Many of us are used to relying on the internet as our main source of information. Unfortunately, the freedom of the world wide web comes at a cost: it can be very difficult to tell what’s ‘real’ and what’s not. And when it comes to a sensitive topic like gestational surrogacy, you need to know the truth.
You have probably already encountered a few strange or even frightening claims about how surrogacy works. Well, ignore those – because we are here to clear up the truth once and for all.
Myth 1: The baby will be genetically related to the surrogate mother.
This myth stems from the confusion between ‘gestational’ and ‘traditional’ surrogacy. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother’s own eggs are used. This makes her the biological mother of the baby she carries. In gestational surrogacy, however, only the eggs of the Intended Parents or an egg donor are used to create a pregnancy.
This means the surrogate mother has no biological link to the baby. No DNA, no blood, no cells. The baby will only have the genetic material provided by the parents.
Traditional surrogacies are actually quite rare today. At Family Source Consultants, all surrogacy arrangements are gestational – meaning the embryos transferred to a surrogate mother are not her own. The eggs of the Intended Mother (or an egg donor) and the sperm of the Intended Father (or a sperm donor) are combined to create embryos, which are then implanted into the womb of the surrogate. This is all done by medical professionals using in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
Myth 2: It is possible for a surrogate to change her mind and keep the baby.
Nope. For a start, the gestational surrogate is not biologically related to the child she is carrying, and she has no legal rights to the child before or after he/she has been born.
A professional surrogacy agency is essential for protecting your rights throughout the surrogacy process – and also just for peace of mind!
At FSC, Intended Parents are provided with attorney recommendations who specialize in Third-Party Reproduction. The Intended Parents’ attorney will prepare the Direct Agreement to make sure all verbiage is included, and that the Intended Parents’ rights are fully protected. The surrogate will have a separate attorney who also specializes in reproductive law. The direct agreement is executed by all parties prior to injectable medications being administered in preparation for the embryo transfer.
In addition, all surrogates at FSC undergo a strict pre-screening process to ensure their suitability as a surrogate. Many of our surrogates have already completed their families and do not have any desire for another child. Instead, she is ‘babysitting’ the unborn child until it can go home with its own parents.
Myth 3: Surrogacy is selfish: parents who cannot conceive could just adopt or foster a child.
Humans are born with an innate desire to reproduce. Some of us feel this desire strongly – some, not so much. But those who do want to have their own children will often stop at nothing to achieve that. Some may have grown up looking forward to the day that they will have a ‘mini-me’ to care for and love.
For many people, surrogacy is their last possible chance to have a child that is biologically related to them. After all, our bodies are designed to create offspring – but certain factors can make this difficult or impossible for some people.
Adopting or fostering a child is a wonderful thing to do, but it is not the choice for everyone.
Choosing to become a mom or dad via surrogacy is a personal decision and one that requires a huge amount of careful planning and dedication. It is certainly more complicated and time-consuming than the ‘natural’ method – so anyone who opts for surrogacy is far from selfish!
At the end of the day, someone who wishes to bring children into the world can only be a compassionate, loving, selfless human being.
Myth 4: Women become surrogates just for the money.
This one could not be further from the truth. Becoming a surrogate is a decision that cannot be made lightly. While surrogates do receive compensation, there’s much more to it than that. Carrying a child – especially for someone else – requires a great deal of commitment and care. A surrogate must first undergo a strict screening process before being accepted. She then must be prepared for several clinic visits for treatment, the embryo transfer, regular check-ups, and then of course the birth.
Throughout the pregnancy, a surrogate must of course take care of her own physical and mental health, as well as the health of the baby as he/she develops.
Women who choose to become surrogates do so because they want another individual or couple to know the joy of being parents. They are often women who have enjoyed their own pregnancies and simply want to share their “baby-carrying abilities” with people who are not as lucky. Many surrogates speak of the incredible happiness they feel when they see a newborn go home with its Intended Parents.
At Family Source Consultants, our surrogates are carefully chosen for their genuine desire to carry someone else’s child. Anyone who appears to be solely financially motivated is unlikely to be selected.
Myth 5: Someone who uses a surrogate mother is just thinking about her figure.
When a celebrity uses a surrogate mother, the media are quick to claim that she simply did not want to ‘ruin’ her body with pregnancy. This explanation is often applied to other women who choose to use a surrogate.
Again, this is another myth – and a hurtful one at that. Ask any Intended Mother whether she would prefer to carry the pregnancy herself, and you will get a resounding YES. Many may have already spent thousands of dollars on third-party reproduction treatments only to fail over and over. Some Intended Parents – such as gay male couples or transgender individuals – may not even have the option of bearing a pregnancy.
In nearly every case, surrogacy is a last resort for a couple or individual to have their own child. As mentioned above, this is not an easy decision – and it certainly is not cheap. Rather, it is the only option.
Now that we have debunked those weird myths, it’s time to have a chat! Call Family Source Consultants to learn more about your options as a hopeful parent.