What the Media Mistakes About Surrogacy

Choosing to donate your eggs means that, very likely, your DNA will ultimately be used in gestational surrogacy. For many young women just getting interested in egg donation, this consideration may conjure images of daytime talk show specials and tabloid cover stories about surrogacy gone wrong. It may even lead to you to doubt that egg donation is something you’d want to be a part of.

Surrogacy is an emerging discipline that pairs the innovation of science with the heart and soul of human compassion. As a result, it is no surprise that the media loves reporting on surrogacy. While many positive surrogacy stories are being shared via the news and across social media, the vast majority of headline grabbing surrogacy stories tend to revolve around cases that have gone astray.

Here’s what we’d like you to remember: it makes the news for a reason. These stories are the exception to the rule and are certainly not the commonplace experience. Growing Generations is proud of our 20+ year track record that has never once lead to a sensational media story. Here are a few other things to keep in mind before you Google surrogacy stories.

The media often doesn’t highlight the happy. It is not hard to find articles that will highlight potential dangers of surrogacy gone wrong. Using scare tactics and “worst case scenarios” can highlight underlying fears of consumers, and in turn sell a lot of publications and lead to a lot of social media clicks. You’re less likely to happen upon positive stories showcasing the immense happiness and overwhelming joy that is the more common reality of a surrogate experience.

Misrepresentation of motives. It is perhaps the most common question you will be asked as an egg donor, “How much do you get paid?” This bit of honest curiosity is often fueled by unfair media reports that can paint egg donors as money hungry or financially unstable women. Understand that reputable agencies will ensure that you are neither before moving forward. Most egg donors choose to participate out of altruistic motives that is paired with a keen desire to better their own lives.

Confusing the standard. In the United States today surrogacy has two predominant realities:

  1. Most surrogates bear no biological relation to the child they will carry. While it is possible for a woman to use her own egg and therefore have a biological link to the child, this form of surrogacy is very rare in practice. Known as ‘traditional surrogacy’, this method is not used often and seldom distinguished in media reports. Part of the beauty of gestational surrogacy, the form in which your donated eggs would be used, is that the surrogate exhibits far fewer, if any, emotional hardships following the birth of the child. At Growing Generations we engage solely in gestational surrogacy.
  2. Most surrogates, especially most first time surrogates, will work with an agency. While some surrogates will choose to work outside of an agency, a process often called ‘going independent,’ or ‘indy’, this is the exception to the rule. Clearly, in many of these cases, women and intended parents may inadvertently miss a crucial step in the process, simply due to lack of experience. This situation can set a pair up for hardship later on, and it is important to note if a troublesome case was the result of an independent journey. Many intended parents seeking an independent journey are seeking to save money.

People don’t change their minds.  Most egg donors tell us that they never felt any biological or maternal attachment to the eggs that they donated, or the children that may eventually result from their donation. However, it is only natural when entering into egg donation that you may have strong feelings about wanting to ensure that the children who result from your donation are wanted, loved, and well cared for. Media stories about intended parents who have changed their minds about wanting their children, or about surrogates who have changed their minds about giving up the child can leave you feeling uncertain and perhaps even restless. Know this- Growing Generations has never had a surrogate or an intended parent change their mind about wanting a child. No Growing Generations’ surrogate has ever even made mention of feeling this way. While we can’t promise that this will never happen, we are quite proud of our exhaustive screening process that allows us to say with great confidence that such a situation is extremely unlikely.

Tragedies happen. Growing Generations spends an exhaustive amount of time screening our potential surrogates in order to prevent tragedy before it has an opportunity to occur. It’s something we call ethical surrogacy, and it’s a big part of why we’re so successful. It’s important to remember that while things can go wrong, working with a reputable agency from day 1 can be your best safeguard against your donated genetics ever winding up as part of a headline news story.

Keep in mind that, by choosing to work with Growing Generations, you are engaging the support and assistance of a proven, respected program. We will help ensure your process is smooth and headline free at every phase. We are proud of our complete surrogate support program that ensures you have everything you need in order to have a successful journey. If you still have concerns or fears moving forward, don’t feel ashamed to speak up! We encourage you to ask questions and educate yourself at every step of the process. Our experts are always willing and ready to support you, no matter what concern you may have.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.