Becoming a Surrogate Mother – What Are the Pros & Cons?

By Babygest Staff
Last Update: 07/04/2018

The surrogacy experience has different positives and negatives for gestational surrogates (GS). In short, one thing is for certain: it is an opportunity for these women to give selflessly to a couple who needs them to start a family.

Many women who have experienced being a surrogate have admitted doing so because they love being pregnant—as simple as that. Others do so motivated not only for the pregnancy experience, but also because they can receive a fair compensation by helping others fulfill their family dream.

A pregnancy is a process that involves many risks, though. And if we speak about a surrogate pregnancy, the number of risks is even higher, and it involves a significant time commitment. Continue reading below to learn about the top advantages and disadvantages of becoming a surrogate.

The pros of surrogacy

Surrogacy can be a fulfilling experience for everyone involved, both for intended parents (IPs) and gestational carriers (GCs). Particularly in the case of GCs, being pregnant whilst helping another family selflessly is the main pro they report after experiencing going through the surrogacy journey.

Here's the full list of benefits and positives of gestational surrogacy:

Helping a couple create a family

Those who have struggled with infertility or with medical conditions that make pregnancy unsafe, or same-sex couples have no alternative but to use a surrogate mother to have a baby, hence the deep sense of pride and satisfaction knowing that you are helping a family in such a life-altering way.

This is precisely the reason why the majority of surrogates have a strong sense of compassion, value the power of family, and are noted for their unselfishness.

Other people also read: What Is a Surrogate Mother? – Everything You Should Know.

Sense of community

Going through such a singular experience and sharing your story is often complicated when others cannot relate. For this reason, surrogates have created over the years what is commonly known as surro-sisterhood, that is, a community for mutual support, events, social gatherings, etc.

Moreover, it is common for surrogates to involve their families, friends, and other supportive people throughout the surrogate pregnancy journey. This sets an incredible example of generosity for those around them.

Fair compensation

Most women who report having experienced surrogacy as one of the most fulfilling experiences of their lives agree on their main motivation for having helped families this way: they perceive it as an altruistic gesture above all, in spite of getting paid.

Being compensated for carrying a child for 9 months, with the risks and everything involved in a pregnancy, seems quite fair. In countries and states where commercial surrogacy is permitted, GCs are compensated for their effort and commitment. It is a chance for intended parents to say 'thank you' to their surrogate.

Are you an intended parent? If you are reading this, it's because you have considered surrogacy to start a family, and are already looking for a gestational surrogate.

You may therefore be interested to know and understand the costs involved.

Opportunity to experience pregnancy again

As explained earlier, surrogates typically have a personal trait in common: they truly enjoy being pregnant. Keeping in mind that they should have carried other pregnancies before and have a proven uterus, carrying a child for another family is indeed an opportunity for them to experience pregnancy again.

Gestational carriers are perfectly aware of the risks that a pregnancy entails, but they accept this risk along with the physical implications that it involves because their sense of generosity outweighs them.

Contrary to common belief, contracts don't just protect commissioning parents, but also gestational carriers, hence the importance of signing contract prior to starting the surrogacy journey.

Surrogacy contracts ensure that gestational carriers are fairly compensated for their time and effort. Also, they absolve them of any responsibility following childbirth, and outline each party's rights, roles and responsibilities.

Lifelong relationship

One of the most important tasks of surrogacy agencies is to do the right intended parent-surrogate match, ensuring that they share the same expectations and ways to look at life in general. Moreover, they encourage post-birth contact between the surrogate, the IPs, and the child.

Thanks to it, surrogates are able to share their pregnancy journey with the IPs and develop a strong bond throughout the 9 months of pregnancy. This, in most cases, allows them to develop a lasting relation with the family they help create, including the child.

The cons of surrogacy

Before becoming a surrogate, it is important that you completely understand the lengthy medical and emotional process that you are going to go through before, during, and even after the pregnancy.

