Do Surrogates Get Attached to the Baby They Carry?
Circle Surrogacy gets many questions from intended parents who are interested in surrogacy to grow their families. Some of those questions are about whether their gestational surrogate will grow “attached” to the baby she’s carrying. While this is a valid question for those who are new to the surrogacy process, Circle can assure intended parents in their program that their surrogate will not become attached to the baby she’s carrying.
Solveig Gramann, LICSW and Director of Surrogate Services and Emily Sonier, LICSW and Director of Culture and Program Support share their perspectives on if a surrogate will become attached to their baby, what if their surrogate wants to keep their baby, and if their baby will have attachment issues once they return home.
Do surrogates become attached to the surrogate baby?
The simple answer is no. “Each woman who applies to become a surrogate with Circle goes through a thorough screening process,” says Solveig Gramann, LICSW, Director of Surrogate Services. “During this time, the team will discuss the transition process with every surrogate at each stage of screening. We ask her and her primary support person what they envision this moment will be like for them and inquire how they think their children will respond as well."
They look forward to seeing parents meet their babies.
"Long before women apply with us – almost every surrogate we talk to – has thought about what it will be like once the baby is born and goes to the intended parents,” Solveig says. Our surrogate applicants always speak positively about this moment as they envision these parents who have wanted a child for so long finally meeting their baby, and how she (the surrogate) plays an integral role in that (and is able to see it happen in real-time!).
The surrogate has no biological link to the baby.
Also, the lack of a biological connection between the gestational carrier and the baby plays a large role in how women prepare themselves for this moment, knowing that this baby is not related to them or anyone in their family. In talking to hundreds of surrogate moms after they have delivered, even if the delivery had physical complications, surrogates always speak positively about seeing the parents with the child for the first time and feeling satisfied knowing they helped make that happen.
Do Surrogates Want to Keep the Baby?
Intended parents need not worry – your surrogate does not want to keep your baby!
First, it’s your baby, not hers! Our gestational carriers do not share DNA with the babies they carry and knowing this helps them enter surrogacy in the right place both mentally and emotionally (even before they are pregnant!).
Second, gestational surrogates come to surrogacy because they want to help someone else have a baby and experience parenthood. They are looking forward to giving the baby back to intended parents on delivery day and witnessing first-hand the emotions and pure joy in the moment intended parents meet their baby for the first time.
Women have usually completed their own families when they decide to become surrogates. For some, they really enjoy being pregnant, but they don’t want any more children of their own.
Lastly, intended parents and gestational carriers are protected on their surrogacy journey with their Carrier Agreement. Surrogacy is a safe way to grow your family.
Do Surrogate Babies Have Attachment Issues?
Circle Surrogacy thoroughly screens and prepares their gestational carriers for delivery day, and what that moment of giving the baby back to the intended parents will be. In turn, Circle also supports their intended parents and prepares them for this big day (and the feelings surrounding it), as well as any concerns post-birth about their baby having attachment issues with them.
It is natural for a child to find comfort in its environment during the nine months of development. The baby will feel some sort of attachment to the gestational carrier’s womb, and will be used to her voice and her surroundings. But once the baby is born and in the parents’ arms, a bond will immediately begin to develop.
For more than a decade, Emily Sonier, LICSW and Director of Culture and Program Support, has supported intended parents and their concerns about attachment and growing a bond with their babies. “Most studies state that children born through surrogacy experience no long-term emotional or psychological harm in regards to being born via surrogacy,” Emily says. “ Likewise, most parents and babies experience healthy attachment around the time of birth and beyond.”
How Can Intended Parents Bond with Their Baby Born Through Surrogacy?
It is understandable that intended parents might feel concerned about how to emotionally attach to their new baby, or that their baby might not attach to them. There are many ways intended parents can bond and attach to their new baby, some of which can take place from the moment they meet their baby at birth. Holding them with skin-to-skin contact, using a medically-approved sling or newborn infant carrier to practice “baby wearing,” and generally building bonds with the baby by holding, feeding, singing to, and rocking them helps form the attachment.
Build a relationship with your surrogate.
During surrogacy, ways to feel connected and attached to the baby-to-be can be increased by having a close relationship with your surrogate and asking her to share information about the pregnancy.
Record your voice for the baby in utero.
Some intended parents send recordings of their voices, either singing songs or reading books so that the surrogate can play their voices via headphones or a speaker against her belly.
Circle Surrogate Heather shared this sweet story, “My intended parents would send me recordings of them reading bedtime stories and I would put little headphones on my belly and play them. On the day my surro baby was born, the minute the baby heard the intended dad’s voice, he immediately turned his head in that direction because he recognized his voice.”
Be honest with your child about their origin.
Many of the studies about children’s psychological well-being stress the importance of openness and honesty when discussing how the child came-to-be via age appropriate information, stories and children’s books. Emily Sonier adds, “Normalizing and making the surrogacy a positive thing will allow a child born this way to feel secure and grounded and attached to their parents in a healthy way. Families are created in all different ways and helping children feel comfortable with this will in turn help them develop a healthy attachment to their parents.”
The team at Circle is always available to answer any questions surrogates or intended parents might have about attachment, what delivery day is like, and how to prepare for the birth of the baby.
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a parent through surrogacy, you can fill out our parent form to be connected to our experienced Parent Intake Team.
If you’d like to apply to become a surrogate, please fill out our surrogate application to start the process.