Surrogacy is an agreement that involves a woman (the surrogate) who agrees to carry and birth a baby for a person or couple (the intended parents).
It is a complex process that involves medical and legal steps which have to be followed for a successful and seamless experience.
There are many myths surrounding surrogacy and below we will debunk some of them.
Surrogacy is a taboo subject
Many people fear bringing up the subject of surrogacy for fear that it is shunned by many others in society, avoiding it much like how people tip-toe around taboo subjects.
Unlike taboo subjects, surrogacy is well-established in society. This is marked by the presence of many surrogacy agencies, fertility clinics that support surrogacy, and different laws within different jurisdictions that regulate and govern surrogacy.
This means that surrogacy is a publicly-discussed topic and a lot of people are comfortable broaching the subject to ease tensions around it.
Surrogate Myths: Only the rich can afford surrogacy
While surrogacy can be expensive, it is by no means reserved only for the rich and famous. The cost of surrogacy is not always easy to calculate because it depends on many factors.
The factors are agency fees, the type of surrogacy, the surrogate’s fees, and the charges for birth or health insurance for the surrogate among other costs.
Anyone can be a surrogate
There is the common misguided belief that anyone fit enough to conceive can carry a pregnancy to completion and serve as a surrogate for other individuals.
The truth is that not everyone is cut out to be a surrogate and that there are some strict requirements and conditions that must be met for a woman to be considered fit for surrogacy.
One of the qualifications required for one to be a surrogate is to have carried a baby to full term. The surrogates working with reputable agencies undergo thorough medical screening, both physical and psychological to ensure they are in good shape. Moreover, agencies also conduct background checks.
You may be tempted to enlist a friend or family member as a surrogate. This is ill-advised since working with a surrogate from an agency may help you work out an agreement that is legally binding and free from unnecessary complications that may emerge when using a personal acquaintance.
Surrogates and their immediate family members undergo background checks. This ensures that they are capable of carrying pregnancies to completion with minimal likelihood of complications that fail to transfer the baby to the intended parents as expected.
Background checks on family members ensure that the surrogate is not around individuals whose presence can negatively affect the pregnancy.
The surrogate will keep the baby
There is a common belief that surrogates are very likely to hold on to a baby, refusing to hand it over after birth.
There is some evidence that this view carries some significance, mostly resulting from the intense emotions experienced during pregnancy. Pregnancy is an emotional rollercoaster and the surrogate will feel the mother-child bond.
However, when working with a proper agency, the psychological assessment of the surrogate ensures that she fully understands and is mentally capable of handling surrogacy.
Usually, there is a legally binding agreement- depending on the law of the area- between the surrogate and the intended parents to ensure everything goes as planned.
Surrogates only do it for the money
Many informational resources quote the average compensation package for surrogates in successful surrogacy journeys.
This myth presents the view that surrogates are greedy women who seek to make “easy money” from the millions of desperate prospective parents who can easily be taken advantage of.
This belief is inaccurate because there are a lot of nuances involved in surrogacy that ensure that neither intended parents nor surrogates can take advantage of the other party.
Surrogates are compensated for carrying the pregnancy and all pregnancy-related costs but at the same time, they go through all the physiological changes that come with pregnancy and the risk of complications.
Considering the medical assessments and the whole process including pregnancy, a surrogate gives at least one year of her life to help her intended parents.
Many do it to help couples who are unable to carry their own babies. This is a significant journey that cannot be monetarily quantified, and surrogates are selfless individuals who give an invaluable gift to others that are struggling with childbearing.
Furthermore, many jurisdictions have amended existing surrogacy laws to explicitly prohibit commercial surrogacy. Altruistic surrogacy is the variety of surrogacy currently supported by laws in many areas.
Considering that this difference does not involve any monetary compensation that exceeds medical costs, there is little financial appeal in surrogacy, hinting that surrogates are driven by more than just financial motivation.
Bonding with the baby will be difficult
Babies bond best with their primary caregivers so having a surrogate will not affect the bond between parent and child.
There is also the option of frequent interaction with the surrogate to talk to the baby or have them listen to recordings of the intended parents during the pregnancy.
The intended parents can also be present during the birth and have skin-to-skin contact within the first few minutes. Some parents will take more time than others to bond with their children, but they will eventually recognize them as their main source of comfort and love.
Surrogate Mothers are biologically related to the child
Surrogates are not always biologically related to the child they carry on behalf of the intended parents.
There are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational surrogacy.
- Traditional surrogacy is where the surrogate is artificially inseminated with either a donor’s sperm or that of the intended parent,
- Gestational surrogacy is where the surrogate is implanted with an embryo that doesn’t include her egg.
In the latter type of surrogacy, there is no biological relation between the child and the surrogate mother.
In this age of the internet and mobile devices, misguided views posed as authoritative information can take a life of their own. Surrogacy is particularly prone to the mischief of myths, and many of them have been reasonably debunked by experts and experienced surrogates alike. Find out more information from a surrogacy community to engage more closely with the facts around surrogacy.