Surrogacy is no easy feat. Allowing yourself to conceive and carry a baby you're not genetically related to for 9 whole months requires compassion on an otherworldly level.
To top it off, knowing all the morning sickness, mood swings, bloating, flatulence at the most inappropriate times, swollen feet, never-ending exhaustion and everything in between, will not culminate into a tiny little human you can call your own is emotionally difficult, as well.
Yet the number of women opting to become gestational carriers is at an all time high. One reason behind the surge is the increase in infertility numbers owing to a number of lifestyle and behavioral shifts, as well as environmental factors.
Another important factor to consider is the gradual but promising legalization of same sex marriages by a growing number of countries that is encouraging LGBTQ couples to consider surrogacy options for family-building.
With this increase in demand, more and more young women are warming up to the idea of helping infertile or same sex couples realize their dreams of parenthood through gestational surrogacy.
However, there's some misconceptions about the whole process that need to be addressed and debunked.
1. It's easy money
In all honesty I did not want to phrase it so crudely but in reality, people who have these false assumptions about surrogacy use even lesser considerate tones when talking about it.
This is probably the most frequently cited and also the most misguided assumption some people have about surrogacy. Sure, surrogates are compensated for the service they provide but aren't we all? These women are putting a ton of things at risk when they choose to be a surrogate - they most likely have to take a break from work, sacrifice precious family-time for doctor visits, as well as let their bodies go through the labor of pregnancy only to help another family. You bet they deserve to be compensated for all that.
2. Surrogates may find it difficult to give up the baby
With the recent advances made in surrogacy laws and legal arrangements governing surrogacy contracts, it is extremely unlikely for a surrogate to just change her mind on a whim and decide to “keep the baby”. No, it just doesn’t work that way. In fact, in many countries and states in the US, pre-birth orders are the norm for surrogacy contracts where a court-issued order is acquired before the birth of a surrogate child. It enables the IPs to have their names listed as the legal parents of the child on the birth certificate prior to the birth of the child.
3. Surrogates lose control over their body during the pregnancy
Again, huge misconception. A surrogate stays in control of her body at all times during the pregnancy. In fact, before the surrogacy contract is brought into effect, the surrogacy agency makes sure that both the surrogate and the Intended Parents fully discuss all eventualities, including sensitive topics such as abortion and selective reduction, so that the surrogate enters the contract completely aware of the expectations from her.
4. The baby has a genetic relationship with the surrogate
Traditional surrogacy, where the gestational carrier would use her own egg for the pregnancy is almost extinct today given the complications it leads to. When we talk about commercial surrogacy, it is gestational surrogacy that we are referring to majority of the time. In gestational surrogacy, the carrier or surrogate has no genetic connection to the unborn child and she merely carries the pregnancy to term using either the intended mother's eggs or donor eggs.
5. Parents who hire surrogates just don't want to deal with stress of carrying a pregnancy themselves
With the rise in infertility numbers and legalization of same sex marriages across a vast number of countries, surrogacy is simply gaining more momentum because of what it promises: the hope of building your biological family where none existed. For instance, recently a cancer survivor’s dream of motherhood was brought to life thanks to a compassionate gestational carrier who successfully carried the baby for her. Kristen was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her cancer was estrogen receptor positive. That meant Kristen couldn’t do what she desperately wanted to do - have a baby. Because of her surrogate, Ashley Torres, Kristen and husband John are now the proud parents of their own biological child, something they had lost all hope for after Kristen’s diagnosis.
It’s heartwarming stories like these that should serve as hallmarks of surrogacy and not misplaced, false assumptions based on hearsay and “fake news” off of the interwebs.
Surrogacy is a beautiful, selfless act of absolute kindness and compassion that has helped millions of families across the world experience the joys of parenthood.