Couples unable to start or grow a family because of the inability to conceive experience heartbreak that few can fully comprehend. In 2010, The Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Memorial developed a groundbreaking surrogate program to help people become families when they can’t conceive on their own.
Bonding at Birth
One of the program’s newest and most talked about features: the Jane L. Frederick, MD, Bonding Room for legally intended parents and their new babies. Generously funded by reproductive endocrinologist Jane Frederick, MD, FACOG, the room is designed for homelike comfort and contains sleeper chairs, a private bathroom, a wood bassinet, and nature-inspired art.
“We created a quiet, private place for these couples to experience the joy of childbirth in much the same way any expectant parent would,” says Dr. Frederick. “Now they, too, have a place to spend the night, have a pediatrician evaluate their newborn, receive infant care instructions from nurses and bond with their babies.”
Total Team Coverage
Last year the Saddleback Memorial surrogacy program celebrated 15 deliveries, nearly double from the year prior. Many couples come from
abroad, drawn by California’s supportive laws, Dr. Frederick’s reputation as a surrogacy expert, and world-class obstetrics and newborn care.
“Surrogate pregnancies may involve twins and be higher risk, requiring increased surveillance,” says perinatologist Michael Haydon, MD,
medical director for The Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Memorial. “Integrating perinatal care, on-site labor and delivery specialists, an
on-site level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and dedicated neonatologists – all accessible 24/7 – enables us to manage every aspect of surrogate, and other, higher-risk situations.”
“Our obstetrics team maintains constant communication with the NICU during these special deliveries to ensure we’re ready to provide advanced care, should the need arise,” says neonatologist Ronald Naglie, MD, medical director of the NICU and newborn services. “Having this type of care available on-site gives surrogates and intended parents peace of mind because they know everyone is in good hands.”
In keeping with Saddleback Memorial’s patient- and family-centered care, the entire childbirth team is highly sensitive to the special needs of surrogates and legally intended families. New parents often forge lasting friendships with their Saddleback Memorial caregivers.
“So many of these legally intended parents never thought they could have children,” says Dr. Frederick.
“When you see the tears flowing as they hold their tiny bundle of joy, you know we’ve delivered a miracle.”