Handling Offensive Questions


It’s perhaps one of the more offensive things you can ask an Intended Parent. “Why didn’t you just adopt?” The question becomes even more awkward when strangers are asking you, their surrogate, this incredibly invasive and personal question.

Bear in mind that it is not your job to justify or explain the family growing choices of your intended parents. In some cases you may not know the exact reasons that your intended parents chose surrogacy over adoption. Even if you do know, sharing their personal decision with others can leave you feeling as if you’ve somehow violated their trust.

Just as parents of children conceived naturally have the choice of bearing their own offspring or adopting the offspring of others, parents of children born via surrogacy have a right to a say in the way in which they choose to grow their families. Assuming that adoption should be the only option available to those who struggle with infertility can be hurtful.

While adoption is indeed a beautiful way to grow a family, it may not be right for every family. Perhaps the surrogacy process is desirable to the intended parents as opposed to the home visits and child selection process of adoption.

Choosing surrogacy gives intended parents the option of having a biological and genetic link to their child while also having a say in the conditions in which their child is grown. Many intended parents want to be a part of the pregnancy and birth process, something that is more rare in adoption scenarios. No child born of surrogacy was ever unintended and is always highly anticipated and loved.

Whatever their reasons for arriving at surrogacy, parents who have chosen this option to grow their family are making the choice they believe to be best for their growing family. Families can be grown in different manners for a variety of reasons.

Reminding inquiring minds, who are often unaware that such a question can be so invasive and personal, of the beauty of choice can help put things into perspective. Simply put, all parents are just making the choices they believe are best for their families. This reminder can help diffuse this potentially awkward moment.

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.