Debunking 6 Common Surrogacy Myths
When people think of surrogacy, they tend to have certain misperceptions or myths about the process. It's important to dispel these myths so those considering surrogacy can make informed decisions. This article will explore six common myths in gestational surrogacy.
1. Any Woman Can Become a Surrogate
Surrogacy agencies are clear about requirements for a woman to become a surrogate. The number one requirement for prospective surrogates is being able to have a healthy pregnancy; this means a woman must have had a previous successful pregnancy and delivery with no complications.
Potential surrogates need to undergo thorough medical screenings and tests to ensure they’re physically and emotionally able to carry another baby. In addition to physical and mental health requirements, a number of legal requirements need to be met to become a surrogate. Requirements vary from state to state but typically involve everything from having a criminal background check to releasing medical records to reviewing the insurance policy, all prior to entering into a legally binding surrogacy contract with the intended parents. Surrogates must also have legal counsel represent them throughout the surrogacy process.
Although potential surrogates must meet many requirements, it's an incredibly rewarding experience for the surrogate mothers and intending parents.
2. Surrogates Are Only Interested in the Money
One of the most harmful myths surrounding surrogacy is that women become surrogates just for money. While it's true gestational surrogates are compensated for their time and effort, most surrogates feel called to help others create their families. They may have known someone who had experiences with infertility, or they want to help create families and feel blessed to be able to do so.
3. Surrogates Transfer Their Genetics to the Baby
This is a very common surrogacy myth. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate isn't the baby's biological mother, only the carrier of the baby. The surrogate mother is implanted with an embryo created using the intended mother's eggs and the intended father's sperm through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or a donor egg and/or donor sperm.
After the embryo transplant, the gene in the embryo comes only from the genetic material of the intended parents or donor. The placenta, which forms in utero, provides oxygen and nourishment for the growing baby. The placental membrane acts as a filter and only allows certain substances to pass through, and the gestational surrogate's DNA and blood doesn't pass through the membrane.
4. A Surrogate Can Change Their Mind & Keep the Baby
Another misconception is gestational surrogates can change their mind and keep the baby they're carrying for the intended parents. In reality, surrogacy agreements are legally binding contracts that protect both the surrogate and the intended parents. The surrogate agrees to carry the pregnancy and deliver the baby, and in exchange, the intended parents agree to pay for all medical and legal expenses related to the surrogacy.
Additionally, surrogacy laws vary from state to state, but a gestational surrogate has no legal rights over the child once it is born in all states that have pre-birth orders. This is a legal process by which the intended parents' names are added to the birth certificate, rather than the surrogates name. . As a result, surrogates can’t change their mind and decide to keep the child they’re carrying.
5. Intended Parents Have Control of the Pregnancy
In gestational surrogacy, there are four parties involved: the surrogate, the intended parents, the surrogacy agency and attorney. Surrogate mothers carry another couple's child for nine months, and they have a right to make decisions about their bodies and health. They should feel confident and comfortable with the choices made throughout the pregnancy.
While the surrogate and intended parents need to be on the same page about major decisions, the surrogate is the one who experiences the physical and emotional ups and downs of pregnancy. Intended parents may have input on certain decisions, however ultimately, the surrogate knows what's best for her body and the baby she is carrying.
For instance, decisions like whether or not to have an epidural, how much pain medication to take during labor, whether or not to induce labor, and even whether or not to pump breast milk after birth are the surrogate mother's choice. This doesn't mean intended parents' wishes should be ignored, but rather they should be treated as one voice among many in the surrogacy process.
The goal of surrogacy is to create a healthy baby. Still, all parties involved in the journey should be respected and honored.
6. Intended Parents Won't Have a Strong Bond With Their Baby
Among intended parents a common fear is the emotional bond with the baby won't be as strong as the surrogate mother's since she's been carrying the baby for nine months. The bond between babies and their intended parents isn't based on genetics. The bond is created through love and care.
In the same way, a surrogate mother can have an emotional bond with a child she's carrying; even though there's no biological link, an intended parent can form a deep bond with a child before birth. Bonding with the baby before birth and gestational carrier can be a unique and special experience. There are many ways intended parents can bond with their unborn baby but whatever intending parents choose, it should feel special and meaningful to them or their family.
Work With a Reputable Surrogacy Agency
It's important to dispel the myths about gestational surrogacy to make sure people are well-informed about the process before making any decisions about this wonderful way to create a family.
If you're considering gestational surrogacy, choosing the right surrogacy agency is of utmost importance. Do your research and work with a reputable surrogacy agency.
If you want to learn more about gestational surrogacy, have any questions about our process, or just want to say hello, get in touch today. We can't wait to be a part of your journey!