Surrogacy is truly rewarding and unique, as the act dramatically alters the lives of the intended parents and the surrogate herself. However, as surrogacy is a complex form of third-party reproduction, misinformation and falsehoods can be spread. Below, we’ve tackled some of the more common myths and stereotypical claims surrounding surrogacy.
Myth #1: The Surrogate Is the Baby’s Real Mother
Historically, before the advent of in vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy could only be done by inseminating the surrogate. Known as traditional surrogacy, this resulted in the surrogate technically being the baby’s biological mother. However, because of IVF, gestational surrogacy has become the leading surrogacy technique. In this form of surrogacy, there’s no genetically-maternal connection between the surrogate and the baby. Instead, eggs and sperm, whether from the intended parents or donors, are combined together in a laboratory; the fertilized egg is implanted into the surrogate’s uterus. In gestational surrogacy, surrogates are not allowed to be the egg donor.
Myth #2: The Surrogate Will Try to Keep the Baby
While a common fear among intended parents, this is simply not true. The majority of fertility clinics request that both the intended parents and the surrogate and her partner first undergo a psychological evaluation before entering into an agreement. If this evaluation is not required, it should be considered for inclusion. All involved parties must work with a reproductive law attorney. They’ll help to educate everyone about your state’s surrogacy laws and confirm if the intended parents will be recognized for the child’s parentage.
You should also know that, while your surrogate and baby will be physically together throughout the pregnancy, the surrogate is already well aware that she is not the parent or will have legal rights to the child. In addition, to even qualify as a surrogate, a woman must already have her own family and children. This is a leading reason why women consider surrogacy, as they want others to experience the love they feel for their own children. Another important point to remember is that surrogates often report that their surrogate pregnancies feel vastly different from the pregnancies in which they carried their own children.
Myth #3: Intended Parents Can’t Bond With Their Babies Via Surrogacy
Many intended parents worry that they won’t be able to bond with their babies born via surrogacy. This can be especially challenging for women who are unable to conceive without surrogacy.
However, the truth is that, whether you give birth to your child or a surrogate does, the bonding process can be highly complex and unexpected. Even parents who have had a child the traditional way can struggle to bond with a newborn baby. Making a family isn’t a simple set of steps – it’s an ongoing process and daily learning experience. It’s important to allow yourself grace during the surrogate’s pregnancy and after the baby is born. It’s natural to worry, but try to go easy on yourself and remember that you’ve done everything you can to bring a child into the world.
A lot of the bonding process happens once the baby is born. Getting to hold your little one and making skin-to-skin contact for the first time is a major milestone for intended parents.
Myth #4: Surrogates Are Being Taken Advantage Of
Because the act of carrying and delivering a child for someone else is such a monumental and selfless undertaking, some critics of surrogacy worry that surrogates are being taken advantage of. Despite this misconception, surrogacy is typically practiced in a highly ethical fashion, especially when working with a reputable surrogacy agency. Everyone involved in the surrogacy journey, including agency case workers, doctors, attorneys, counselors, and more, are singularly focused on making sure the rights and safety of all parties are protected. Some states have specific requirements built into their surrogacy laws to ensure that surrogates are protected and respected as autonomous individuals.
Myth #5: Surrogacy Is Only For People Who Want to Avoid Pregnancy
Although surrogacy is sometimes chosen for personal, non-medical reasons, this isn’t the case for the vast majority of intended parents. Most of the time, surrogacy is the last or only option for intended parents to have a biologically related child. For same-sex male couples, for example, surrogacy is the only way for them to have biological children. For individuals and couples who are facing infertility, turning to surrogacy is often the last option after all other attempts at conception have failed or proven unsafe.
Learn the Facts About Surrogacy
Surrogacy is admittedly complex, and it’s no surprise that there are a seemingly endless number of myths and misconceptions that surround it. However, surrogacy is also an incredible way to create or grow a family. If you are interested in learning more about the facts and realities of surrogacy, either as an intended parent or a potential surrogate, we encourage you to connect with Reproductive Possibilities today.