In popular culture, discussions about surrogacy tend to center around highly dramatic scenarios: either court cases that took place decades ago or fictional stories from movies or television. It’s ironic because actual surrogacy involves relatively little drama. Instead, it is a wonderful – in some ways, miraculous – solution to bring babies into families who might not otherwise be able to have a child.
- What surrogacy is NOT
Let’s tackle the drama upfront. Surrogacy today is NOT about fighting over babies. Like, at all.
Surrogacy is also NOT usually about a friend or family member giving her own baby to someone.
And it is definitely NOT someone else naturally conceiving (ahem) a baby with your partner.
- So, what IS surrogacy?
Gestational surrogacy, the most popular form of surrogacy today, is when a woman carries and gives birth to someone else’s baby for them. The gestational carrier, as she is called, is not biologically related to the fetus. The baby can be conceived with sperm or eggs from one, or both, or neither of the intended parents, using donor eggs and donor sperm.
Families of all kinds are formed, thanks to gestational surrogacy. People who have pursued fertility treatment and have learned that they are not capable of conceiving and/or carrying a baby might choose surrogacy. Same-sex couples and LGBTQIA+ couples and individuals may have a baby through gestational surrogacy. Single intended parents who want a biologically related child can choose surrogacy.
The surrogate provides a tremendous, life-changing gift to people who have dreamed of having a child but for any number of reasons, are not able to.
See? All about joy, not drama.
- Who becomes a surrogate? And why?
Great question, with a heartwarming answer. Gestational surrogates are women who have had at least one successful pregnancy and have completed their own families. They then choose to become a surrogate to help someone else grow their family.
Because the surrogate is providing such a transformative service to the intended parents, and risking her own health to do so, she does receive payment for gestational surrogacy. Do not give in to that soap-opera voice in your head. “Oh, so she does it for the money!” Absolutely NOT.
Successful surrogacy journeys can take up to 2 years and involve fertility treatments and a full-term pregnancy and delivery of a baby. Meanwhile, the surrogate already has her own complete family to look after and care for. Trust us, surrogates choose to help intended parents because they wholeheartedly believe in the family’s mission.
- How do surrogates and intended parents find each other?
All potential surrogates and potential intended parents go through an extensive application and screening process. There are medical aspects, background checks, financial information, legal agreements, and many other steps involved to assure all will be safe and successful along the surrogacy journey.
Once approved, surrogates and intended parents each make a list of their goals, ideals, and preferences for who they might want to connect with and how they would like the journey to unfold. Both the surrogates and intended parents may choose whom they would like to partner with. Everyone involved is there of their own free will and working collaboratively toward the ultimate goal: brand-new, adorable family member(s) for the intended parents.
Not much drama here, is there? Just happily ever after.