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Explaining the Gestational Surrogacy Process: Become an Expert at Answering 6 Common Questions About Surrogacy

Master How to Share Your Traditional vs Gestational Surrogacy Process with Confidence!

The gestational surrogacy process is a practice with roots dating back to Babylonian law in order to avoid inevitable divorce (Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences, 2018). Despite its historical significance, the decision and requirements to be a surrogate remains veiled in misunderstanding, often prompting unwarranted questions about surrogacy from others. Consequently, the need to explain your choices and the intricacies of your pregnancy journey is not an uncommon aspect of the gestational surrogacy process.

While it is natural for others to seek understanding, frequent questioning may also leave you doubting your own decisions and intuition. At NewGen Families, we wholeheartedly acknowledge the fulfillment that gestational surrogacy brings to the carrier, the intended parent(s) and the child to be. In order to assist new surrogates near and far, our team would like to equip you with the necessary tools to articulate the answers to common traditional vs gestational surrogacy questions.

Join us as we elucidate further on the definition of surrogacy, the requirements to be a surrogate, and more, while also preparing you on how to address five common questions you may receive as a surrogate. It is time to embrace the true essence of the gestational surrogacy process!

Question 1: “Do surrogates share DNA with the baby?”

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This question may appear absurd and, perhaps, even funny to those who are familiar with the gestational surrogacy process. Nevertheless, we must remain empathetic to those who are unclear of the true definition of surrogacy and may be left wondering whether gestational carriers actually share DNA with the intended child.

To clarify, the answer to the question is no; the baby does not share DNA with their gestational surrogate. However, it does depend on the type of surrogacy arranged.

In order to be well-prepared for such inquiries, we would like to take a moment to briefly discuss the different types of surrogacy practices available – namely traditional vs gestational surrogacy. So, the next time you find yourself 4-months pregnant with someone else’s child, you can confidently address this question when it arises. 

The Definition of Surrogacy: Traditional vs Gestational Surrogacy

As stated earlier, surrogacy in its basic form has been historically documented as a practice dating back to Babylonian law. According to the same article, the earliest known account of surrogacy is attributed to Hagar, a servant in the biblical Book of Genesis, who bore a child for Sarah and Abraham. 

Surrogacy practices today can be explained as the act of carrying a baby for someone else so they can be the parent(s) they always dreamed of becoming. 

Essentially, the surrogacy process provides an option for infertility and can be utilized by intended parent(s) “without a uterus, with uterine anomalies preventing pregnancies, with serious medical problems, or with other contraindications for pregnancy”. It is also a technique available for gay couples and single men to achieve dreams of fatherhood (Ibid.). 

Surrogacy can be divided into two main categories: Traditional Surrogacy, and more commonly, Gestational Surrogacy. The basic definition of traditional vs gestational surrogacy can be found below:

  • Traditional Surrogacy: The surrogate in traditional surrogacy serves as both the egg donor and the gestational carrier of the baby. The embryos are formed through a procedure known as intrauterine insemination (IUI), using sperm from the intended parent or a donor. In this case, the surrogate shares DNA with the newborn but will not necessarily be the legal guardian of the Intended Child.
  • Gestational Surrogacy: The surrogate in gestational surrogacy is not the biological egg provider, but will still carry a fetus throughout pregnancy. In gestational surrogacy, the embryo is transferred to the surrogate via a process called in vitro fertilization (IVF), and the gestational carrier will give birth to a baby on behalf of another person or couple.

Even though it may be frustrating to be confronted with a straightforward question, such as “Do surrogates share DNA with the baby?”, we encourage our surrogates to utilize the definition of traditional vs gestational surrogacy above and embrace it as an opportunity to dispel common misconceptions surrounding surrogacy

Question 2: “How can you give your baby away?”

Following the advice above, questions about giving ‘your baby’ away typically come from a lack of understanding of the gestational surrogacy process. On this occasion, it is important to remain level-headed and respond matter-of-factly; you cannot give away a baby that was never yours.

We suggest answering by explaining the stages of the surrogacy Process. You can begin by demonstrating how you were professionally matched with the intended parent(s) of your choice. Even before you begin your journey to become a surrogate, the parental rights of the intended parent(s) are reiterated. Therefore, your role as a gestational carrier requires you to embrace your responsibility to carry and nurture the baby on behalf of someone else. If you would like to get technical, you can also state how the best agencies walk their surrogates through the relevant legal procedures and requirements to be a surrogate, i.e. the Gestational Carrier Agreement and the Parental Rights Court Order, so all parties involved are emotionally and legally protected and prepared for the journey ahead.

Question 3: “How do surrogates get pregnant?” 

