Race & Surrogacy: Carrying Another Ethnicity
Surrogacy makes a host of things that were once thought to be impossible happen on a regular basis. One of these things is the possibility that a woman is able to carry and deliver a baby that is a different race or ethnicity from her own. This possibility can become a reality when a surrogate transfers an embryo into her uterus that was created from the genetics of either a sperm donor (often an intended parent) or an egg donor that is from a different race or ethnicity.
Upon learning that a surrogate may be carrying for a couple who has used an egg and/or sperm donor, or occasionally upon learning that the couple themselves who created embryos are of a different race than the surrogate, many people are left dumbfounded and a bit confused. Because the science involved with surrogacy is so complex, they may ask you a variety of questions as they attempt to wrap their heads around this very unique situation.
It is helpful to start by reminding people that the child you are carrying has no biological relationship to you or your partner. Explaining that this child, this embryo, was made outside of your body and is the product of two other peoples’ DNA lays a solid foundation that helps others begin to separate the image of your face from that of the fetus. From there, you can explain that the embryo was created through genetic donations of one or two people that may not be the same race or ethnicity as you.
The body doesn’t recognize race or ethnicity at the time of an embryo transfer; It just recognizes an embryo implanting into the uterine wall. Through the course of the pregnancy and birth, the body will respond no differently than if the gestational carrier and the fetus were of the same race.
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