At one point, we’ve all probably believed some pretty ridiculous things. Then, you listen, you learn, and your worldview opens up a little more.
It’s time to stop believing (and spreading) a few ridiculous things about surrogacy. Now is your opportunity to learn something new or to share your information with someone else!
Here are 7 things people still get wrong about surrogacy:
1. Women get rich by becoming surrogates.
She’s expected to submit to a series of tests and screening processes, take an intense regimen of fertility medications, complete more tests and medical procedures, carry a pregnancy and have a relationship with the intended parents. That’s all in addition to caring for her own children and managing her career, if she works outside the home.
The surrogacy process usually takes more than a year of a woman’s time, effort, dedication and physical work. She takes on risks and responsibility. Accepting some amount of compensation for that is reasonable.
That’s all after one important fact: Surrogates aren’t in this for any money they receive. Time and again, women say that the reason they became surrogates is because they wanted to help intended parents.
2. Surrogacy is illegal.
Well, yes and no.
Each state sets its own regulations for the surrogacy process. They often fall under one of these categories:
- Prohibit surrogacy
- Have no laws on surrogacy, which makes the process legal — but the process must be completed with experienced professionals to do so safely
- Outlaw certain types of surrogacy and are very welcoming of other types
- Have detailed surrogacy regulations, which keeps the process safer for everyone involved and makes the legal steps involved easier and more streamlined
The misconception lies in the belief that there is a blanket ban on surrogacy in the U.S., which simply isn’t true. While there are some states that are more surrogacy-friendly than others, experienced national agencies like American Surrogacy work to guide intended parents and gestational surrogates throughout the country safely through this process.
It’s always important to work with a surrogacy professional that’s able to navigate the variations in state laws. American Surrogacy can help.
3. Surrogates might keep the baby.
A gestational surrogate can’t legally keep the baby she carries — and she wouldn’t want to in the first place! The baby isn’t hers, in more ways than one.
In most states, a gestational surrogate doesn’t have legal parental rights, because the baby isn’t biologically hers. Laws vary by state, but in states where the woman who gives birth to the baby is presumed to be the mother, intended parents can often officially confirm their legal parental rights with documentation before the baby is even born. Additionally, in every surrogacy contract, intended parents legally agree that they must assume all parental rights and responsibilities of the baby after he or she is born, no matter what. So, before a surrogate is even pregnant, custody is usually locked in.
On to the second point: A surrogate isn’t interested in keeping the baby. She has her own children to care for, so she isn’t “after” the intended parents’! She understands what surrogacy is, and she’s only interested in “babysitting” the intended parents’ child in order to help them have the family they’ve been longing for. Remember: Every surrogate is psychologically screened beforehand to confirm that she shares this mindset.
4. Women should carry babies for their friends or family members.
When friends or family members enter into a surrogacy arrangement together, this is called “identified surrogacy.” This type of surrogacy can work out great in many situations, but it can also pose unique emotional challenges that are less likely to occur in a matched partnership.
As long as everyone involved is fully aware of potential hurdles before they begin, and each party has separate legal representation for the creation of their surrogacy contract — an absolute must, no matter how much you love and trust one another — then identified surrogacy can be a mutually positive experience.
However, identified surrogacy is not necessarily the preferred method over a matched partnership. It all depends on the preferences of the surrogate and the intended parents involved.
5. Surrogacy involves intercourse between the surrogate and the intended father.
Ok, here’s how this works:
An embryo is created through IVF in a lab using egg and sperm from the intended parents or donors. That embryo will eventually be transferred to the gestational carrier’s uterus in a fertility clinic with a doctor.
That’s how surrogates become pregnant — not in the “traditional” way.
6. Intended parents choose surrogacy to avoid being pregnant.
Most intended parents would give anything to be able to carry their child themselves. Choosing surrogacy often comes after a long grieving process, letting go of some old dreams and experiencing a lot of pain — sometimes physical as well as emotional.
Don’t ever believe that intended parents are just “getting out” of pregnancy. You don’t know what they’ve gone through to get where they are now.
7. Parents can’t bond with children born via surrogacy.
If parents need to give birth to their children in order to love and bond with them, then do you believe that families formed through adoption are also unable to establish these bonds? This is an absurd assumption that people make because they’ve never experienced anything other than traditional, genetic family connections.
Forming bonds with babies born via surrogacy, like adopted infants, can take some time and special care for some families. For others, the connection is instant. Either way, those bonds will form — no less strong or “real” than those of any other family.
You can learn more about the surrogacy process and receive information about becoming a gestational surrogate or intended parent by contacting American Surrogacy online or at 1-800-875-BABY