For many people, surrogacy is an exciting new family-building process that they don’t know a lot about. Intended parents going through the surrogacy process, therefore, find themselves in educator roles as their friends, family and acquaintances want to learn more about this family-building journey.
Unfortunately, some of the questions and comments from those unfamiliar with surrogacy can be insensitive or even rude and, as an intended parent, you’ve likely heard them more than once. We know these comments can be frustrating and annoying, so we’ve compiled them here for you to share with family and friends — and help them understand exactly what not to say to you and other hopeful parents in your situation.
1. “Aren’t you worried the surrogate will want to keep the baby?”
Because many people don’t understand how surrogacy works, intended parents get this question a lot. Surrogacy is not like adoption; it’s a legal contract that binds a surrogate and intended parents to certain expectations. If you’re in the midst of a surrogate pregnancy, your surrogate choosing to keep the baby isn’t even an option — and this question doesn’t even apply. You and your surrogate both know that she’s only “babysitting” your child for you, and she’s just as excited as you are to help create your family.
2. “You’re so lucky — you can keep your figure if you don’t get pregnant!”
Like many intended parents, you would give anything to be able to carry your child on your own. Missing out on the pregnancy experience isn’t a happy joke; it’s something that you wish you had every day. This comment can be the most hurtful of them all, as it usually comes from those who have never experienced infertility and don’t understand the feelings you’ve gone through before deciding on surrogacy.
3. “How much are you paying your surrogate?”
Finances are never anyone else’s business but for some reason, when you’re building a family in a non-traditional way, people feel like it’s okay to ask you about the cost involved. The only people who are privy to this information are you, your surrogate and your adoption professional — and people should know that.
4. “How do you know you can trust your surrogate?”
You and your surrogate have a special relationship; after all, this woman is sacrificing her time and body to help you become the parent you’ve always dreamed of being. For someone to tarnish that by questioning her should offend you. Never mind all of the physical and mental screening your surrogate went through before matching with you — you chose her and that should be enough of a seal of approval.
5. “Who is the baby’s real mother?”
For some reason, some people don’t put two and two together to realize that IVF is involved in surrogacy. Just because intended mothers aren’t the ones carrying their child doesn’t mean they’re any less of a mother to their baby.
In cases of egg donation with a male same-sex couple, people are also curious about whom the egg donor was. That’s only between the intended fathers and their child. Being our friend or family member doesn’t automatically obligate you to this information until we’re ready to share it.
6. “Whose sperm are you using?”
On the same note, when two gay men have a child via surrogacy together, people always want to know who the “real” father is. Why should it matter? Both fathers are going to love and support their child, no matter which one shares DNA with their baby. Unless we willingly share our baby’s genetic makeup with you, take a hint and don’t ask us about it.
7. “There are so many waiting children out there. Why didn’t you just adopt?”
People always have their thoughts on what kind of family-building process an infertile couple should pursue but — let’s say it again for those in the back — it’s none of their business. You could ask the same question of all those parents who easily had children naturally. The fact is not all family-building processes work for everyone, and you only decided on surrogacy once you were sure it was the right choice for your family.
As surrogacy continues to become a more popular way of building a family, it’s likely that more and more people will be educated about the intricacies and emotions of the process — but we can still bet there will be one or two people who ask the questions all intended parents are tired of hearing. Remember, if you’re having trouble addressing these comments or feel overwhelmed by the emotions they’re bringing up, you can always speak to your experienced surrogacy specialist or other intended parents who have been through the same thing.
What do you think: Have you heard all of these? Are there any we missed? Comment below to let us know!