Most women will tell you that when pregnant, it seems as if no personal question is off limits when it comes to your health, the baby and pregnancy in general. Perfect strangers see your pregnant belly as an open invitation to ask details about your medical history, or how you’re doing emotionally. Some questions are out of pure curiosity, and some are from people who are downright nosey… But what if that pregnant woman is a surrogate? Imagine the personal questions, and then imagine the shock, and explaining it over and over to everyone you come in contact with (assuming you feel like talking about it.) The normal pregnancy questions a woman would get are changed. So what are the top 5 questions a woman who is pregnant as a surrogate gets? Here is my list…
1) “Isn’t it going to be hard to give the baby away??”
Whenever I get this surrogacy question I always remind myself that the person who is asking me assumes that I will feel some type of maternal connection to the baby because that is the only frame of understanding they have with child birth. In their minds the woman who gives birth to the baby is the “mother.” With Gestational Surrogacy this is not the case. The child I am growing inside of me is not genetically my own. I know this from the very beginning. So when I prepare my body for being pregnant as a surrogate, I am also preparing my mind as well. I see the embryo placed in my uterus, and know that it is not my own baby. There is a sort of emotional detachment that is there form the beginning. I most certainly care for and love the baby I am helping to grow, but I already know the parents of this baby, and it’s not me. So instead of dreading a “give away”, I am happily anticipating a uniting of parents and child.
2) “How do you think your kids feel about all this?”
I always explain surrogacy to children in this very simple way. “The Parents are going to give Mommy their baby to help grow for a while. A Dr will put the baby in my tummy where I can keep it warm and help it grow, and then when the baby is all big and healthy Mommy will give the baby back to her Mommy and Daddy.” In a sense I explain it as a form of extreme babysitting. My kids have always accepted this very easily.
3) “Did you need to take medication to be sure your body didn’t reject the baby?”
This was a question even I had when I chose to be a surrogate. I assumed that my body would think the implanted embryo was a foreign body and reject the baby. This is not the case. My Dr. explained to me that the body cannot tell, or does not care if the baby is not genetically my own. A baby is a baby as far as my body is concerned and it will grow the child the same way it would grow my own, without need of medical intervention to prevent rejection.
4) “Will you be able to visit the baby after he/she is born?”
This answer actually varies on a case by case basis. Some Intended Parents live internationally so a visit is not easy. Some journeys end pleasantly when the baby is born, and the surrogate and Intended Parents remain in contact only through updated photos every now and then, and some situations end with a very close and almost familial relationship between the Intended Parents and the Surrogate resulting in a lifelong friendship. I have seen all of these outcomes. I always answer the questions with “I am open to whatever my IPs are comfortable with. My job finished when I hand them their healthy baby, after that the ball is in their court and I am accepting of whatever their decision is.”
5) “Will you do it again?”
I was asked this surrogacy question in my 9th month of pregnancy, and from the couch, exhausted and hot in the August heat, mid contraction I yelled “No!” But as with many pregnancies I healed and came out of the “This is the longest pregnancy ever” fog and realized that yes, I did want to be a surrogate again. Many Surrogates are repeat surrogates, or come back for a second, third, fourth or even fifth journey! This is because we all know how amazingly fulfilling it is to help create a family. Even though we all murmur and grumble in those last weeks about how we are tired, and someone’s foot (or multiple feet) is/are in our rib cage, we inevitably dream very soon about doing it again someday.
What surrogacy questions were you asked most in your Surrogacy journeys? Please feel free to let us know on our Facebook page!
Written by: Corinne Oestreich