Surrogacy Doesn’t Commoditize Women. Here’s Why.

The idea that surrogates are uneducated, financially unstable women who are being led astray into an arrangement that they would not otherwise choose for themselves is an irksome misconception about surrogacy that we hear all of the time. Many who believe this line of thought argue that surrogacy commoditizes women as purchasable items as opposed to people.

As you already know, these notions are false (at least when surrogacy is done properly) and can be offensive to women like you, women who choose to volunteer to help create families. Many people struggle to understand why a woman would choose to become a surrogate if she had any other recourse.

As with so many things in life, the answer lies in education. It can be helpful to remind critics the reason why surrogacy is not a commoditization of women. Instead, surrogacy is a partnership between several parties of educated, informed, and stable adults who agree to work together towards a common goal.

As you already know, GG surrogates are women who have become mothers themselves and enjoyed pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood so much that they wish to give this gift to others. While surrogates in our program receive compensation, the majority of them tell us that they would have chosen to become surrogates even if compensation was unavailable. They are not dependent on their surrogacy compensation. This designation is paramount to understanding that surrogates are acting on free will, not as a means to survive.

Altruistic measures motivate our surrogates, not incentives or fiscal gain. Growing Generations screens our surrogates thoroughly, including taking a look at their credit and fiscal stability, to ensure that financial gains are not a motive for their choice. Additionally, we offer an appropriate compensation program that, while enticing and potentially life-changing for our surrogates, is not inappropriately lucrative.

Beyond simple financial matters, it’s also important to note that successful surrogates working with reputable agencies are vetted and counseled long before signing any legally binding paperwork or starting medications. These women undergo extensive interviews, psychological evaluations, and given the opportunity to ask as many questions as they want before they’re even approved to join our program.

Surrogates receive the opportunity to back out of an agreement at any time before becoming pregnant. We don’t force women to follow through with becoming pregnant if they change their mind. While this rarely happens, thanks in large part to proper screening, it eliminates any concerns over coercion.

Additionally, all parties have their own legal representative. This ensures everyone’s needs are addressed and considered before moving forward into a binding contract. This ensures that, even if a surrogate is not fluent in legal jargon, everyone involved understands what they are agreeing to, and have the opportunity to have those requests amended or even removed from the contract before moving forward.

When surrogate applicants are properly screened and vetted, the outcome of surrogacy is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Ethical surrogacy, that is to say, surrogacy done right, is a shining example of the mountains that can be moved when adults are informed, respectful, and working together towards a common goal.

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 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 book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019) as well as the children's book You Began as a Wish (Independent Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. She has two adult daughters.