The decision to become a gestational surrogate is not one that you’ve made lightly. You researched the process carefully, learned fact from popular fiction, considered how this journey may affect you and your family — and then ultimately decided that this was something you wanted and were ready to take on.
But what if, now that you’re excited and in the midst of your journey as a gestational surrogate, your extended family members are less-than-supportive? Your immediate family and friends will all hopefully be instantly excited for you, but sometimes people need a little education about surrogacy before they feel comfortable with the idea. This is especially true for people who aren’t very familiar with “nontraditional” methods of family-building.
Here’s our advice for handling unsupportive extended family members when you’re a surrogate:
1. Give Them More Education
A lot of the fear and concern that people have about surrogacy stems from a lack of knowledge. Your family member may not understand how certain aspects of surrogacy will work for you — so walk them through it.
Let them ask questions, and be ready to offer answers. If you need some help, explore our website for information to provide to them. Their reluctance to accept surrogacy may just come from not fully understanding the process or because their existing knowledge is based on myth.
2. Reassure Them
They love you, and they’re probably worried for you! Pregnancy and fertility treatments always involve some risk, but explain to them how the careful screening process that agencies like American Surrogacy require ensures that surrogates like you are healthy enough and that the risks are as low as possible.
Surrogates are chosen because they’ve never had pregnancy complications before; they’ve had healthy, easy pregnancies every time. However, your family will probably still worry and wonder why you would put yourself in any kind of danger for the sake of someone else.
Which leads us to our next tip.
3. Explain Why This is Important to You
You wouldn’t be pursuing a path as a surrogate if this weren’t something that you really believed in and felt strongly about. Your family might not understand your motivations or why this means so much to you. Talking openly about why you want to help an intended family and why you’re inspired to be a surrogate may help others to share in your excitement and passion.
If you’re already matched with intended parents, it might help your family member if they hear a little about the parents — just be sure to be respectful of the intended parents’ privacy, of course. Picturing the baby living a wonderful life with his or her family, and knowing that you made that happen, can help your family member realize what an important thing it is that you’re doing!
4. Move Forward
Let your family member know how much you’d appreciate their support and positivity. But it’s also alright to let them know that you’re going to do what you think is right, regardless of their opinion.
It’s a requirement for every surrogate to have the support of her spouse and immediate family (if applicable), so their encouragement — in addition to the support of your American Surrogacy specialist — will be enough to get you through the ups and downs ahead.
If your extended family member still doesn’t support your surrogacy journey after you’ve shared your thoughts and feelings on the matter, it can be upsetting. But you should still move forward if this is something that really matters to you. As a surrogate, you’ll encounter far more people who will respond to you with positivity and support than the opposite.
Maybe, after the baby is born and your family member can see him or her happy and healthy with their parents, your family will understand what a beautiful thing you did. Regardless, you’ll have plenty of support and excitement from loved ones, even if there are a couple people raining on the parade!
If you’re having a hard time handling the lack of support from your extended family, or if you’re not sure how to talk to your extended family about your decision to become a surrogate, contact your American Surrogacy specialist at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).