While surrogacy is an intimate and private agreement between you and intended parents, because you are the one who is pregnant, you will be a visible representation of the surrogacy process. Therefore, at times, you’ll need to be comfortable discussing and answering questions from others about your surrogacy journey.
While a baby bump naturally attracts excitement, it can be a bit difficult to respond to conversations about your pregnancy as a surrogate. What exactly do you say, and who warrants an explanation of this personal journey?
Keep reading to find tips and suggestions for navigating these complicated discussions below.
Deciding Who (and What) to Tell About Your Surrogacy
Your surrogacy is always your business to tell, which means that you’ll get to decide exactly who you’ll share your surrogacy with — and exactly how much you share with them. Naturally, different people in your life will need to know different levels of detail about your surrogacy journey.
For example, your immediate family will need to be informed of and involved in your surrogacy from the very beginning of the process — as your decision will affect their everyday life as well as yours. Depending on your level of comfort, you may wish to include close extended family members and friends in this conversation as well. Then, they can provide the support you need during your initial stages of the screening and medical process and, ultimately, your pregnancy.
On the other hand, you may wait to tell other friends and family about your surrogacy journey until a healthy pregnancy is confirmed — as this is the point in which you’ll start receiving questions about your pregnancy and need to explain your surrogacy.
Remember, because your surrogacy journey is a personal one, you are never obligated to explain the process more than you feel comfortable doing so. That being said, know that pregnancy and surrogacy are often fascinating topics for all people, and you will likely receive some comments and questions about your own experience. People may even provide their unsolicited opinion. When you choose to tell someone about your surrogacy, you should be prepared for this.
To avoid your loved ones’ having misconceptions and confusion about surrogacy, consider walking through your decision-making process in detail and emphasizing that your decision was a carefully thought-out choice that will be beneficial for all involved. If someone is genuinely interested in learning more about your surrogacy, take that opportunity to share the details you’re comfortable with. If someone says negative or insensitive things, you have the right to end the conversation. You should always be proud of your surrogacy choice and never let anyone else belittle your decision.
Common Questions You’ll Get About Your Surrogate Pregnancy
It’s normal if you don’t tell every single person who congratulates you on your pregnancy about your surrogacy, as this detail can often require a further explanation that’s not necessary or that you’re unwilling to give. In most cases, you’ll find that a stranger commenting on your pregnancy needs no more than a smile and a “thank you.” You can always answer questions about how far along you are and your excitement without telling the whole story.
However, when strangers or even your friends and family learn about your surrogacy, they often have questions, especially if they have no prior understanding of the surrogacy process. While many of their questions are well-intentioned, you may get queries that are ignorant or insensitive, making it difficult to know how to properly respond.
To help you prepare for these conversations, we’ve listed a few of the most common questions surrogates are asked below:
- How could you give up a baby?
Even when people know that most surrogates and the babies they’re carrying aren’t related, they may wonder how you can bond with a baby for nine months and then “give them away.” Kindly explain that you entered into surrogacy not wanting another child but instead to help another family — and that you view what you are doing as “babysitting” more than anything else.
- How did you get pregnant?
The surrogacy process is complicated, and many people don’t fully understand how it works. Within your comfort zone, explain the basics of the surrogacy process: that the intended parents created an embryo and it was transferred to your uterus in a professional medical procedure. Make sure to educate if someone thinks you got pregnant the traditional way, and explain that you and your spouse (if applicable) were both equally excited about this opportunity and were present during the embryo transfer.
- How much are you getting paid?
Unfortunately, commercial surrogacy is still a controversial topic, and some people may think it’s okay to ask this question of surrogates. You never have to explain how much your surrogate compensation is; like your work salary, this is a highly personal detail. Instead, explain that you are providing a valuable service to the intended parents, and you both reached an agreement about what kind of compensation would be best in your surrogacy process. You can also add that compensation was not your primary reason for becoming a surrogate, and it’s just an advantage that protects your interests during this journey.
- Why didn’t the intended parents choose adoption?
Other people always have opinions about non-traditional family-building paths, especially if they never experienced infertility themselves. Kindly explain that not all family-building processes work for every person struggling with infertility, and the intended parents choose the path that is best for them and their goals. Close out this topic by saying you cannot discuss the details of the intended parents’ lives with others.
- How does your husband/wife feel about this?
Answer this question by saying surrogacy is not a journey that you could take without the support of your spouse — and that you are grateful they have backed your decision 100 percent. Just like you, your spouse is aware of all the details of the surrogacy process, including potential risks, and has decided to support you in making your surrogacy dreams come true.
- What do your children think?
Some people may be concerned that your children will not understand the surrogacy process, especially if the idea of discussing reproduction with children is an uncomfortable one for them. Tell them that your surrogacy is a family effort, and you made sure to explain the process to your child in an age-appropriate way before beginning. You may even mention that your child is actively involved by getting to know the intended parents, and they will meet the baby when he or she is born. Emphasize that your choice to be a surrogate is setting a great example of selflessness, generosity and teamwork for them.
- Can you get the baby back if you change your mind?
Remind them that you are not genetically related to the child that you carry, and the baby is in no way “yours,” legally or emotionally. You can explain how your surrogacy contract details the legal steps involved after the baby is born, and add that you will be thrilled to have the intended parents finally meet their baby. After all, you have no interest in having another baby.
No matter who you’re talking to about your surrogacy, remember that your surrogacy story is a personal one — and you always have the right to discuss or not discuss certain aspects of the process. However, know that you can serve as a surrogacy ambassador when you’re a surrogate, and recognize that this is a great opportunity to teach others about the joys and rewards of this beautiful family-building process.
If you need more guidance on how to discuss your surrogacy with other people, reach out to a surrogacy professional.