Why Having A Surrogate Can Be Stressful
When discussing surrogacy, it’s important to distinguish the two very different types: there is traditional and gestational. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is in fact the biological mother of the baby. It is her egg that is fertilized by the sperm of the father. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is purely like an oven for the bun. It is not her egg being used—the intended mother’s egg is used, combined with the intended father’s sperm. This is the most common method of surrogacy today, since the traditional form can have so many legal and emotional complications. Gestational surrogacy is more of a “clean deal,” if you will. Even still, only about 750 babies are born per year via gestational surrogacy. Perhaps that number remains low because, even though that baby is biologically the child of the intended parents, it’s still a very complex process. Here is why having a surrogate can be stressful.
Fear she’ll want to keep the baby
Even if you proceed with gestational surrogacy, surrogates can still develop emotional attachment to the baby they carry for nine months. Obviously, the surrogate will have no legal claim to the baby, but if she begins to develop a desire to keep the baby and a resistance to letting go, it creates tension on the mom/dad/surrogate relationship.
Fear she’ll want to visit the child
If you do go with the traditional surrogacy, then matters are even more complicated. The surrogate is the biological mother. In order for a woman to not want to know her child, she has to resist thousands of years of DNA that tell her you must be near your child. But it would be very confusing for your child to learn she has three parents.
Monitoring her diet
You’ll want some agency in what your surrogate eats. You want her to avoid certain foods said to negatively affect pregnancy, and eat the foods that aid in a healthy pregnancy. But you aren’t with her at every single meal, so you can’t possibly control this.
Keeping up with doctors appointments
It’s hard enough to find time in your schedule to make the frequent doctors appointments that come with pregnancy. If you have a surrogate, you have to coordinate the schedules of multiple individuals.
Wanting to control her social life
You can’t help, as the intended mother, to want to control who spends time around your growing fetus. You feel that everyone that comes near your baby brings their energy to your baby. You want to tell your surrogate who she can and can’t be around, but you really don’t have that say.
Wanting to control her activities
You want your surrogate to be totally safe all of the time. If it were up to you, she’d live in a bubble, in your house, never going anywhere near harm’s way. But your surrogate still needs to live her life. She needs to cross the street and grocery shop like everyone else.
If she travels…
You can technically put whatever you want in a contract with a surrogate, but most people don’t demand their surrogate stay in town for all nine months of the pregnancy. That being said, they really want to.
Fear you aren’t bonding with the baby
It’s only natural for a mother to fear that important bonding happens during pregnancy, and that she isn’t having that bonding time if she isn’t carrying the baby. But don’t worry—you will bond with your baby. You’ll have a lifetime to do that.
Fear of missing out on giving birth
It is true that when a woman gives birth, her body releases chemicals that make her feel attached to her baby. So naturally, this is something intended mothers may feel they miss out on. But, for the record, even moms who do deliver their babies often struggle to bond with them at first. There’s no guarantee that delivery=bonding.
You’ll spend a lot of time together
You’re going to spend a lot of time around your surrogate. How could you not? She’s carrying your baby. So hopefully you like her. But not everyone gets the chance to know their surrogate’s personality very well before insemination.
The strange father/surrogate relationship
Even if it is a gestational surrogacy and the egg is yours, you can’t help but develop a little jealousy surrounding your partner and the surrogate. He’ll be so attentive to her and caring of her. You’ll feel like why don’t I get that attention right now?
Friends don’t ask about it
Your friends will forget to ask how the pregnancy is going, because it isn’t in their face. They probably don’t see the surrogate. When you meet up with friends, you’re just a non-pregnant woman, so they don’t remember to ask about that major thing happening in your life.
Family can judge it
It’s fairly common for the intended grandparents to really resist surrogacy. They can feel precious around who is involved in making their grandchildren, and they prefer it’s just their biological child and son or daughter-in-law.
It can be quite expensive
If you are paying for a surrogate, it can be very expensive. You had only planned on budgeting for having a baby but not for making a baby. With the going rate of surrogacy between $30,000 and $50,000, it’s no small expense.
If she’s free, you pay a different price
While you can opt for someone you know—like a friend or family member—and receive free surrogacy, that has its own complications. At least when you pay a surrogate, the expectations are clear. She does this for you, and you hand her money. If someone you know acts as a surrogate and doesn’t charge you, you can feel forever indebted to her.