhancing breastfeeding experiences in surrogacy situations. Researchers are exploring innovative methods to facilitate the breastfeeding process for surrogate-born infants. This includes the development of specialized equipment that enables intended mothers to simulate breastfeeding through mechanisms such as nipple stimulation and milk expression. Additionally, advancements in lactation induction techniques hold the potential to increase milk production in surrogate mothers, creating a more seamless transition for the newborns.

Creating an Inclusive and Supportive Environment

The future of breastfeeding in surrogacy arrangements hinges on creating a supportive and inclusive environment. Healthcare institutions and support organizations should be proactive in providing comprehensive counseling and guidance for surrogate mothers. These programs can address the unique emotional and physical challenges these women may face and offer tailored strategies to encourage successful breastfeeding experiences. By promoting open communication and fostering a sense of community among surrogate mothers, intended family, and medical professionals, we can help alleviate anxieties and foster healthier bonding experiences.

Long-Term Follow-up Studies

Given the relative novelty of combining surrogacy and breastfeeding, conducting long-term follow-up studies is crucial. Research that tracks the physical, emotional, and psychological development of surrogate-born children, as well as the experiences of surrogate mothers and intended parents, can provide valuable insights. These studies can shed light on the potential benefits of breastfeeding in surrogacy, the lasting impacts on child-mother relationships, and the overall well-being of all parties involved.

Resources for Intended Parents 

Breastfeeding a surrogate-born child can be a fulfilling experience that nurtures the baby's health and strengthens the mother-child bond. If you're keen on this path, engage early with your doctor and surrogacy expert. They can guide you on lactation induction and connect you with willing surrogates. For more insights on surrogacy, explore here and here.


Breastfeeding a surrogate-born baby is an option that allows intended mothers to experience the joys and benefits of breastfeeding, even without going through a pregnancy. Whether through induced lactation or using the surrogate's breast milk, the bonding and nurturing experience of breastfeeding can be cherished by both the mother and the baby. As you embark on this journey, consult with your doctor, engage with support networks, and make the decision that feels right for you and your baby. Remember, every breastfeeding experience is unique, and your love and care for your child are what truly matter.

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Under Ukrainian law, surrogacy is a legal affordable option for traditionally married couples to have children using their own embryos, or with either an egg or sperm donor. There must be a medical reason you can’t carry a child. You are also able to participate if you have had 4 unsuccessful IVF attempts.


Under Ukrainian law, surrogacy is a legal affordable option for traditionally married couples to have children using their own embryos, or with either an egg or sperm donor. There must be a medical reason you can’t carry a child. You are also able to participate if you have had 4 unsuccessful IVF attempts.