Gestational surrogacy has entered the mainstream, with celebrities like Gabrielle Union, Kim Kardashian and Andy Cohen talking about their surrogacy journey. However, there are still many misconceptions and myths surrounding gestational surrogacy.
We’re here to debunk five common surrogacy myths:
Myth #1: The Surrogate is the Mother
In gestational surrogacy, an embryo is created using the egg and sperm of either the intended parents or egg/sperm donors, through the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF). The embryo is then transferred to the uterus of the gestational carrier.
A gestational carrier is not biologically related to the child she is carrying, nor does she have legal rights to parent the child. The contract between the intended parents and surrogate also protects the surrogate from any kind of legal responsibility for the child.
Surrogates do not see themselves as having a maternal relationship with the child they carry. Their focus is on helping the intended parents build their family.
Myth #2: Surrogates Are In It For the Money
Surrogates are caring and loving women who are focused on the well-being of another person’s child, by helping to start or build someone else’s family. They face a rigorous screening process, bodily changes, discomfort and health risks during the surrogacy process.. Additionally, the surrogate is giving up time and energy with her own children and family, and could be required to miss work for appointments, bed rest, etc. The compensation paid over the course of the gestational surrogacy only seeks to make the surrogate “whole” for any pain, suffering and time she dedicates to the process. When broken down by hourly pay, most people could make more working as a fast food restaurant than a surrogate will be compensated for an entire surrogacy journey, considering the process can take two years or more.
One of the basic requirements that gestational surrogates must meet is to not be primarily reliant upon government assistance. Surrogates must meet a financial threshold to qualify and therefore do not need the surrogacy compensation to meet their basic living expenses. At All Families Surrogacy, surrogates receive compensation of $30,000 to $42,000 based on their surrogacy experience and the state they live in. In general, surrogates are compassionate women who want to provide a service to help someone else’s family.
Myth #3: Your Surrogate Will Want to Keep Your Baby
One of the most common fears in surrogacy is that the gestational carrier will want to keep the baby. That could not be further from the truth! Surrogates are required to have given birth to and be parenting at least one child of their own before they can qualify to become a gestational carrier. Therefore, surrogates have already created their own families. Surrogates go into a surrogacy arrangement with a full understanding about whose child they are carrying, and they must pass rigorous screening - including a mental health evaluation - to be sure they understand the dynamics of a surrogacy arrangement. And, with legal contracts in place, all parties are properly protected and the legal parentage of the child is often established well before the birth. When the day of the birth finally comes, the moment of seeing the parents hold their child for the first time is often the most treasured part of the entire process for the surrogate.
Myth #4: A Woman Will Choose To Hire a Surrogate Because She Just Doesn’t Want to Be Pregnant
You may have heard about ‘social surrogacy’ - where a woman pays someone else to carry a child without a medical reason to do so. In our experience, this is almost always false.
The decision to choose surrogacy is a very emotional and expensive process, and is often a last resort decision for a woman who has had multiple failed attempts. Women that chose surrogacy have made that decision after much personal pain, loss and hardship.
Myth #5: Parents Will Have Trouble Bonding With Their Baby Born via Surrogacy
Bonding doesn’t have to start when the baby comes home. Positive relationships with the gestational carrier are encouraged during the surrogacy process. Babies have a strong sense of smell and hearing. The more the baby hears the voices of the intended parents, the more familiar and comfortable the baby will become. Intended parents can make arrangements to attend doctor’s appointments, schedule activities and have the surrogate play a recording of their voices for the baby.
It’s important to remember that parents are able to bond with their babies at different times. Research shows that bonding is a result of nurture more so than simply carrying a child. Building an emotional attachment soon after delivery is key.
It’s natural for people to have questions about the unknown, especially if they haven’t been educated on the issue. With more and more families turning to surrogacy to grow their families, All Families Surrogacy is here to help create a better understanding about the process.