What’s the best way to tell someone you’re pregnant – when it’s not your baby? That’s a scenario surrogates encounter all the time. The answer, of course, is that there’s no one right way. The best thing to do is be honest, be educated, and be prepared to answer a lot of questions!
These are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about surrogacy, and they can go a long way in explaining surrogacy to family and friends.
Believe it or not, people have utilized surrogacy to overcome infertility for centuries. A surrogate mother carries a baby for intended parents who are unable to have a child. It’s a truly noble and generous act, helping to create a family that might not otherwise be possible, and it benefits the surrogate and her family too.
There are two common types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy, where the surrogate’s egg is combined with the intended father’s or a donor’s sperm, and gestational surrogacy, where a gestational carrier gives birth to a child created with the intended mother’s or a donor’s eggs.
Not in gestational surrogacy. The child is biologically related only to the intended parents or to an egg or sperm donor. Thanks to assisted reproductive technology, gestational surrogates can carry the baby without any genetic link. Today, surrogacy arrangements are almost exclusively completed with gestational surrogates.
No. Surrogacy contracts are drafted and signed specifically for the protection of all parties involved. Over the past three decades in the U.S., there have been approximately 23,000 surrogacy agreements made through reputable agencies. Studies show that out of those, less than 30 surrogate mothers have tried to challenge the intended parents’ rights to the child – that’s less than one-tenth of 1%. Because of solid surrogacy contracts, most of these cases didn’t even get as far as a courtroom, and most were the result of a friend or family member as the surrogate mother.
The fact is, a surrogate who is doing it for the right motivation is not interested in keeping the baby. The goal is to help a family have a baby of their own. A reputable agency will review medical records and conduct extensive screening to ensure the surrogate is healthy enough – physically and mentally – to complete the process.
This is especially important for partners, friends, and family – your support system, the people you count on when you need help and when you have something to celebrate. Their first concern, of course, will likely be your health and safety. It’s important to consider the psychological aspects of surrogacy; it can be a taxing process both physically and emotionally. It will help people within your support system to know that you’ve done your research and are teaming up with an agency that also has your best interest in mind. Aside from their support, you’ll also have regular support group meetings with other surrogates and a network of people who are there to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Remember that the commitment to surrogacy extends to your partner; it’s important that their questions and concerns are also addressed so that your family can both fully support and also be supported throughout the experience.
Ultimately, surrogacy is a selfless, generous gift. While it may take some patience, most people in your life will come to respect your choice when they understand how surrogacy works and how confident you are in your decision. If you’re ready to embark on this incredible journey, please contact us to get started!
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.