Social changes usually comes gradually, but sometimes it comes quickly. The night that Coco was born, we were surprised to be asked to leave the hospital when visiting hours ended. We were initially told that we would be allowed to stay, provided a room was available. While disappointing at the time, our incident appears to have raised the awareness of how unfair the hospital's surrogacy policy is. The family of the surrogate was allowed to stay overnight, but the intended parents were not, while the newborn sat alone in the nursery on the first night of its life. There was a very strong reaction to our letter and we were assured that the policy had indeed changed.
For those of you going through the surrogacy process, this is an important thing to talk through with the hospital before the birth. If the overnight policy is not in writing, it is subject to the discretion of whoever is on duty that night in the Labor and Delivery wing.
Mr. Greg Angle
President and CEO
Los Robles Regional Medical Center
215 West Janss Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360-1847
Dear Mr. Angle,
I am writing to bring to your attention some unfortunate practices that occurred at Los Robles during the birth of our daughter, Coco Lee Fraley Self on February 4, 2010 that led to a negative impression of your facility.
A few hours after our surrogate, Kira Sanders, gave birth to our daughter Coco, my husband and I, her legal parents and the only people who had a band to remove her from the nursery, were told to leave the hospital. A member of the hospital administration stopped by the following day attempt to explain the policies of the hospital, but it was clear that there were a number of loopholes and inconsistencies in the policies and practices of the hospital. I am writing to understand if any progress has been made to clarify those practices.
When we had our initial interview with the hospital staff, it was clear that we could not be guaranteed a room to spend the night, but that they would allow us to stay in an extra room if it were available. We had been assigned a room before we were asked to leave around 10 pm on February 4, 2010 and that room was still empty when we returned at 6:30 am the following morning. The hospital administrator who stopped by the morning of February 5th told us that we were not allowed to stay overnight because we were not registered patients. Ironically, our surrogate’s husband was invited to stay.
We understand that our situation is not typical. The execution of a very clear policy of overnight visitation rights would remove the possibility of prejudice or discrimination, and avoid turning a moment that should be one of the most beautiful moments in a parents’ life, into feeling as though we are second class parents.
I would be happy to meet with you or one of your staff to discuss this matter further. We are expecting to have a baby on or about May 8th under the same circumstances. We are hoping to use your facilities and it would be helpful to hear if this procedure has been clarified.