Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman carries and bears a child for another person.
People opt for surrogacy for different reasons. These reasons might range from medical conditions which make it difficult for some women to conceive naturally to, helping same-sex couples or single people make use of gestational surrogacy to complete their families.
Commissioning couples put in a lot of effort and money in hiring a surrogate mother for their baby. For intended mothers, surrogacy might be a mixture of a lot of emotions: relief, joy, hope, gratitude for the uterus donor but for some women, especially those hiring a surrogate due to medical reasons, it might result in a feeling of guilt. The feeling of being a failure might cause them to, eventually, start resenting the donor.
The couple or individual hiring a surrogate is often asked questions like why they want to have a baby this way rather than adopting out of so many orphans. This social pressure and judgment from peers can cause a lot of stress for the adoptive parents.
The adoptive parents are also concerned about the emotional attachment of the child to them. They fear that the child might not be as emotionally attached to them as a child born through natural pregnancy. For this reason, most couples try to stay connected to the surrogate mother for the term of pregnancy.
Gestational surrogacy is a complicated process and involves an overwhelming legal process. These stressful medical procedures and legal work put a lot of strain on both the surrogate mother and the adoptive parents.
Like in the case of a normal pregnancy, one does not know how the process of surrogate pregnancy will affect them until they go through with it. Sometimes the commissioning parents have to relinquish control and trust the surrogate mother, which might prove difficult for them. There is no hard and fast right or wrong, but openness and transparency are recommended throughout the journey.
Choosing to have a baby is a huge step in one’s life. This step becomes even more huge when one opts to have a baby for someone else. Surrogacy is a huge responsibility for the uterus donor, which involves tackling a rollercoaster of emotions before and after the pregnancy.
There have been only a few studies into the social and psychological impacts of surrogacy. Still, surrogate pregnancy is often considered a high-risk emotional experience for surrogate mothers. Surrogate mothers should receive professional counseling before and after the pregnancy.
Opting to become a uterus donor is physically demanding. In addition to pregnancy's typical physical challenges, surrogate mothers need to undergo additional screenings and lengthy and complicated fertility treatment. It often takes a year or more to complete the whole process and requires a lot of commitment.
The use of assisted reproductive technology(ART) may have lasting emotional effects on the ovule-donor mother. Surrogate mothers might develop emotional bonding with their fetus during pregnancy, and hence it might become difficult for them to hand over the child to intending parents.
There is a high risk of postpartum depression in surrogate mothers. They often experience feelings of guilt and anger both before and after they give up the babies to the commissioning parents.
Some women undergo surrogacy because of financial troubles without having full knowledge of the emotional and social consequences of the process.
Surrogate mothers are often reported to be concerned about babies having abnormalities due to the assisted reproductive technological process used for the baby's conception. Young and financially strained uterus donors are concerned more about the possibility because they have no idea what they would do with a baby with abnormalities if the commissioning parents don’t want it.
In cases where the surrogate mother is a married woman, the strain on husband and wife's marital relations is often observed. Husbands of ovule-donor mothers have reported that they cannot have sexual intercourse with their wife because somebody else’s baby is in her belly.
Surrogate mothers, if they have other children, find it very hard to explain why they would not be taking the baby home with them and why they have to give ‘their baby’ to somebody else. Mothers were also reported to be concerned about how their children would view them once they knew the truth about the pregnancy.
In cases where the uterus donor experience any health problems like bleeding during pregnancy, they become more concerned for the money rather than their own and the fetus’s health. Any concern showed from the side of commissioning parents is taken as a pressure, further adding to the worries of the surrogate mother.
One must also not forget the controversial social aspect of surrogacy. More often than not, surrogate mothers are frowned upon by society. This results in emotional tumult and adverse effects on the psychological health of the uterus donor.
Some donor mothers are forced to hide the truth about their pregnancy for fear of social censure. They often attribute the pregnancy to their husbands and then announce a stillborn at the end of pregnancy. Some women are also found to stop socializing with friends and relatives until they deliver the baby to the commissioning parents.
A lack of a written contract is a point of concern for the surrogate mothers. They fear what would happen to their money if they miscarry or if the adoptive parents renege on the contract.
In rare cases, surrogate mothers receive money only after they deliver the baby. The uterus donors who are under financial strains have to ask for money from the commissioning parents throughout the pregnancy; otherwise, they might not be able to spend on food and prenatal medications adequately.
Whether you are considering to be a gestational carrier or commissioning parents, it is suggested that you seek help from surrogacy professionals like a surrogacy agency to avoid any complications. Surrogacy counseling is also advised before, during, and after the process to prevent any emotional struggle.
Parents and surrogates need all the social support they can, and seeking comfort in people who are also going through the same process must be considered. Online surrogacy support groups are a forum that helps both the surrogate mother and the commissioning couple. Reach out for support, and don’t think that you are alone in the journey.