On top of that, many uncomfortable medical tests, risks, and ethical considerations are involved. No matter how much you love being pregnant, you should consider these disadvantages before submitting your application to become a GC:

Medical & psychological tests

Potential surrogates are required to go through an extensive pre-screening process before being accepted in order to ensure that they are psychologically and physically prepared for surrogacy.

Most importantly, these procedures help ensure that their bodies are fit to carry a child until birth, and that their reproductive system is in good functioning condition. The particular medical tests used often vary from case to case.

Common pregnancy discomforts

A pregnancy can be a rewarding experience, but it's no wonder that most women find various aspects of pregnancy challenging, no matter how much they enjoy being pregnant.

And, what's more, even the most low-risk pregnancies carry some risk of complications. Keeping in mind that you are going to be carrying a child for another family that is not your own, you are expected to have a great deal of compassion.

Risks & dangers

In addition to the physical changes of pregnancy itself, a gestational surrogate has to undergo endometrial preparation to get ready for IVF embryo transfer. Additionally, GCs are required to undergo additional screenings, medical appointments, etc.

Other risks associated with surrogate pregnancies are multiple pregnancy, especially if multiple embryos are transferred, miscarriage, and ectopic pregnancy. Moreover, you are likely to experience mild cramping when the catheter is inserted through the cervix to place the embryo(s) into your uterus.

Mixed emotions

If we keep in mind that mood swings are a common side effect of pregnancy, when a woman decides to become a surrogate mother, the number of emotional challenges increases.

While at times you may feel intense joy and excitement, other times you will need strong support from your beloved ones: partner, family, friends... Even your coordinators at your surrogacy agency will be there to support you throughout the surrogacy journey.

Social impact

It depends on the state or country where you reside, but in general being a surrogate carries some stigma in some social circles, especially in those influenced by religion, political factors, ethical considerations, traditions, historical background, etc.

For this reason, when a woman is considering surrogacy, she should consider how willing she is to face uncomfortable questions and the social impact in general.

Ethical considerations

Lat but not least, it is well known that surrogacy is a highly controversial issue in today's society, and that many organizations are against the process for a number of reasons.

As a matter of fact, the pros and cons that we have mentioned over this article are used by both proponents and detractors of surrogate motherhood equally.

Subjects such as the identity of the child once born, the level of involvements with the gestational surrogate, the attachment with her, or the compensation that she should be pain are some of the most controversial issues associated with it.

FAQs from users

Can the surrogate mother's emotional attachment become a psychological trauma?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

That's precisely the reason why traditional surrogacy arrangements are not carried out anymore. If a woman is the biological mother of the child in addition to the birth mother, the emotional attachment will be stronger.

In gestational surrogacy, inversely, even though it's only logical that you build a tie with the child anyway, it also develops with the intended parents: surrogates feel happiness for the intended parents, hence that they build a lifelong relationship throughout the 9 months of pregnancy. This translates into love not just for the child, for for the new family as well.

Does surrogacy equal exploitation of women?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

As long as surrogacy is regulated by law, it doesn't equal exploitation of women. Some detractors of surrogacy consider that gainful or commercial surrogacy arrangements equal exploitation of low income women because their only motivation is earning a salary for carrying someone else's child.

Any surrogacy agreement has to be properly reviewed by attorneys, supported by a well-defined law, and done respecting the rights of the surrogate and all the parties involved.

What are the benefits of commercial surrogacy?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

Surrogacy advocates argue that it is very unfair to have a woman carry a child for someone else and get nothing in return. In fact, they believe that it allows for a better regulation of this practice, thereby protecting everyone's rights and improving the legislation. Critics, on the other hand, feel that paid surrogacy is a way of taking advantage of vulnerable women.

Suggested for you

All surrogates have to go through the preparation process for IVF embryo transfer. Want to learn more about the steps involved? Read: What Is IVF Surrogacy? – Process, Success Rates & Cost.

Do you actually know what's being a surrogate like? Check this out for further info on the requirements, motivations, steps involved, and more: What Is a Surrogate Mother? – Everything You Should Know.

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