Relationship with the Surrogate Mother

By (embryologist) and (babygest staff).
Last Update: 11/11/2016

In a surrogacy process, there are two parties involved: on the one hand, the parents, who are the couple intending to have a child, and on the other hand, the surrogate mother, who is the woman who will carry the pregnancy to term and give birth to the child of the intended parents.

Both intended parents and the surrogate herself are free to choose what type of relationship they want to have before, during and after pregnancy. As long as both parties agree to and comply with the legislation established in the country where the treatment takes place, there is no predefined rule.

Advantages of knowing the surrogate

The surrogate is going to be the woman who takes care of the baby during its first nine months of existence and therefore, many parents consider that it is fundamental to know her.

The relationship that can be established with her may be more or less personal depending on what both parties decide, but it is important that at least there is a personal interview between the intended parents and the surrogate mother. The advantages offered by this are:

  • Make sure that the surrogate has made the decision to gestate your child freely and without coercion.
  • Empathy of the surrogate mother: if the parents and the surrogate know each other, she can understand the infertility situation and empathize with them, thus favouring solidarity or emotional motivation and reducing economic motivation.
  • Pregnancy monitoring: the contact between the surrogate and the parents is a great help so that they can follow the evolution of the pregnancy in a more direct way. New technologies (Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook…) are very helpful.
  • Reduce or avoid cases of fraud and malpractice around the surrogate pregnancy, as well as situations of exploitation of women.
  • To thank the surrogate mother for the great work she does so that the future parents can achieve their dream.
  • Explain in more detail to the child their origin, as well as giving them the opportunity to know and even know personally the woman who helped their parents to bring them into the world.
  • Greater transparency of the surrogacy process

On the other hand, there are surrogates who state that they prefer not to know the intended parents under the idea that, in this way, they reduce the emotional implication and it is easier for them to deliver the baby.

As for the parents, although there are few who do not want to know the woman who is going to conceive their baby, some argue that emotionally, it is easier for them to carry out the process relying on the selection criteria of the agency.

Law on surrogacy.

Surrogacy is an emotionally and legally complicated technique whose legislation differs greatly from country to country. As for the relationship or contact between the parents and the surrogate, each law establishes its own conditions, although we can distinguish mainly two types of countries:

  • Obligatory interview with the surrogate: in some countries it is obligatory that the surrogate mother and the future parents of the baby choose each other after a first personal interview between them.
  • Optional interview with the surrogate: other countries view this interview as optional and even encourage this not to happen with the intention of protecting the intended parents from possible blackmail by the surrogate.

Anyway, we understand that nobody better than the local agencies themselves to know the reality and risks of their country, but perhaps an interview supervised by the agency itself could be the solution.

Friendship with the surrogate

Although from Babygest we recommend knowing the surrogate and having contact with her during the process, that the relationship is more or less strong and long is something entirely optional to be determined between both parties.

There are some future parents and surrogates who want to have a constant relationship. In fact, there are many cases in which intended parents, surrogate, and newborn baby have a lasting relationship, and sometimes even the surrogate mother is considered an “aunt” or “godmother” for the baby.

For many surrogate mothers, the feeling of abandonment of the baby they have gestated is less if they know the family that is going to take care of him/her and if they are convinced and sure that they are going to give him/her a good life. This avoids the uncertainty or fear of not knowing who will raise the baby they have given birth to.

On the other hand, maintaining the relationship with future parents allows them to get to know the baby and follow its growth. On the other hand, there are intended parents and surrogates who do not want to have such a close relationship and limit themselves to the necessary contact required for the follow-up of the pregnancy and the attainment of the process.

In any case, the important thing is that both parties agree.

Gay parents

In the case of gay couples who want to be parents, surrogacy is the only reproductive alternative that allows them to have a biological child. In their case, they need the help of two women to carry out the process: the egg donor and the surrogate mother.

Usually, in the case of homoparental families, the relationship with the surrogate mother is strong. Not because the child does not have a mother, but because it is a way for parents to follow the birth of their child closely and also to be able to explain to the child in more detail, how he came into the world.

Someday the child will ask about his birth. He will have different doubts to those of the children with father and mother, since it is evident that neither of his two fathers has been able to conceive him.

Therefore, knowing the surrogate and being friends with her will help the parents explain the origin of their child when he asks them about it.

Surrogacy for gay parents is only allowed in the United States and Canada, two destinations in which it is necessary to know the surrogate. The truth is that, in both places, the common thing is that this contact goes beyond the process and becomes a true friendship.

FAQs from users

Is it true that in Canada the relationship between the surrogate mother and the baby’s parents is very strong?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

Yes, in Canada only altruistic surrogate motherhood is allowed and therefore, the main motivation of the surrogate is solidarity and the desire to help others. For this reason, it is common for a strong friendship to be established between both parties, since the surrogate require a lot of care and commitment on the part of the parents, who are also extremely grateful for her help.

How is pregnancy monitored in destinations where the surrogate mother and parents do not know each other?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

If the surrogate and the future parents do not know each other or, even if they meet in a first personal interview, later do not maintain contact, it is the agency that acts as an intermediary between both parties. Therefore, the surrogate will inform the agency of the controls made and the evolution of the pregnancy and the agency will pass the information to the future parents.

Does the surrogate mother in America always know the parents?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

In the United States, the choice of the surrogate is twofold, that is to say, in order to begin the process the parents must choose the surrogate and she must accept them. It is a mutual selection.

Can I have contact with the surrogate during pregnancy?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

This will depend on the decision taken by both parties involved. As we commented in the text, there are those who want to have a personal relationship and those who prefer contact through the fertility agency or clinic.

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References

Authors and contributors

 Andrea Rodrigo
Andrea Rodrigo
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia along with the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Postgraduate course in Medical Genetics. More information about Andrea Rodrigo
Adapted into english by:
 Marie Tusseau
Marie Tusseau
Babygest Staff
Editorial Director of Babygest magazine in French and English. More information about Marie Tusseau

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