There’s always two sides to every coin. Stereotypes and misconceptions develop. Misinformation is passed around. It’s not unlike a round of the grade-school favorite, Telephone. Remarkably, the game imparted a valuable lesson about how unreliable word of mouth is. The further down the line information is passed, the more it convoluted into what we think we heard or, in a pinch, chose to believe we heard. At the end of the game, of course, the truth is revealed with the person who started the round.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen in the world outside of the game; thus, myths are created. Gestational surrogacy is no exception. Over the years, myths have been birthed and circulated through many venues, including the Internet and social media. Virginia Frank is here to debunk some of the biggest myths about gestational surrogacy.
Myth #1: The Child will be Genetically Related to the Mother
Fact: That depends on the type of surrogacy, actually. Traditional surrogacy works this way; gestational surrogacy does not. With gestational surrogacy, eggs from the intended parent or a donor are used to help create an embryo. They are fertilized in a lab setting and implanted into the gestational carrier via in vitro fertilization (IVF). The carrier’s eggs are never used in gestational surrogacy.
Myth #2: Gestational Surrogacy is a Guaranteed Pregnancy
Fact: Unfortunately, no. Just like with any other pregnancy, the embryo may not attach to the carrier’s womb or survive until full term. There are many risks involved with the implantation procedure, and it’s important to talk to your doctor or fertility specialist about everything that goes into the process. No pregnancy is guaranteed. It may take a couple tries before your carrier has a successful transfer, and you have a healthy baby.
Myth #3: Surrogacy will Result in Multiple Children
Fact: Media is to blame for this misconception. If you’ve ever watched the TV classic Friends — specifically Season 4 Episodes 11 and 12 — you may assume that implanted embryos will result in multiple children. But there is no documented evidence to support this. Pregnancy is truly a natural occurrence, and relies on the genetic makeup of the eggs themselves. It has nothing to do with the number of embryos that get implanted. Phoebe having triplets made for good TV drama, though didn’t it?
Myth #4: The Carrier won’t Give Up the Child
Fact: For any and all legal concerns, intended parents should get in touch with an attorney who specializes in reproductive law. They will be the best resource when it comes to all the ins and outs of parental custody. More times than not, when the gestational carrier agrees to carry, she acknowledges that the child she’ll be giving birth to isn’t hers. It’s one of the many questions she was asked during the intensive screening process, and is something that should be made very clear before you enter into a surrogacy agreement with her. An emotional bond to the child may develop throughout the pregnancy, but she will be aware that she won’t have parental authority after the child is born.
Myth #5: Mothers Choose Surrogacy to save their Figure
Fact: Incorrect. It’s no secret that pregnancy is hard on the body. That it’s a big commitment, and that you’ll never be the same after you give birth to a child. However, physical appearance is not a big enough reason for women to swear off growing their family biologically. Not when she dreams of becoming a mother. Rather, intended mothers choose gestational surrogacy because of medical or health reasons. Whether that’s infertility, or multiple miscarriages, the intended mother has discovered that she cannot conceive herself, yet still wishes to have a child genetically related to her.
Myth #6: Women become Surrogates for the Money
Fact: Hardly. Each and every woman who chooses to become a gestational carrier has their own reasons for doing so. However, money isn’t one of those. Gestational carriers have to meet a certain realm of requirements before they can qualify. Welfare, state aid or any other similar assistance are automatic disqualifications. But a gestational carrier’s true motivation goes much deeper. A woman who chooses to carry a baby for an intended parent(s) has a strong desire to help others grow a family they couldn’t otherwise have. She is among the most selfless, loving and caring women you’ll ever meet.
Myths about Gestational Surrogacy
Best rule of thumb is to be careful what you believe when researching gestational surrogacy. Information circulating around today isn’t always accurate. Be sure to consult with your doctor, specialist or fertility clinic when wanting to glean the right details. You will save yourself a lot of undo confusion, stress and anxiety in the long run.