When it comes to infertility awareness, we generally think about educating lawmakers, physicians, insurance companies, and the adult population at large. The people we don’t often consider? Children. And it’s interesting, considering this generation is among the very first to be brought up among peers that were born with the assistance of ART. The fact that families are being built in more diverse ways than ever before, it seems natural that children are among some of the most open-minded and empathetic to things like gestational surrogacy.
“My kids were so excited when I brought it up to them,” a ConceiveAbilities surrogates said. “It was everyone else we had to explain to.” A recent study from the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Family Research showed that the psychological wellbeing of a surrogate’s child is not negatively affected. Sixteen children were part of the study and, and twelve said that they openly discussed surrogacy with their friends and had generally positive responses. One of our Chicago area surrogates witnessed this as well. “I have heard my daughter telling others that I did it and from what I saw, she only received positive comments.” She added that both of her children, ages 8 and 16, “seemed rather unaffected by the whole journey.”
Researcher Susan Imrie noted that, in their study, “So far, all children interviewed have a positive view of surrogacy and their mother’s involvement.”
Another Chicago surrogate with ConceiveAbilities agreed. “The affect on my girls has been nothing but positive,” she said of her 9 and 13-year-old daughters.
Not all surrogates experience the same positive reactions. One surrogate noted that while her children were excited about the process, “I wish I could say the same about my parents. I guess it is a culture problem.”
That seems to be the universal response from our surrogates. While they have the full, unconditional support from their children and partners, any resistance they meet has come from other adults. While of course it can be a personal ethical issue from some, it is often a lack of understanding. Only in recent years has the delicate issue of infertility been brought out of the doctor’s office and into the public conscious, which is why education - and patience - is key.
And yet for children, the concept seems clear: it’s natural to want to have a family. And it’s only natural to want to help someone who is struggling to make it happen.
“They are so proud of what I am doing,” one surrogate said of her children. “My 13-year-old had to write a persuasive essay for her Language Arts class and has decided to write on surrogacy. She nearly brought me to tears when she told me. My 9-year-old is excited and couldn’t wait to tell everyone she knows. She rubs my belly every chance she gets and says that one day she wants to be a surrogate. It makes me incredibly happy to have my children look up to me and be so proud. What more could a mom ask for?”
With such positive attitudes about all the ways to build a family, it gives us hope that awareness is starting early and will continue to grow.
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.