Becoming a gestational surrogate is a monumental decision. When you become a surrogate, it means that you will perform a remarkable act that will help create families and fulfill the dreams of those whose greatest wish is to become a parent. However, before you help someone else achieve their family-building goals, it’s crucial that you tend to your own family needs first.
If you have a partner, you first must make sure that you and your partner are on the same page about your decision to become a surrogate. Once you’ve reached an agreement, one of the next steps will be discussing the topic of surrogacy with your children. Pregnancy alone can be a tough concept for younger children to grasp; introducing the fact that the baby you are carrying is not your baby or their future sibling can be extra confusing.
How to Talk to Your Children About Becoming a Surrogate
Children are very adaptable, but as a parent, you’ll want to ensure that your children will be comfortable with the idea of you being a gestational surrogate. There are a couple of ways to approach these conversations that can make things a little easier for both you and your child.
Discussions Should Be Age-Appropriate
Tailoring an explanation of what surrogacy is and your role in the process to your child’s age is crucial. As a parent, you’ll already have a solid feel for the degree of information your child can conceptualize, but it can be helpful to break surrogacy down into its barest form, especially for younger children.
Basically, you want your child to understand that you will be carrying a baby but that someone else is the mommy and/or daddy. It’s important to be clear that the baby will not be your child’s sibling and that the baby will not live with you. At the same time, be sure to place emphasis on how this is a special way to help someone else become a mommy or daddy. If they have questions about your decision, answer them as straightforwardly as possible.
Timing Is Important
Once a gestational surrogate is matched with intended parents, the surrogacy process will begin in earnest. There will be a lot of medical appointments that need to be scheduled and, eventually, an embryo will be transferred into your uterus in hopes of achieving a pregnancy. Your child should already be aware of what is happening before this part of the process, even if you don’t talk about all the specific medical details. When it comes to talking to children about an actually confirmed pregnancy, many surrogates prefer to tell their children around the end of the first trimester, when there is a lower risk of losing the pregnancy.
Not sure how to say it? Here are some of the ways surrogates with Reproductive Possibilities have talked to their children about surrogacy.
Take Advantage of Available Resources
Today, there are many resources available for gestational surrogates, their families, as well as intended parents. If you’re having a hard time talking about your decision to become a surrogate with your child, consider turning to books for a little help. It may surprise you to learn that there are several surrogacy books for kids available that illustrate the surrogacy process through easy-to-understand storytelling.
Connect With Other Gestational Surrogates and Their Families
When in doubt, consider connecting with other women who have been surrogates in the past. Ask your surrogacy agency if they can connect you with women who have already successfully completed a surrogacy cycle. These women are an excellent resource and can provide advice and insights into all aspects of surrogacy, especially when it comes to managing the day-to-day details that impact your family. Their advice can help your children garner a greater understanding of surrogacy so that they can be supportive of your journey. As an alternative, you can also turn to online forums and support groups where current and former surrogates connect.
Ultimately, as a parent, your instincts will prove most useful when talking to your children about being a gestational surrogate. They may have questions and/or concerns, but as long as your child feels listened to and that their opinions are valued, the hard part of adjusting to your role in this journey is likely to run smoothly.
At Reproductive Possibilities, our team has guided hundreds of gestational surrogates through each step of the process, including familial support. We have resources available to ensure that you and your partner feel like part of a community, one which you can turn to as you navigate surrogacy with your family. To learn more about surrogacy with Reproductive Possibilities, contact us today.