How Do I Explain Surrogacy to my Family?

Understanding Surrogacy - What Is Surrogacy?

Surrogacy is the act of carrying a child that will not be considered one's own after birth. It is a process that is in service of individuals or couples which are unable to have children safely but want to have them. It is through the good work of Surrogate Mothers that thousands of couples can start a family through the altruism of a third party.

There are many reasons why surrogate births are performed. For example, some women are unable to give birth without severe potential life-threatening issues which put the mother or child's health at risk. Some women fail to conceive, in spite of producing healthy eggs. A third reason why Surrogacy is used as a child-birth option is in the case of male same-sex couples that are interested in having children which have a biological connection to one-another.

Types of Surrogacy

There are different forms of Surrogacy. If the Surrogate mother is being paid for her services for carrying or giving birth, this is known as Commercial Surrogacy. In other cases, the woman does not receive payment, doing so as an act of charity—this is called Altruistic Surrogacy

For Same-Sex Men, there are two more classifications for Surrogacy—Traditional Surrogacy and Gestational Surrogacy. In the case of Traditional Surrogacy, the Surrogate Mother is the provider of the egg and is artificially inseminated. With Gestational Surrogacy, the egg-donor is not the Surrogate Mother.

The Surrogacy Process

Surrogacy is a big decision, and it's important that any woman that intends to be a surrogate mother make their decision not only with their own life and the life of the child in mind but considering the needs of the entire family. It's easy to be consumed with the desire to facilitate the life of a new, healthy child, but things go smoothest when everyone is on board.

After the decision has been made to join in on the Surrogacy Process, a thorough screening process is conducted, which includes fully informing everyone involved regarding what they can expect from their experience with Surrogacy.

Unless the individuals participating in the Surrogate Process have personal reasons for joining in the birth of a new child, then it is strongly suggested to work with a 3rd party to find the ideal Surrogacy Candidates, whether you are a mother looking to help bear a child or a couple looking to find an excellent Surrogate. There are numerous Gestational Surrogacy Agencies available which aid in this process and can contribute to ensuring that the process is ideal for all parties involved.

The Complexities of Becoming a Surrogate Mother

To fulfill your duties faithfully as a Surrogate Mother, your significant other should be an active participant in the process. Without understanding your needs and what the process of Surrogacy entails, what would normally be an experience to help another couple and grow closer to your partner in the process could quickly become a frustrating and fretful ordeal. Before you are approved for Surrogacy, your family will be screened by a counselor, and you'll undergo a full interview to gather information and ensure that you are an ideal fit as a Surrogate Mother. You'll also be required to sign legal documents which prove that you consent to your role as a Surrogate Mother.

It's absolutely necessary for your family to be completely on board with your decision to become a Surrogate because it is a process which requires the support of your family. Support not only concerning the emotional weight of Surrogacy but because there will be times during your pregnancy where the assistance of those that you love will be absolutely necessary. The primary responsibility of Surrogacy will obviously be your own, but for the sake of everyone involved, your spouse or partner will play a powerful role in the whole process.

How to Inform and Involve Your Children in the Surrogacy Process

If you are planning to be a Surrogate Mother and you already have kids, this can be a fulfilling prospect for the entire family if the process is undergone in the right frame of mind. It's important to remember the age of your children when thinking about how to explain what is happening. It's important that the children understand as best that they can that you are helping out another family by carrying a child for them, and that the child is not their brother or sister. There are countless books designed to teach about Surrogacy that have been written with various age-groups in mind.

It is also vital to establish the lines that will be drawn after birth regarding the future of the Surrogate Family and the Intended Parents. Often, the Surrogate Family and the child's family stay in contact long after the Surrogate Process is complete. For example, the Surrogate Parents may become the God Parents after birth. Other times, the families will cease contact after the child is born. It's important that the children understand what their role will be throughout the entire process, to minimize the emotional issues that could result from misunderstanding.

Work with a Surrogacy Agency to Streamline and Smooth the Process

Of course, there are agencies that can help make it easier for the entire family to get through the Surrogacy Process. There are some non-profit groups such as Parents through Surrogacy that have been invaluable resources to families nationwide. There are also other groups such as ConceiveAbilities which help match Surrogates with Intended Parents that are interested in starting or growing a family with the support of a Surrogate Mother.

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