Coming to Terms With Surrogacy

The choice to create or grow your family with a surrogate can be an emotional challenge. For women specifically, the idea that you need to depend on another woman to help bring your child into this world can be a struggle. With a little positive self-talk and reflection, however, you may begin to see surrogacy as a unique experience that, while perhaps not your first choice, offers a unique and very special transition into the world of motherhood. Here are a few pointers to help you clear your head and get into the right mindset for surrogacy.

Let it Go

Whether you’ve tried every other option out there to conceive on your own or surrogacy is your first and only option, the choice to use a surrogate can sometimes come with a host of negative emotions. Some intended mothers are disappointed and frustrated with their bodies if they were not able to conceive on their own. Sometimes these negative feelings are then carried forward into this new adventure. The result is that you could completely miss the beautiful ride that surrogacy can be.

While these feelings are completely normal, it’s important to forgive yourself and work on releasing any negative feelings you may have had about your family-making process prior to surrogacy. This is a new day, a new way, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure this time there is a different outcome. Forgiving yourself before embarking on your journey will free you up to enjoy the pregnancy in a unique way not many soon-to-be mothers get to experience.

At the end of the day, what matters is that you never gave up. No matter if your child grows inside of your uterus or that of a surrogate, your child was born in your heart long ago, and you’ve already been fighting for them. Your route to motherhood may be the road less traveled, but that doesn’t make it any less legitimate.


Know What You Want

Remember that a surrogacy is a partnership between a group of informed, consenting adults. All parties enter into this agreement with the same goal in mind: creating a child for your family. While you may need the help of a surrogate to make your dream a reality, it does not mean that you need to bend to every suggestion. It’s incredibly important to be honest and truthful about what you want during the matching, contracting, and pregnancy stages of your journey. Be honest about the type of surrogate you want, the relationship you hope to have, and any behaviors you’d like her to limit, exclude, or work into her life as part of the surrogacy. Of course, she can always say no – this is a partnership, not a business transaction – but you don’t have to lose your voice in the process, either.


Go with the Flow

As you will soon learn, kids rarely do what you are expecting them to. Surrogacy is no different. Don’t expect this process to work any certain way before getting started. There are simply too many independently moving cogs for your actual journey to mimic the one you’ve been imagining, and hoping for that can set you up for disappointment.

Instead, come to the process with an open heart, an open mind, and a lot of patience. This will help you enjoy your experience when things get frustrating. If a transfer fails, or if there is a delay in progress, understanding at the onset that this process more closely resembles a marathon than a sprint will help you keep your head up.

Finally, take pride in your choice to use surrogacy to grow your family. It’s a great big endeavor that can be intimidating to many, but you’re doing it. You’re taking on this adventure because you’re the type of parent who will do anything for her children. We applaud you, and can’t wait to help you get started.

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.