Choosing to go with a surrogate mother to have a child is usually not the first choice for couples wanting to start a family. In many cases, surrogacy is considered only after multiple failed attempts by a couple, or if the couple is advised that attempting a traditional pregnancy could endanger the mother, the child, or both. Sometimes, surrogacy may be recommended if it’s clear that no traditional childbirth is possible, such as when a mother has already had her uterus removed for health reasons, or if a same-sex couple is male, and bearing child isn’t biologically possible for either partner.
However, deciding to go with a surrogate mother means having to learn a lot of new things, especially about surrogacy itself. There’s a lot of information surrounding surrogacy, but, unfortunately, some of it is unreliable. The best way to decide whether surrogacy is right for you is to separate the facts from the myths, so here is some of the truth and some of the misconception surrounding surrogacy.
Only The Rich Can Do It
Some celebrities have taken the surrogacy route, such as Elton John, or even Nicole Kidman, and that can easily perpetuate the myth that surrogacy is something only available to the rich. This is not true; you don’t have to be a billionaire—or even a millionaire—to be able to afford surrogacy. However, that does not mean that surrogacy is cheap.
Surrogacy is, after all, an extra effort, and that means it requires extra financial investment as well. You can expect, at a minimum, that a surrogacy attempt will run tens of thousands of American dollars. However, different surrogate situations will change the final amount a couple spends on a surrogacy attempt. For example, a couple that goes with a traditional/altruistic surrogacy, using the surrogate mother’s egg and artificial insemination, will have a lower cost than a family that flies from another country to California. This other hopeful family uses the latest In Vitro Fertilization techniques, has pre-implantation genetic screening, and uses top-flight medical support and hospital to supervise the birth, so the cost goes up dramatically.
There Will Be Difficulty Bonding With The Baby
One fear that some parents have is that because the hopeful mother didn’t nurture the child within her own womb, this means that a traditional close, emotional bond hasn’t been established, and so the relationship with the child will never be as strong.
Fortunately, this is definitely a myth, with no basis in reality whatsoever. Fathers, for example, do not give birth to a child, and yet the love between a father and child is just as strong. The same holds true for adopted children, who grow up in families even when it’s obvious there is no genetic connection. The emotional bond between a parent and child is not at all dependent on nurturing a child in one’s own womb. If that were the case, all natural born children would always get along with their parents, and all adopted children would always have bad relationships with their parents, but neither case is true.
Surrogacy Is Illegal
This is where things get much more complicated. Surrogacy being an illegal activity is both a fact and a myth, because it depends on where in the world you live, sometimes even in which part of a country you live in. Some countries, such as Georgia, have completely legalized surrogacy so that couples can find a surrogate, form an agreement, and have the legal protection of knowing the child is considered theirs, and not the birth mothers.
However, then there are other countries, such as France and Germany, where any kind of surrogacy is considered illegal, so the hopeful parents have no rights and no custody to the child, only the birth mother does. Still, other countries fall “somewhere in between.” Canada, for example, has legalized altruistic surrogacy only, in every province except Quebec, where it is still banned.
The Surrogate Mother Will Take The Child
It is true that carrying a child from conception to birth is no small undertaking. However, with proper experience, preparation, and even counseling, a surrogate mother is ready to take on the role she agrees to, and then relinquish the newborn to its intended parents. If this is done through the help of an experienced agency, the experience is always a smooth one.
While it’s true that not everything always goes according to plan, the odds of a surrogate mother changing her mind and trying to retain custody of a child are very small. Legally, once the agreement is made, it is impossible for the surrogate mother to keep a child but, historically, in the USA for example, of 30,000 gestational surrogate births, only 26 surrogates changed their mind, which less than 1%. If you find an agency that offers the right services, you’ll be assured of a successful experience.