Gestational surrogacy is one of several options for parents who are unable to have a baby the “traditional” way. Even though it’s been an established practice in the United States for decades, there are still many misconceptions about it. Here are several misconceptions about surrogate mothers, along with explanations as to why they are untrue:
- The surrogate mother will be biologically related to the baby.
It is a common misconception that when you use a surrogate mother, she will be biologically related to your child. This is only true for traditional surrogacy, which is a less common form of surrogacy. Today, the most common form of surrogacy is called gestational surrogacy, and that is what we offer here at Pathways to Parenthood. With gestational surrogacy, the egg of the intended mother or egg donor is fertilized with the sperm of the intended father or sperm donor to create embryos. Then an embryo is transferred to the surrogate mother. This process is called in vitro fertilization (IVF). The IVF process provides the intended parent(s) with protection for a legally safe and proven process of establishing parentage. When IVF is utilized to create embryos, the surrogate mother is not biologically related to the child in any way.
- A surrogate can change her mind and keep the child after it’s born.
In a gestational surrogacy, this is an extremely rare occurrence. Because a surrogate is not genetically related to the child she is carrying, she has no parental rights to keep a child after birth. In addition, a surrogacy lawyer that specialized in ART law will make sure that the intended parents’ parental rights are established and protected. In addition to these legal protections, it is important to know that it is very rare for a surrogate to change her mind and want to keep a baby that is not biologically hers. When working with and agency like Pathways to Parenthood, that provides a stringent surrogacy screening process, it is almost unheard of. These types of stories are more likely to occur in independent surrogacy arrangements where intended parents and surrogate work independently from a surrogacy agency.
- I won’t be able to bond with my baby.
Bonding with the child after birth is something that many intended parents worry about leading up to the pregnancy. That is normal! However, the bonding process begins after the child is born, not while in the womb, so it makes sense that intended parents would have this fear when the baby has not been born yet! The bonding starts the minute the child is born and he/she is immediately handed over to the intended parents for skin-to-skin contact. Any interactions the surrogate will have with the baby will be decided and agreed upon prior to the birth of the baby.
- Surrogates are only in it for the money.
While surrogate mothers are financially compensated, and typically very well, it is usually not the primary reason they become surrogates. Surrogates are primarily motivated by their desire to help intended parents build their families. Helping a couple become parents is extremely rewarding. The entire surrogacy process takes at least a year, typically longer. Being a surrogate involves a significant of time and effort so the desire to help others is what keeps women committed and motivated to the happy end of the surrogacy process!
5. Any woman can become a surrogate.
Even though most women can biologically carry a pregnancy for intended parents, there are a number of criteria that a gestational carrier must meet before being accepted by a reputable surrogacy agency like Pathways To Parenthood. View our basic criteria for surrogate mothers to find out if you qualify to become a surrogate.
6. Surrogates are Usually Friends or Family Members
While some people do know someone who can act as their surrogate, a lot of people do not. And even if they do, many intended parents do not want to manage the complexities that a personal relationship can add to an already stressful process. For some, it is the right choice, but not for all. When that is the case, intended parents will match with a gestational surrogate through a surrogacy agency like Pathways To Parenthood.