As a surrogate, you (and your family) will often find yourselves on the front lines of the surrogacy conversation. Nothing attracts more questions, excitement, attention and congratulations than a baby bump — and as a surrogate, it can sometimes be difficult to know how to respond.
If you find yourself unsure of how to answer some of the questions thrown your way, we can help. Contact a surrogacy professional to get the guidance you need.
You will likely explain your decision and the surrogacy process to your closest friends and family members early in the process, but at some point, your pregnancy will become apparent to anyone and everyone, including neighbors, coworkers, acquaintances and even strangers.
In this article, find advice for talking to others about your surrogate pregnancy and suggestions for responding to questions and comments from friends, family members and strangers.
Deciding Who to Tell about Your Surrogacy
You will want to share varying amounts of surrogacy information with different people. There are certain people who will need to know the details of the surrogacy, including your immediate family members and other close friends in your surrogacy support system. You may want to begin telling these close friends and family members during your decision-making and planning process, as they can provide needed support during the initial stages of the medical process and pregnancy. You may wait to tell other friends and acquaintances until a healthy pregnancy is confirmed.
Surrogacy is a fascinating topic and one that nearly everyone seems to have an opinion about. When explaining your surrogacy decision, it may be helpful to walk through your decision-making process and emphasize that it was a carefully thought-out choice that will be beneficial for the intended family as well as your own. You should feel proud of your decision to become a surrogate, and it should be a story you feel confident talking about with friends and family members.
However, when it comes to strangers you meet in the grocery store or at the gym, it usually isn’t necessary to explain your surrogacy decision or the process, or even that you’re a surrogate at all — but that likely won’t stop them from asking questions about your pregnancy.
Responding to Questions about Your Surrogate Pregnancy
In most cases, you can easily answer questions about your pregnancy without lying, simply by sticking to the facts; you can honestly answer how far along you are and express your excitement for the baby to arrive without telling the whole story, for example.
In other instances, strangers may learn of your surrogate pregnancy and see it as an open invitation to ask specific and personal questions. Most are likely well-meaning strangers who are genuinely curious about the surrogacy process, but their questions may seem insensitive or even offensive, making it difficult to know how to respond.
Here is a guide to common questions surrogates might encounter, along with suggestions to answer them:
- How could you have a baby and let it go? It is true that mothers and their babies may begin to bond even before the baby is born, and people often imagine that this would make it exceedingly difficult to carry and deliver a baby, only to hand it over to another family at birth. Try to see this question as an admiration of your strength. Explain that this has been the intended parents’ baby from the beginning and that you consider yourself an early babysitter who is helping to give this child the best possible start.
- How did you get pregnant? People often don’t understand the surrogacy process or the science and medicine behind every surrogate pregnancy. They may even be curious if you and the intended father created this baby the “old-fashioned way.” Clearly explain that surrogacy involves the creation of embryos in a doctor’s office and that the entire process is very clinical. You may even add that your partner and the intended parents were all present for the embryo transfer and that you are all very excited that the transfer was a success.
- How much are you getting paid? Commercial surrogacy has sparked some controversy, and there has been an ethical debate over compensation for surrogates. Kindly explain that you are providing an incredibly valuable service that requires significant sacrifices and hard work on your part, and that you and the intended parents came to an agreement about the value of that service going into the process. If you feel comfortable, you may also explain your own motivations for pursuing surrogacy — let them know how fulfilling it is to be able to help another family in such a meaningful and compassionate way.
- What do your children think? People are uncomfortable talking about conception and birth with children, and it may be difficult for them to imagine explaining all of surrogacy’s complexities to a child. Let them know that surrogacy is a family effort and that you have involved your children in the process. You might also add that you believe you are setting a good example of selflessness, generosity and teamwork, and that this experience is encouraging a better understanding of the many wonderful ways in which families can be made.
- Can you get the baby back? Remind them that this isn’t your baby, and that your goal from the beginning has been to help complete another family. Explain that all rights belong to or will belong to the intended parents once the baby is born, and reiterate that you are just happy to be able to care for the child until he or she is ready to go home with his or her parents.
Every surrogacy experience is different, and your surrogacy story is ultimately that — yours. It is up to you to decide when, how and with whom to share it; and in doing so, hopefully you can shed some light on the often misunderstood world of surrogacy.
If you need help talking about surrogacy or addressing difficult questions, reach out to your surrogacy professional to get additional advice.