Gestational surrogacy is an incredible process. It is equal parts advanced medicine and the best aspects of humanity, and of course, the end result is a bouncing baby. What’s not to love about this scenario?
Well, it turns out most surrogates do encounter the occasional person who is not “sold" on the concept of surrogacy. These encounters can be a little shocking for a first-time surrogate, because as a person who feels called by surrogacy, you may feel a bit taken aback when you encounter folks who are not as enthusiastic about the idea.
In this post, we list out the six most common types of “Naysayers” a surrogate is likely to encounter and offer some suggestions on how to best deal with each.
A lack of understanding is at the root of this most common category of “naysayers.” Clairs do not actually object to surrogacy - they are just not familiar with the concept, and thus are not likely to give you a big congratulatory hug when you first mention your journey.
Best approach: Clairs are an easy crowd to deal with. Although you may be tempted to feel hurt by their blasé response to your surrogacy news, hold out a bit and give them time. Most Clairs become supportive and even excited once they are given time to digest the concept. Just don’t let their initial reaction faze you.
Norm is a great guy, but his understanding of science and medicine (specifically, IVF and surrogacy) are from another time. Norm’s “opposition” to surrogacy stems more from his outdated understandings than from a place of real dissent. When Norm hears “surrogacy,” he assumes “traditional surrogacy” and not “gestational surrogacy.” Norm doesn’t understand that you will have no genetic connection with the child you carry as a surrogate, thus inspiring Norm to ask the most cliché of all “naysayer“ comments: “How could you ever give up your baby?” Oh no, Norm!
Best approach: Start by appreciating that not everyone has kept up with the medical advancements of the past twenty years, the shift in language within the fertility community, nor the celebratory news involving surrogacy. Before announcing to Norm that you are a surrogate, consider taking a few steps back to distinguish gestational and traditional surrogacy. Including explicit mentions of “the embryo transfer” at the “IVF clinic” may help Norm better appreciate that not only is there no genetic link, there is also no hanky-panky involved. These two details would have bothered Norm, but once they are cleared up, he will be a lot less likely to rain on your parade.
Cathys are without a doubt the kindest bunch in the group. They are not so much “naysayers” as worriers, and of course, they worry because they care about you. They want what is best for you and they are not excited about anything that puts your health or your family’s well-being on the line.
Best approach: We recommend directing Concerned Cathys to ConceiveAbilities’ website so that they can get a feel for the legitimacy of our agency and perhaps begin to familiarize themselves with the process. If, after some research, your Cathy is still against your journey, then consider addressing each concern individually.
Below are resources addressing some of the most common concerns Cathys have:
Unlike any other group in this lineup, your partner's acceptance and “buy-in” to the process are musts. This is why we have dedicated an entire post to hesitant husbands.
We hardly want to demonize grandparents for wanting more grand-babies, but be aware that your parents or in-laws may initially express their desire for you to continue building your own family before committing to a surrogacy journey.
Best approach: If you have already been matched with your Intended Parents, consider sharing with your parents a bit about their story. People who want more grandkids will likely appreciate the incredible gift you are giving once the “recipients” of the gift are fleshed out a bit more.
To be clear - adoption is, without a doubt, an incredible gift and it is one of several family building options of which we, at ConceiveAbilities, are a huge fan.
All the same, occasionally our surrogates are confronted by people who feel that adoption is the only acceptable non-traditional means of building a family. Although these people may have the best of intentions, their statements indicate an unsophisticated understanding of the realities of both surrogacy and adoption. There are tons of financial, legal, timing, interpersonal, and medical considerations involved in strategizing one’s own family.
Best approach: Don’t let these comments get to you. If you want to advocate for surrogacy and the right to have a genetic connection with your child, then go for it, but this may not be water worth wading into.
This is one of our least favorite types of naysayers- Noahs feel like they have a divine understanding of what is acceptable and what is not. They insist that the advancements made in family building equate to “playing god.”
Best approach: If you are up for a cheeky response, ask these Noahs if they take antibiotics when they get sick or believe that getting a flu shot is alright. Suggesting that they evaluate where their boundaries with modern medicine lie may inspire them to rethink their original statement.
Read about religious aspects of surrogacy here.
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.