Clarifying Surrogacy to Others

Alivia and their bun my ovenOur surrogates tell us they are frequently asked, “How can you just give your baby away?” That sort of question, while most likely asked out of ignorance and honest curiosity with no malice intended, can leave you feeling flustered and at a loss for proper reply.

Remember that you do not have to justify your choices to anyone. If you’re uncomfortable in replying to the question you can simply tell them that you’ll manage that part of your journey as it approaches with the help of those who support you.

If you feel comfortable replying, here are a few angles that can help educate them on the process and understand your choice and mental approach to the birth.

  • Remind them that this is not your baby to give away. Explaining that as a gestational carrier you have no biological link to the child, may help them begin to understand your emotional independence. Phrases like, “This is like holding a friend’s baby, only in my tummy as opposed to in my arms,” can help create a clearer mental picture.
  • Ensure them that your family is complete at the moment, and that you don’t desire to add another baby to your family, at least right now, if ever.
  • Reminding them that you signed up for surrogacy with the goal of helping to create a family for a couple who otherwise could not have a baby can also help. The image of this baby creating or completing a family as a goal as opposed to a heart wrenching punishment can certainly help with their comprehension of your role as a surrogate.
  • If you’re a first time surrogate, the truth is that you don’t know how hard that will be, you haven’t experienced that part of your journey yet. Try explaining to them that you’re expecting a complex emotional experience, but that it’s hard to guess what, exactly, it will feel like until it happens.
  • Ensure them that you have a team of medical experts, psychologists and peers at your disposal as well. If the person is genuinely concerned about your wellbeing, the knowledge that you have a thick support network can help them cope with what may seem like an impossible task for their own lives.

Remember that if you do experience anxiety about the separation, you always have your case specialist or Growing Generations co-owner and psychologist Dr. Kim Bergman to talk with.

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.