Traditional surrogacy has existed for thousands of years. As the medical field advanced, other surrogacy options emerged, opening up more possibilities for intended parent(s). Despite ancient origins, there is still a stigma surrounding surrogacy that can cause unnecessary harm to those involved in the process.
Dispelling the stigma surrounding surrogacy is not something that mothers or intended parent(s) should feel pressured to take on. In fact, it is an impossible and too often harmful undertaking. Promoting positive education as opposed to fighting negative stigmas will do far more good for a family’s emotional health. The “it takes a village to raise a child” adage is true for every family, regardless of how that family was formed. The people in your child’s village might not be surrogacy law experts, but they should be individuals who are open to expanding their knowledge and keeping the child’s best interests at heart. This series on surrogacy is a good place to start for family and friends who are keen to learn more about your experience.
The most important conversation about your surrogacy journey is the one you will have with your future little one. The timing of this conversation differs from one family to the next. Adoptive families face a similar juncture with their children. No matter the family dynamic, all parents can relate to a feeling of helplessness when it comes to protecting children from hurtful words. A careless remark on the school playground can result in tears coming home. While parents can’t control all of the chatter a child may encounter, families can guide the surrogacy conversation in their own home.
In an episode of the popular “Modern Family” series, the character Cameron makes an effort to encourage a positive association with the word “adoption” for he and his partner Mitchell’s adopted daughter, Lily. Every time the word “adoption” crops up, Cam bursts into enthusiastic clapping. This action elicits a lukewarm response from Mitchell, but by the end of the episode, both fathers share an emotional moment as Lily initiates happy clapping when “adoption” comes up in conversation. Children are expert observers; we all know the unabashed “baby stare” of infants, taking in everything and everyone around them. Creating a positive armour for children inside the home is the best course for facing negative stigmas in the larger world.
Surrogacy is a choice made through careful deliberation by both surrogate mothers and intended parent(s). Parenthood is a destination with many different arrival routes. While surrogacy is a less common route, the resulting family is as special and valued as any other.