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

It’s an irksome misconception about surrogacy that we hear all the time.

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 not as not as uncommon as one might think. Many who believe this argue that surrogacy commoditizes women as purchasable items as opposed to people. This is objectively false, at least when surrogacy is properly done, and can be deeply offensive to the women who volunteer to help change the lives of the families they will help. Because we respect all our surrogates and believe them to be some of the most incredible women we’ve ever met, this misconception is one that we’re passionate about dispelling.Surrogacy is not a commoditization of women. It’s a partnership between several parties of educated, informed, and stable adults working together towards a common goal. This level of informed consent and ethical standards is paramount to surrogacy done well.

GG surrogates are women who have become mothers themselves and have enjoyed the process of 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 they would have chosen to become surrogates even if compensation was unavailable.

Motivated by altruistic measures, these women are not seeking fiscal gain. We investigate this during our in-depth screening process. 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. Our surrogates are women who are financially stable without the added compensation of surrogacy, and who do not need this level of income to survive. 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 these women are vetted and counseled long before signing any 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 can back out of an agreement at any before to 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 receive their own legal representative to ensure that everyone’s needs can be addressed and considered before moving forward into a binding contract. This ensures that, even if she is not fluent in legal jargon, every surrogate understands what she is agreeing to, and has the opportunity to have those requests amended or even removed from her 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.