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Advancements in reproductive medicine, such as surrogacy, have allowed those with fertility challenges and medical conditions the opportunity to have a child. Surrogacy is a process where a woman, the surrogate, carries and delivers a baby for another person or couple, known as the intended parent(s). 

Though the topic of surrogacy has grown in popularity, it remains relatively misunderstood, leading to confusion among many. At Joy of Life, we’re committed to providing accurate information and transparency to help shed light on the reality of the surrogacy process for both intended parents and surrogates. By addressing common surrogacy myths, we hope to empower prospective parents and surrogate mothers with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions and embrace the surrogacy process with confidence.

Myth #1: Every Woman Can Become a Surrogate

Reality: There Are Requirements That Must Be Met in Order To Become a  Surrogate

Contrary to popular belief, not every woman can become a surrogate. The intended surrogate must meet specific requirements to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Surrogate mothers must be in good health and have already delivered at least one successful pregnancy. They must also undergo thorough medical and psychological screenings to assess their overall well-being. Requirements for surrogacy differ from state to state, with some states outlawing the practice of surrogacy altogether. 

  • Be a U.S. citizen or a U.S. permanent resident who lives outside Louisiana or Nebraska (these states prohibit surrogacy)
  • Be a female between 21 – 38 years old
  • Have a good pregnancy history
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) under 30
  • Lead a healthy and stable lifestyle

Pregnant woman holding a lot of cash in her hands.

Myth #2: Surrogates Are Only Interested in the Money

Reality: There Are Numerous Motivators for Becoming a Surrogate

One of the most misleading myths about surrogacy is that surrogate mothers are solely motivated by financial gain. In reality, surrogacy is a deeply selfless act, leading to immense satisfaction and a life-changing experience knowing you helped a family experience the gift of parenthood. 

While it is true that surrogate mothers are compensated, this generally is not the primary reason why they would agree to surrogacy. Most surrogates are deeply committed to the emotionally fulfilling aspects of helping intended parents turn their dreams of having a child into reality. Some of their primary motives often include:

  • A Calling to Help Others: Many surrogate mothers feel a strong desire to help others fulfill their dreams of becoming parents.
  • Empathy for Infertility Challenges: Surrogates often possess a profound empathy for the struggles of infertility, whether through their own experiences or those of loved ones. This drives them to support and comfort those facing similar challenges.
  • Personal Fulfillment: The act of surrogacy provides a sense of deep personal fulfillment, knowing they have made a significant impact on another family’s life.

Surrogates are more often driven by these altruistic motives rather than by monetary gain alone.

A baby's hand holding an adult's finger.

Myth #3: Surrogates Transfer Their Genetics to the Baby

Reality: In Gestational Surrogacy, Surrogate Mothers Have No Genetic Relation to the Child

Many people mistakenly believe that surrogate mothers are genetically related to the babies they carry. This misconception often stems from a lack of understanding about the different types of surrogacy:

  • Traditional Surrogacy: In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s own eggs are used, making her genetically related to the baby. Her eggs are fertilized with the intended father’s or a donor’s sperm. 
  • Gestational Surrogacy: In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate mother has no genetic connection to the baby. An embryo is created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) using eggs and sperm from the intended parents or donors. This fertilized embryo is then implanted into the surrogate’s uterus.

Gestational surrogacy is often preferred because it allows the intended parents to have a child that is biologically related to them.

Myth #4: A Surrogate Can Change Her Mind and Keep the Baby

Reality: A Surrogate Has No Legal Rights to the Child After Birth

Another widespread misconception is the fear that a surrogate might decide to keep the baby after giving birth. This myth can cause significant anxiety for intended parents but is based on a misunderstanding of surrogacy agreements and legal processes:

  • Legal Rights: The surrogate has no legal rights to the child once the baby is born. Surrogacy agreements are legally binding and clearly outline that the surrogate has no claim to the child.
  • Pre-Birth Order: In California and many other places, intended parents can file a pre-birth order. This legal document declares the intended parents as the genetic and legal parents of the child even before birth.
  • Legal Team Support: Working with a competent legal team ensures that all necessary legal steps are taken care of, including filing a pre-birth order and protecting the intended parents’ rights.

