Telling Your Kids That You’re a Surrogate

Telling your children that you are becoming a surrogate can seem almost as scary as telling your parents. This is news that will impact their lives in a big way, and how these young people handle the news will impact your life in a big way.

How you approach the topic will vary greatly based on a number of factors including your children’s ages and personality types. The overriding theme should always be to provide open, clear, and age appropriate information in an honest way that encourages empathy and communication.

No one likes to be the last to know something. This is especially true of our families. It’s best to let your kids know what’s going on earlier rather than later for a variety of reasons. Early sharing gives them time to think about the situation, decide how they feel about your decision and, if they have questions, time to get appropriate answers.

You also don’t want to overwhelm your kids. You can begin to talk to your kids about your choice by working it into daily conversations a little at a time. Start with an abridged version of exactly what’s happening in excited and affirmative tones. When your children see that this is a choice you’re sure of and excited to pursue, they’ll likely approach it with excitement as well. Work in smaller details, your out of town trips and why you’re taking so many medications now, a little at a time to avoid information and emotion overload.

Be sure to consider your children’s feelings. Know that whatever those feelings are, be they joy, confusion, jealousy or anger over not getting a new sibling, they’re all acceptable. Give your kids some room to breathe and take in the situation before expecting them to talk about it openly.

Encourage your children to ask questions about everything. From the medical process to what happens after the birth, allowing them to be curious and to get honest answers to those curiosities will make the process a bit less intimidating.

If you need help starting the conversation or answering some of the wild questions your kids will no doubt come up with, feel free to enlist the help of your case specialist.

(Photo credit: Naomi Pierce Photography)

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 22 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for the last 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 of Reproductive Medicine, the American Fertility Association, 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 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 created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 28 years and their two teenage daughters.