Happy (early) Grandparents Day! The role a grandparent plays in the life of their children and grandchildren is indispensible. Comfort, joy, security, and peace — these are all things a grandparent can provide in a unique way.
And for this year’s Grandparents Day on Sunday, we want to specifically speak to those with grandchildren who became a part of the family through the surrogacy process, or who will soon be a part of the family through this journey.
We know — surrogacy can be a bit confusing. You’re probably wondering how it all works, and if there’s anything different you need to do to be the best grandparent possible.
We’re sure you are going to be a great grandparent, especially once you have an even better understanding of surrogacy. So, without further ado, here are seven things every grandparent needs to know about surrogacy.
Your children considered all their options.
Is your child in the process of becoming a parent through surrogacy? It may seem like an odd choice. You may not really “get it.” What about adoption? Or foster care?
It’s completely understandable to have questions. However, you should be aware that asking could sound like an accusation or disapproval.
Anyone starting the surrogacy process has thoroughly considered all of their options. If this is what your child has chosen, then they did it intentionally. Rather than question (even with good intentions), it’s best to stick to support and encouragement.
There’s a difference between questioning the process and asking questions about the process.
With that said, we don’t want to stifle your curiosity! It’s expected that you’d have questions about how surrogacy works. This is different than questioning the method itself.
It’s okay to ask about the process. This shows your interest and makes it clear that you are going to be invested.
Your grandchild could be biologically related to you.
There are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. The vast majority of modern surrogacies are gestational. That means both the egg and sperm are combined through IVF, and the surrogate’s eggs are not used in the process. The surrogate is not biologically related to the child.
Some intended parents turn to donors for viable sperm and eggs. Others are able to use their own. This means that in a gestational surrogacy, your grandchild could have a biological connection to you. Either way, though, they are still your grandchild!
The surrogacy process can be challenging.
Intended parents have to work through a lot of complicated emotions and endure long periods of waiting during the process. It can be difficult. Reach out and check on them — offer to make dinners, host a movie night, or really anything that could pick them up.
The surrogate is an important piece of the journey, both then and now.
The surrogate is on the other side of the surrogacy process from the intended parents. It may be an awkward relationship to think about, but she is an important piece of the process and could remain a part of the family’s life moving forward. Consider how you can be kind and welcoming to her during (and after) this process.
Your grandchild should hear their surrogacy story.
You know those old tropes about keeping adoption secret, like it’s something to be ashamed of? You’ve probably seen it in movies and TV shows. Well, it’s completely wrong. And just like adoption stories, surrogacy stories are something to be shared early and often.
The parents take on the primary responsibility of teaching their child about their surrogacy story. When you are grandparents of a child via surrogacy, ask the parents how you can help. They may have good books to read at bedtime when the kids stay over, or helpful answers for questions they’ve been asking lately. Try to familiarize yourself with talking about surrogacy, especially at age-appropriate levels.
You have a lot to be proud of.
Your children made a brave decision to pursue surrogacy. They chose the best route for them to fulfill their dreams of becoming parents. It took dedication and strength, as they faced plenty of frustrations and challenges along the way.
Whether you are grandparents already or grandparents-to-be, you have a lot to be proud of. That’s something to be thankful for on this Grandparents Day.