It’s been over a year since beginning our surrogacy journey, and we’ve learned a lot. By going public with our story, we’ve heard a lot of assumptions about surrogacy. To celebrate one year of blogging, I’m sharing the 10 most common misconceptions about surrogacy that I’ve heard and what the reality truly is.
Myth #1: Surrogates are in it for the money.
Reality: This couldn’t be further from the truth. In Canada it is illegal to profit from acting as a surrogate. Surrogates can be reimbursed for pregnancy-related expenses (as they should be!) as agreed upon in a contract prior to transfer. Intended Parents and surrogates retain separate legal counsel to ensure the contract is fair and that neither side is being taken advantage of. Even in countries where compensation for surrogates is legal, surrogates are motivated by love and compassion.
Myth #2: Women seek out surrogates for convenience or to preserve their bodies.
Reality: In the past year I have spoken to hundreds of women seeking out surrogates, and every single person sought surrogacy due to infertility or underlying health conditions. There is a lot of stigma related to infertility, and many women are shy about disclosing their personal health conditions with strangers. Just because you don’t know the reason someone didn’t carry doesn’t mean it was for convenience or to avoid pregnancy weight gain. My verdict? This is a MYTH.
Myth #3: When the baby is born, the parents and surrogate conclude their relationship.
Reality: Surrogacy creates a bond that is different than a regular friendship. While every relationship can look different, many surrogates remain close with the individuals they carry for and maintain an extended family-like relationship.
Myth #4: All surrogates are related to the baby they carry.
Reality: There are two types of surrogates – gestational surrogates and traditional surrogates. A gestational surrogate carries the baby, but her egg is not used. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate not only carries the baby but also provides the egg as an egg donor. Even though she is donating her egg, she is not the mother to the child.
Myth #5: Fathers and surrogates have intercourse to conceive the baby.
Reality: Absolutely not! The law is very clear on this: conception in surrogacy cannot involve sex.
Myth #6: Surrogates want to keep the baby.
Reality: I’ve spoken to a LOT of surrogates and here’s what they’ve told me – surrogacy is like extreme babysitting. Surrogates love helping people and they love babies. They’ll gladly accept baby snuggles and visits, but they’re done building their own families and know this baby isn’t theirs. Don’t want to take my word for it? Check out @carried.with.love or @hello_kayde on Instagram who have covered this topic extensively.
Myth #7: If you’re a woman who can’t carry, your husband will resent you.
Reality: Marriage is about supporting each other, and that’s exactly what I’ve found in mine. If anything, our infertility journey has brought us closer together. Sure, I can’t carry our baby, but guess what? Neither can he and I’m not holding that against him. 🙂 If your husband is upset with you about an inability to carry, or any health condition you might be facing, throw that whole man away.
Myth #8: If your child was carried by someone else, they won’t feel a bond with you.
Reality: In my entire life, I have never spent time reflecting on my days in my mother’s womb. I have zero memory of that time, and chances are neither do you. When I think of the many reasons I cherish my mother, it is the time I’ve spent with her, the memories I have with her, and the knowledge I have of her sacrifices as a parent that make me respect and love her. Her carrying me was not and is not a factor in what makes her a mother to me. (Also – if gestating a pregnancy was essential for the child and parent to feel a bond, where would that leave fathers and their children?)
Myth #9: If your child has questions about their origin story that means they don’t see you as their parent.
Reality: It is normal for kids to be curious about their history, and healthy, age-appropriate discussions about how they came to be are totally fine! There are plenty of resources out there (including some stellar children’s books) to help you explain surrogacy to your child. There is no shame in building your family through surrogacy, and by introducing their unique start to them from a young age you can help them to see just how loved and wanted they were from the very start.
Myth #10: Religions don’t see surrogacy as permissible.
Reality: While there may be individuals who use their interpretation of religion to take an anti-surrogacy stance, there are many mentions of infertility and of alternative family building being encouraged in scripture. Religion is deeply personal, and your relationship with G-d doesn’t involve anybody else.
These are just a few of the misconceptions I’ve heard. Feel free to share other common myths that you think need busting and I may put out a part 2!