Woman wearing a red dress holding a matching red wallet.

Myth #5: Surrogacy Is Only for Wealthy People

Reality: Financial Planning Makes Surrogacy Accessible to Many Families

Surrogacy is often associated with celebrities and wealthy individuals, leading to the misconception that it’s an option only for those with significant financial resources. However, this is not the case. Surrogacy is becoming increasingly accessible to a wider range of families. Here’s how:

  • Financial Assistance: Many surrogacy agencies understand that financial concerns shouldn’t hinder your dreams of having a child. Many offer various forms of financial assistance to help you achieve your goal.
  • Financing Options: There are several financing options available, such as loans and grants, which can help alleviate the high cost of surrogacy.
  • Payment Plans: Some agencies provide flexible payment plans to make the financial aspect of surrogacy more manageable over time.
  • Grants and Scholarships: Certain organizations and foundations offer grants and scholarships specifically designed to support families pursuing surrogacy.
  • Insurance + Employer Coverage: In some cases, insurance may cover parts of the surrogacy process, reducing out-of-pocket expenses. And many corporations offer family planning assistance to their employees as well. 

Myth #6: Intended Parents Have Complete Control Over the Pregnancy

Reality: Surrogates Make Their Own Health Decisions While Collaborating with Intended Parents

A common misconception is that intended parents have complete control over the pregnancy. In reality, surrogacy is a collaborative process where both surrogates and intended parents play important roles. Here’s how the process works:

  • Surrogates Maintain Autonomy: Surrogates have the autonomy to make decisions regarding their health and well-being throughout the pregnancy.
  • Collaboration Between Parties: Major decisions are made collaboratively, with mutual respect and consideration for everyone involved.
  • Health is Prioritized: The surrogate’s physical well-being and health are prioritized and respected at all times.
  • Guidance and Support Is Provided: Surrogacy agreements and agencies provide physical and emotional support to ensure a positive experience for both surrogates and intended parents.

Myth #7: Intended Parents Won’t Bond with the Baby

Reality: Deep Bonds Are Built Through Love, Not Just Pregnancy

Many intended parents understandably have concerns about forming a strong bond with their child, but they need not worry. Here’s how intended parents can build a deep and meaningful bond with their baby:

  • Love and Compassion: The foundation of a strong bond with a child is built upon love, compassion, and consistent nurturing, not just pregnancy.
  • Active Participation: Intended parents can actively participate in important milestones and prenatal appointments during the surrogate’s pregnancy, which helps strengthen their connection with the baby.
  • Shared Experiences: Spending time with the baby after birth through shared experiences, affection, and care fosters a strong and lasting bond.

Interested in Becoming a Surrogate or an Intended Parent? 

Understanding the truth behind surrogacy can help alleviate concerns caused by common misconceptions. That’s why, at Joy of Life, we’re committed to providing reliable information and transparency, empowering you to make the best decisions for your life. 

Whether you’re ready to grow your family through surrogacy or are interested in making a profound impact by becoming a surrogate, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Become a parent or become a surrogate with Joy of Life today and be part of a community dedicated to building families and spreading joy.

Joy Millan

Author Joy Millan

I’m Joy, the founder and CEO of Joy of Life. With a professional background as a fertility clinician, I’ve spent thousands of hours working with surrogates and intended parents alike. As a mother of two, I often wished for more support and a deeper commitment to care for those embarking on non-traditional family-building journeys. This is why I established Joy of Life: to create a more robust, compassionate experience in parenthood for both parties involved with surrogacy. In 2021, I stepped back from daily operations at Joy of Life to fight cancer. Fortunately, the combined 20 years of experience from our incredible team has allowed me to focus on my health & recovery. I continue to provide company guidance and serve as the head liaison for our network of doctors, clinicians and caregivers.

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