Gestational Surrogacy

Those unfamiliar with IVF and IUI processes may take a second and ask you, “Wait, so how do surrogates get pregnant?”. As discussed earlier, the surrogacy process can be categorized into traditional vs gestational surrogacy. The response to the question above is dependent on the relevant definition of surrogacy you are addressing. 

Still, facing such direct inquiries can be uncomfortable and leave you feeling judged, especially if someone brings their own presumptions about traditional methods of conceiving a baby to the discussion (if you know what I mean). 

As we highlighted earlier, the key to handling these questions about surrogacy gracefully is to be well-informed about both the traditional vs gestational surrogacy process in general. And that includes the medical side of it, too. That way, you can be prepared to respond confidently if that is what you wish to do. Discover more about IVF and Embryo Transfer procedures in gestational surrogacy!

Question 4: “But… what do your family think?”

This is another of the common surrogacy questions that pops up when discussing one’s decision to become a surrogate with others. To some, it is absolutely unfathomable for a mother or partner to choose to sacrifice their time and body, if it is not for the sake of their own family.

However, surrogacy should be respected at a minimum, like any other form of work, one that can significantly improve the quality of life of the gestational carrier’s family. For example, a study published in BMC Woman’s Help reported that 94% of Surrogate respondents would encourage other women to pursue gestational surrogacy as well (2018). 

“Some declared that surrogacy allowed them to do something good in their life: helping a childless couple whom they thought were in distress, or being a better mother by investing in their own children’s future” (BMC Woman’s Help, 2018).

These surrogacy question acts as an opportunity to share the positive impact the gestational surrogacy process can have on the Intended Parents, as well as the joy it can bring to a family that is struggling with fertility challenges. 

Question 5: “How much does a surrogate make?”

Just as it is considered impolite to inquire about someone’s salary in a typical ‘9-5’ job, it is equally inappropriate to question a surrogate about their earnings. Nevertheless, surrogacy questions like, “How much does a surrogate make?” is a topic that occasionally arises in conversations concerning commercial surrogacy.

The concept of commercial surrogacy has been a subject of debate over the years, with concerns raised about the potential exploitation of meaningful life experiences, such as giving birth, for financial gain. It’s important to note that gestational carriers should never be obliged to disclose their earnings. 

If you are comfortable, we encourage you to use these questions about surrogacy as a chance to explain your own motivations for becoming a surrogate, beyond financial considerations and leaning more toward altruistic intentions.

In commercial surrogacy, organization’s like NewGen Families – Surrogacy Agency play a vital role in safeguarding the interests of both the intended parent(s) and the gestational carrier. As an organization, our mission is to provide our clients with comprehensive resources, guidance, and the freedom to shape their surrogacy experience with their own values and aspirations.

Question 6: How many times can you be a surrogate?

This is one of the surrogacy questions not just about the physical ability to carry multiple pregnancies, but also encompasses the emotional, legal, and medical considerations involved in repeated surrogacy journeys.

First and foremost, the physical health and well-being of the surrogate are paramount. Medical professionals will typically advise someone on how many times they can be a gestational carrier based on their own medical history, including the delivery of their own children (if applicable). These recommendations will be grounded on the medical requirements to be a surrogate, as well as the understanding that each pregnancy, while a beautiful journey, may also pose risks to an individual’s body.

Gestational surrogacy is not merely a physical process, either; it involves a deep emotional commitment. Repeated surrogacy requires the surrogate to consistently demonstrate emotional resilience and stability. Agencies and medical professionals often conduct thorough psychological evaluations before each surrogacy journey to ensure that the surrogate is mentally prepared for the experience.

Legally, however, there are no set limits on how many times you can be a surrogate. It is important to note, however, that surrogacy laws and regulations vary significantly across different states and countries, where some regions may have specific guidelines or restrictions regarding repeated surrogacy. Potential surrogates need to be well-informed about the legal landscape in their area for both the traditional & gestational surrogacy process.

The decision to embark on multiple surrogacy journeys should always be a deeply personal one. It’s a choice that should be made after careful consideration of the physical, emotional, and familial implications. Many surrogates find great fulfilment in helping multiple families grow, while others may choose to limit their experience to one or two journeys.

Learn More on the Requirements to Be a Surrogate

Ultimately, the best way to answer any of the surrogacy questions above is to remain well-informed on the gestational surrogacy process, what it means to YOU to become a surrogate, and, of course, familiarize yourself with the difference between traditional vs gestational surrogacy.

By being knowledgeable in these areas, you can confidently communicate your intentions as a Gestational Surrogate and help others achieve their dreams of becoming parents.

Contact us if you think you are ready to make a lasting impact in the world of surrogacy, or would like to learn more on the requirements to be a surrogate!

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