Yes I’m Pregnant, No It’s Not Mine

Being pregnant can be hard work.  Getting and remaining pregnant for someone else? That’s even harder!  On top of normal pregnancy issues like nausea and just plain discomfort, surrogates have to undergo months of careful monitoring, blood draws and hormone injections.  The final straw is often the ridiculous things people say to surrogates; a sense of humor is a definite requirement to be one!

Isn’t using a surrogate for celebrities and women who just don’t want to get fat?

While I’m sure there are a very small number of cases where that is true, the general rule is that people do not use a gestational surrogate out of vanity.  This is an option for people who have no other choice.  Some couples have struggled with infertility (either of known or unknown origin) for years, some have had events or illnesses in their life that make it impossible to carry a child, and finally, in the case of gay men, they are missing a vital “part” to carry a baby.  Everyone deserves to have a family if they want one.

How much are they paying you?  You must be getting rich!

First, not all surrogates are compensated; many act altruistically.  It’s illegal in some states to compensate for surrogacy.  Second, did anyone teach you manners?  Finally, for those surrogates that are compensated, if you add up all the time, effort and discomfort they put in to a job that is 24/7, it’s really not that much money.  It’s definitely far less than minimum wage.

Why don’t they just adopt?

I’m always fascinated that this question is asked most often by people who have biological children of their own.  Why didn’t *you* just adopt is what I want to turn around and ask?  Do you think there is a magic easy button for people to adopt?  It doesn’t work that way.  Adoption is a very expensive, time consuming, uncertain and scary process; the biological mother can decide to keep the child up to and even a few days after the birth.  Yes, surrogacy is also expensive and does have a measure of uncertainty due to the fact that you can’t guarantee how many transfer attempts it will take for the embryo to “stick” – but at the end of the process, once a surrogate pregnancy is achieved, you *know* your child is coming home with you.

It’s not your egg but it’s your blood, won’t it be partly yours?

This just shows a basic ignorance of science.  In gestational surrogacy the woman is implanted with an embryo created from an egg from the intended mother (or a donor) and the sperm of the intended father (or a donor).  The DNA comes from the egg and sperm.  The surrogate’s blood is just the warm, nourishing bath that baby hangs out in while it grows.

Will the baby look like you?

Really?  See above regarding basic ignorance. 

I spent some time talking to a surrogate recently who relayed to me her perfect and poised response.  Every time someone notices she’s pregnant and says congratulations she says: “It’s not mine, I’m just holding it for a friend.”

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