Prudence: Father is bounced from baby's birth

  • Article by: EMILY YOFFE , Slate
  • Updated: December 19, 2012 - 2:35 PM

Dear Prudence: My husband and I are happily married and expecting, but due to my fertility issues and my husband's desire for a biological child, we ended up choosing a wonderful surrogate mother who is now almost eight months along. She has been an absolute dream and has been very considerate of us, but now that it's almost time for the delivery she has made a request: She has asked for a women-only delivery room as it will be more comfortable for her. My husband is beyond upset, seeing how much he wanted this (I was OK with adoption, and we still plan to adopt in the future), he financially supported her and the pregnancy and it is his biological child. I can understand making her as comfortable as possible during this time, but I can also sympathize with my husband's desire to be a part of the event, rather than waiting outside. What should I do?

Prudence says: This is the sort of thing that should have been sorted out contractually before your surrogate became pregnant. But your husband is fixating on a not very important issue and you don't want what has been a lovely relationship to degenerate into recriminations on the eve of her presenting you with your child.

I think you should tell your husband you totally understand his desire, and you will try to be the go-between, but if your surrogate doesn't want a man who's not a doctor, or not related to her, in the room, you can't force her to change her mind. Tell him right now it's easy to get fixated on the moment of birth, but parenthood will actually begin when you take your bundle home.

When you talk to your surrogate tell her that it would mean a lot to both you and your husband if you could both be there for the birth. You could say he could sit quietly in a corner until the baby is born if that would make her more comfortable. If it's a no go, then work on convincing your husband that seeing your child when he or she is cleaned up and swaddled will not mean he's missing anything in the grand scheme of parenthood. And maybe the surrogate would allow some more or less discreet filming of the big event, if that would mollify the new father.

Please send your questions for publication to prudence@slate.com.
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