Surrogates: Why do they help?

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All around the world people are starting to celebrate LGBT individuals and couples. Our contribution to society is becoming acknowledged and valued. It’s becoming more common for people to treat us in the same way as they would treat a straight person or couple. Even though this is the case, the idea of someone carrying and giving birth to a child for another person is still a little unusual right? In this post, Pink Families explores some of the reasons why surrogates want to help and we look a little deeper into this complex issue.

Why surrogates want to help

Because surrogacy is so hard for many people to understand, there are a number of myths and misconceptions about what motivates surrogates in their choice to carry and give birth to a child for someone else. Surrogacy is probably one of the most misunderstood frontiers of reproductive technologies. Many people assume that women become surrogates for financial reasons, for example. However in reality, the reasons why someone becomes a surrogate are much more complex than this.

Reasons for surrogacy

The reasons why someone becomes a surrogate vary. Some surrogates feel that it is unfair for gay couples to not be able to have a child and they want to help address this injustice. Other surrogates think that everyone has a right to have a child and they want to help fulfill this basic human right. Other surrogates understand what it’s like to experience fertility difficulties and they want to help because they want people to be able to overcome these challenges.

Others want to have the experience of being pregnant and giving birth, but they don’t want to have the responsibility of raising a child. Some surrogates become involved in surrogacy as a gift for someone they are close to. They are motivated by their relationship with the intending parent(s).

Alternatively, some surrogates just simply want to make someone happy. They want to help someone who wants to have a child, and surrogacy is one way they can do this. In reality, the surrogate may be motivated by a combination of these reasons.

Discussing the reasons

Embarking on the journey of starting a family is both a time of excitement and uncertainty, and if you choose to have a child through surrogacy then it’s also natural to think about why the surrogate might want to help you have your child.

Discussing your thoughts about the topic can help you gain clarity about your values and what’s important to you if you decide to proceed. Finding out robust answers to some of your questions may help, and asking questions at the right time may give you some indication about your potential surrogate’s understanding and preparedness for the journey ahead.

Having these discussions may also assist you in finding the surrogate that’s right for you.

Society and surrogates

Despite very admirable and commendable reasons to become a surrogate, society has told us over many years that it’s unnatural for a woman to not want to raise the child she has given birth to. But contrary to this opinion, there are a growing number of women that are comfortable with giving birth and handing over the child to another person or a couple.

In the US, for example, the practice of surrogacy has become more common since the 1980s when the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) issued its first statement on the topic.

Current estimates show that surrogacy is on the rise in the US with approximately 1,000 surrogate births taking place each year.

Moving forward with surrogacy

Surrogacy is an involved and complex process, however it is for many people a very rewarding process too. It’s natural to have questions about why someone would want to be a surrogate. Even though it may be hard to raise questions with your potential surrogate, it is important to share your thoughts in a sensitive and considered manner at a time that’s right for you. Doing this will help you move forward with surrogacy.

References

Armour KL. An Overview of Surrogacy Around the World: Trends, Questions and Ethical Issues. Nursing for Women’s Health 2012;16(3):231-6.

Berkowitz D. Marsiglio W. Gay Men: Negotiating Procreative, Father, and Family Identities. Journal of Marriage and Family 2007;69:366-381.

Pizitz TD. McCullaugh J. Rabin A. Do Women Who Choose to Become Surrogate Mothers Have Different Psychological Profiles Compared to a Normative Female Sample? Women and Birth: Journal of the Australian College of Midwives 2013;26(1):e15-20.

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