When it comes to discussions of the surrogacy process, we’ve heard it all before:
“Intended mothers pay someone else to carry their child for them because they don’t want to mess up their body. They’re so vain and materialistic.”
As all surrogacy professionals know, surrogacy is often a last resort for intended mothers who want a biological child. Yes, pregnancy is hard, and it can have dire effects on your body — but ask any intended mother, and she’ll be the first to tell you she would give anything to carry her child herself.
So, we’re here to clear the myth of intended mothers who use surrogacy to avoid pregnancy. Intended mothers aren’t celebrities paying someone for pregnancy so they can keep their own bodies in good shape; they are everyday people like you who, for one reason or another, cannot carry a biological child on their own.
What are those reasons? We’re glad you asked.
The majority of intended mothers have attempted their own pregnancies before turning to surrogacy. In fact, many couples go through months and years of fertility treatments after unsuccessfully conceiving on their own. They may go through surgeries and other invasive treatments and procedures, all to no avail.
Some intended mothers receive a diagnosis explaining their fertility struggles. They may have a condition such as uterine fibroids or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Other women don’t even receive an answer; they go through many medical tests and treatments only to have unexplained infertility.
After experiencing so many miscarriages and failed transfers, an intended mother just wants a fertility treatment that can bring her a biological child. But, that’s not to say she completely forgets her desire to carry her own child. All intended mothers need to grieve the loss of the pregnancy experience before they can proceed with gestational surrogacy.
Dangerous Medical Conditions
Other intended mothers don’t even attempt pregnancy before choosing gestational surrogacy — but it’s not because they are lazy or want to avoid pregnancy for vanity reasons. Instead, they must avoid pregnancy to protect their health.
There are many chronic conditions that can be exacerbated by pregnancy and even put a woman in serious danger. For example, women who have type 1 diabetes put themselves at risk for preeclampsia, insulin resistance, hypoglycemia and other life-threatening conditions. Being pregnant can also exacerbate their diabetes complications for the rest of their life, not just during their pregnancy.
Many times, intended mothers with chronic conditions would love to carry their own children, but their doctors often recommend against it. It can be heartbreaking to give up this dream of pregnancy, but it’s more important for a child to have a healthy mother who can care for them throughout their life.
In other cases, women develop conditions during pregnancy that make carrying another child impossible. Take, for example, Kim Kardashian. After giving birth to two of her children, she developed placenta accreta, which made future labor and delivery difficult — and life-threatening. She was in the same position as many other intended mothers who choose surrogacy to protect their health and ensure they are around for their child’s future.
Tokophobia, or Fear of Pregnancy
It’s no secret that pregnancy and childbirth are strenuous and dangerous conditions. In fact, the majority of women in the world experience some degree of fear and anxiety about this experience, even when they are already pregnant.
Tokophobia, however, is the pathological fear of pregnancy and childbirth. Research indicates that 14 percent of women experience this fear, and it’s a rate that has been increasing in the last few decades.
Tokophobia can have serious effects on women. Like any phobia, it can be debilitating, and it can severely impact a woman’s mental health during a period where she should be as mentally and emotionally stable as possible. Tokophobia often involves feelings of dread, anxiety and depression, and it can cause women to have difficulty bonding with their children (both in utero and once they are born).
Some intended mothers experience this phobia, and it can actually be the reason they seek out surrogacy. They may be excited to become mothers but are not confident in their ability to safely and responsibly carry a child to term. Mental conditions such as phobias are not to be taken lightly, and an intended mother may pursue surrogacy to give herself the best chance at being the mother she wants to be.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s nothing to judge. Every person has the right to create their family in the way that is best for them. The only ones this decision should concern are the parents involved.
Here at American Surrogacy, we know intended mothers come to our program for many reasons. We never judge them. We are dedicated to helping parents build their family in their desired way, whatever their motivations for doing so. We are happy to work with intended parents — fathers and mothers — from many different circumstances, and we can help you, too.
If you are considering surrogacy for any reason, give our specialists a call at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or contact us online. We will be happy to answer your questions and help you get started with the process ahead.