Misconceptions about Gestational Surrogacy
What is Gestational Surrogacy?
Gestational surrogacy, or surrogacy, is the term used to describe an infertility process by which another woman undergoes the embryo transfer process and then carries the pregnancy to term. The intended parents are intimately involved with the pregnancy, are typically present at the birth, and assume parenting responsibilities immediately thereafter.
Gestational surrogacy may be achieved with the intended mother’s eggs or with a donor’s egg. Likewise, the sperm may be provided by the intended father or from a sperm donor. The insemination of the egg is performed by way of in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures, including ICSI. Unlike egg or sperm donors, the gestational surrogate is always known by the intended parents. A surrogate can be someone you know, a close friend or relative, or obtained through a surrogacy agency. All surrogates-to-be must meet doctor-established criteria, undergo medical evaluations and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Surrogacy is one of the greatest gifts a woman can give to another person, it’s really life itself. Gestational surrogacy is also the only way for some people to have children that they are genetically related to, it’s an incredible family building tool. There are some misconceptions about gestational surrogacy that have been repeatedly mentioned as we see patients at the surrogacy agency.
- Surrogate mothers can become too emotionally attached to the child and don’t want to let go. Surrogates go into the surrogacy process knowing what their role is, they are helping someone else build a family. All surrogates get to know the Intended Parents before they ever start the process and their bond with the parents also helps them keep part of the process in perspective. Surrogate mothers hired through reputable surrogacy agencies undergo stringent mental health screenings before they are matched with families, if the mental health professional feels there might be a problem then they aren’t matched with a family.
- Surrogates are only doing it for the money. Gestational surrogacy is a time consuming and emotional process that can be hard on the surrogates’ body, most people will not put themselves through the rigors of IVF and pregnancy just for the money. Surrogates are compensated for their time and effort, as they should be for the amount of work that goes into being a surrogate. And yes, money might be part of what attracted the surrogate to gestational surrogacy in the first place but that doesn’t mean she isn’t going to do everything possible to have a successful pregnancy.
- The baby will be genetically related to the surrogate. In more traditional surrogacy relationships this is generally true, the surrogate uses her own egg and the sperm of the father. However, in gestational surrogacy the egg is provided by either the Intended Mother or an Egg Donor, the sperm by either the Intended Father or a Sperm Donor. There is no biological connection between the surrogate and the baby.
- The surrogate won’t take as good of care of my baby as she would her own. A women who becomes a gestational surrogate is already a mother, she knows what it takes to carry a healthy child to term. The surrogacy agency has tested her and described to her exactly what is expected, she knows what to do. The surrogate also has an ongoing relationship with the Intended Parents, she’s as committed to a good outcome as they are.
- Intended Parents choose surrogacy to avoid pregnancy. Most Intended Mothers would give anything to be able to carry their child themselves but they simply can’t. They’ve often gone through years of fertility treatments and, possibly miscarried one or more pregnancies, before deciding to use a gestational surrogate to carry their child. The last thing they want to do is to avoid pregnancy.
- Gestational Surrogacy is only for the wealthy. Yes, surrogacy is expensive but most families can work out a way to pay for it. The first place to look for financing ideas is your surrogacy agency, they often have arrangements with lenders that will loan you money at favorable rates. There are also home equity loans, personal loans, and some people have even set up funding sites where friends and relatives donate.
- Surrogates are usually friends or family members. While some people do know someone who can act as their surrogate a lot of people don’t so they find a gestational surrogate through a surrogacy agency. People who are opting for gestational surrogacy aren’t planning on using the surrogates’ eggs so they can use a surrogate they have no prior relationship with. During the pregnancy often the surrogate will grow close to the Intended Parents and form a friendship but this isn’t a requirement for a successful surrogacy.