Gestational surrogacy is the process by which an embryo is created in a laboratory and transferred into the uterus of a gestational carrier who does not share a genetic relationship with the baby she carries.
That’s the scientific definition. Emotionally, gestational surrogacy – commonly shortened to be called surrogacy – is an amazing and monumental experience between intended parents hoping for a family and a kind and generous woman who is willing to dedicate herself to carrying a baby for them. Gestational surrogacy is a common and acceptable way to grow a family.
There are many myths and misinformation when it comes to gestational surrogacy. Below, we outline a list of gestational surrogacy myths – and bust them! – to clear up any misconceptions when it comes to surrogates, having a baby through surrogacy, and how safe gestational surrogacy is.
7 Myths About Gestational Surrogacy
MYTH 1: The gestational carrier uses her egg to create the embryo and is related to the baby. This is not true! In gestational surrogacy, the gestational carrier does NOT use her own egg to create the embryo. Instead, the biology is used from the intended parents (or a separate donor, not the carrier) to create the embryo at their IVF clinic. The embryo is then transferred into the surrogate’s uterus. The gestational carrier does not share any DNA with the baby.
MYTH 2: The gestational surrogate will grow attached and want to keep the baby. This is a common misconception. Gestational carriers are screened in the early stages of the application process, and speak with licensed social workers and undergo a psychological exam. During this process, professionals determine if a woman is the right fit for surrogacy, and that includes understanding her perspective about the baby she would be carrying. A woman who is a gestational carrier fully understands that she has no biological connection to the child she is carrying, that it’s “not her baby”. In fact, one reason women become surrogates is to witness those first few moments of parenthood when they give the baby back to the intended parents.
MYTH 3: Surrogates have to do whatever their intended parents tell them to do, even if they don’t want to. When a gestational surrogate is being matched with her intended parents, they each have independent legal representation to draw up the Carrier Agreement Contract. If intended parents have requests for the surrogate, they are discussed during this time and agreed upon together. If an Intended parent asks for something unreasonable, or something the surrogate is not comfortable with, it is discussed at this time. When an agreement is reached, it is added to the contract and then signed by both parties.
MYTH 4: My Surrogate Will Have to Come and Live With Me. Um, no. This misconception likely came about from Hollywood. The movie Baby Mama, starring Tina Fey and Amy Pohler – while incredibly entertaining – could not misrepresent the act of surrogacy more. Intended parents would never be expected to have their gestational carrier live with them. A surrogate must have a strong foundation of support, as well as be financially and emotionally stable in order to be accepted into the program – and that includes having her own place to live. See a full list of surrogate requirements here.
MYTH 5: Women only become surrogates to make money. Women become surrogates for many reasons: some have a close friend or family member who went through infertility, other women enjoy being pregnant but have finished growing their own families, while others are looking for a way to give back to someone else. The financial component to surrogacy is to support a surrogate’s physical, emotional and medical dedication to the journey.
MYTH 6: Surrogacy is only for celebrities. While you may hear about celebrities and surrogacy through media outlets, it is by no means a family-building option only for the rich and famous. Every day intended parents from all over the United States and across the globe embark on surrogacy journeys. Surrogacy costs are a financial investment, but there are surrogacy programs designed to provide financial certainty for intended parents. There are also a variety of fertility financing programs available.
MYTH 7: It will be hard for me to bond with the baby if we use a surrogate. Bonding with your baby is a natural step on your parenthood journey, and it’s a little different for everyone. Many intended parents are present at the birth of their baby and are able to have skin to skin contact with their baby almost immediately. This quiet time when your newborn is resting against your bare chest is one of the most intimate moments between parent and child. Some parents bond immediately with their baby, while for others it takes a little more time. As the primary caregivers for your baby, that little one will immediately recognize you as his/her source of love and comfort.
Gestational surrogacy is the only type of surrogacy that Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation practices. Our surrogate requirements, as well as our intended parent requirements, ensure it is the most rewarding journey for all parties involved.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a parent through surrogacy, we suggest you connect with our experienced Parent Intake Team. They can answer all of your questions and talk through the process in detail. Simply fill out this form and they will reach out to you!