Deciding to take up the role of surrogate presents a big milestone for a woman, to say the very least. She’s super-preggers and still deals with the ignorant questions of everyday folks when she just wants to bake a healthy baby bun, make future parents happy with a beautiful child and improve her situation. It’s a triple win.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult for her, she’s selfish or she doesn’t care about the life inside her. That’s a series of gross myths.
A surrogate mom isn’t some balloon-shaped messiah placed on Earth to educate you about her decision. She’s a woman bearing a child. End of story — unless she decides otherwise. Keep your nose in your own business.
Don’t be the jerk that pisses off or hurts the feelings of a surrogate mom. Keep these things in mind when choosing your words.
1. She Doesn’t Owe You Her Story or Reasons
Remember the old saying about people who assume? A surrogate mom doesn’t owe you her story or reasons.
Every surrogate mom’s experience differs, and her story belongs to her. Whom she shares that story with is up to her, and there’s nothing wrong with when or how she tells it.
2. The Baby Got in the Oven Because — SCIENCE!
Don’t twist your head too much over the Sphinx riddle of the surrogacy process. It’s straightforward. Surrogates become pregnant thanks to medical science. The process is clinical, and the doctor creates the embryos.
There are two types of surrogacy — traditional and gestational. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mom donates her egg and carries the child. The eggs get artificially inseminated, and she is related to the child. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate doesn’t use her own egg — she carries the child, and the child will be related to the intended parents. The eggs are inseminated through in vitro fertilization.
The intended father and the surrogate mom didn’t make the baby the “old-fashioned way.” Don’t be a perv.
3. Stay Away From the “Pregnant for Pay” Convo
You don’t ask a woman her age, and you certainly don’t ask a woman, “How much are they giving you for that?” Asking a surrogate mom if she’s in it for the money isn’t kosher. You may feel curious, but how many eyes do you think she sees that unspoken question behind? Too many.
Commercial surrogacy comes steeped in controversy, and many cite ethics when discussing how surrogates should receive compensation. Regardless of your ethical standpoint, you should respect the fact that a surrogate mom provides a highly valuable service with great sacrifice.
The intended parents or surrogate mom don’t go into any agreement blindfolded. They come to a mutual understanding and arrangement about the ins and outs, including compensation. At the end of the nine months, it’s still deeply meaningful to help a family.
4. Her Aim Is to Complete a Family, Not Give up a Child
The surrogate mom aims to complete a family by adding a gorgeous little life into the mix. Some families have a little trouble getting started, and many see surrogacy as the right route for their family.
All rights do go to the intended family, but the surrogate mom didn’t make her decision lightly. Naturally, the baby will be born with some attachment to the surrogate and vice versa — that’s biology.
Transferring isn’t just handing the baby over after birth. Emotional transfer must occur before birth to make the process easier and more nurturing for everyone involved, especially the baby. While in the womb, the baby gets used to the voices of the intended parents, too, who often provide a transitional item to help transfer their scent, such as an appropriate stuffed animal. Babies have highly sensitive hearing and smell, which helps them attach.
Surrogate moms who engage in this way with the intended parents from the start focus more on the health of the baby as the goal and how happy the baby will be with the intended parents.
5. Surrogacy Takes a Village, But You’re Not in It
The surrogate mom isn’t in this alone. She has the support of a whole team of highly qualified health care professionals, the intended parents and her personal support system at home. Surrogacy takes a village, and a surrogate mom has all the support she needs.
Surrogacy takes a village, but that doesn’t include you. Don’t place your curiosity on a pedestal. It’s not a surrogate mom’s role to teach you about the workings of surrogacy.
You’re bound to have questions when you’re a stranger finding yourself in the strange land of surrogacy, but in this case, it’s best to bite your tongue. Keep your nose in your business unless the surrogate mom asks for your opinion.
Moms-to-be, surrogates included, want to go about their day like anyone else, but remain subject to gawking. For surrogate moms, it’s twice as bad. Keep these points in mind when your curiosity starts to get the best of you, and when you feel at a loss for words, a friendly smile goes a long way.