If you’re considering becoming a surrogate mother, abortion may be one of the pressing topics that you have on your mind. Whether you stand firmly on one side of the debate about this medical procedure or the other — or you have never thought about your opinion on the matter — termination of pregnancy is not an issue that can be ignored in gestational surrogacy. In fact, it will be a procedure discussed at length before you finalize your match with the intended parents in a legal surrogacy contract.
In an ideal situation, termination of pregnancy never has to occur. The embryo transferred to a carrier’s uterus would be healthy, implant successfully and develop according to medical standards. However, this isn’t the case in all gestational pregnancies, which is why pregnancy termination must be discussed in every surrogacy journey before any medical procedures can begin.
Remember, every intended parent and surrogacy professional is different, so the information presented here may not apply to every gestational surrogacy journey. However, many people in the surrogacy industry do hold certain standards when it comes to gestational surrogates, abortion and how to proceed with this important issue.
Why Intended Parents May Be Open to Termination or Selective Termination
In many surrogacy journeys, any decisions regarding pregnancy termination or selective reduction fall to the intended parents. This is understandable; while the gestational surrogate is the one carrying the pregnancy, the intended parents are the ones who will take custody and responsibility of any children resulting from the surrogacy.
Most intended parents who pursue surrogacy have already spent thousands of dollars and many months trying other infertility treatments before choosing this path. Because of this, they want a first pregnancy to be successful as possible. After all, they are spending thousands more dollars to have a woman carry their child for them — so they want to reduce the likelihood for complications prior to starting the process.
For many intended parents, this means terminating unhealthy pregnancies or selectively reducing pregnancies in which more than one egg implants. This is often not a light decision for intended parents to make — but, after speaking with their reproductive endocrinologist, they understand that these procedures can make it more likely for a healthy, happy baby to be born from their surrogate pregnancy.
Gestational surrogacy is often the only way for intended parents to have a biological child, and this journey might be their last shot. Therefore, it’s understandable that they want as healthy a child as possible. If an embryo is unhealthy or is not developing properly, they often choose to terminate that pregnancy to give themselves the best chance at the child they have dreamed about forever.
On the other hand, if an embryo transfer results in multiple embryos implanted, intended parents may choose to selectively reduce the number of embryos in a surrogate’s uterus. Carrying multiple children is much riskier for both the pregnant woman and the babies she carries, so reducing a multiples pregnancy to a singleton pregnancy allows for a higher chance of a healthy baby born nine months later.
When intended parents are in search of a surrogate mother, abortion and selective reduction are often two of the most important details to agree upon for a positive, respectful relationship moving forward. Therefore, it’s something you’ll need to think hard about before starting this life-changing journey.
How These Issues are Discussed
If you choose to become a surrogate, abortion and selective reduction are issued that will be discussed several times in your journey: when you first sign with your surrogacy professional, when you match with intended parents, and when you create a surrogacy contract with an experienced surrogacy attorney.
If you are working with a surrogacy agency to find intended parents, your professional will take your termination and selective reduction preferences into account when presenting you with potential parents to carry for. But, this won’t be the only conversation you have about this issue — if you decide you want to move forward with that family, your lawyer will speak in depth with the intended parents’ lawyers about this topic while creating your legal contract.
Your contract will not simply state whether or not termination and selective reduction will occur. Instead, you and the intended parents will discuss specific situations (such as a Down’s syndrome diagnosis, a multiple pregnancy, and more) and what will be done in each of these situations. In most of the disputed cases regarding gestational surrogates and abortion, these specifics were not discussed in the legal contract — so make sure they are in yours, regardless of your personal opinion on termination of pregnancy.
If you are uncomfortable with termination and selective reduction, you may have to wait longer to find intended parents who share your surrogacy preferences. If your intended parents still wish to proceed with your match, there will likely be a clause in your contract that requires you to take responsibility for any pregnancy and resulting child(ren) should you refuse to abide with the intended parents’ wishes to terminate or reduce the gestational pregnancy. Consider this hard, and make sure to include your spouse and family, as the decision to take on this responsibility will affect them, too.
Why Professionals Advise Carriers to Be Open to Termination and Reduction
If you’re considering becoming a surrogate, abortion and selective reduction is something that you should think hard about. In many surrogacy situations, you will be required to abide by the intended parents’ wishes, even if it may not have been the path you would take yourself. You’ll need to consider your feelings about selective reduction and termination before you even match with intended parents to prevent either party from wasting time and energy on a match that will not succeed.
If you decide that you are not comfortable with termination or selective reduction, regardless of the circumstances, becoming a surrogate may not be the right path for you. While there are surrogacy professionals who will work with you if you have these convictions, it may be harder for you to find intended parents who are comfortable having you carry their child. A surrogate is certainly an active partner in the surrogacy journey — but she is following this path to help intended parents. Therefore, it’s important that she shares the same surrogacy goals and wishes as them, not the other way around.
If you are worried about how your views on selective reduction and termination may affect your ability to be a gestational carrier, you should contact a surrogacy professional. They can answer any questions you may have about the medical requirements of surrogacy and help you determine whether surrogacy is really the right path for you. If you cannot accept the possibility of these medical procedures, you may find that helping intended parents in another way — such as through egg donation — is the best choice for you.