One of the most selfless things one woman can do for another is to become a gestational surrogate. This isn’t a walk in the park, it’s not easy, and you are going to need a lot of support from friends and family. However, it’s going to rate right up there as one of the most fulfilling things you will ever embark on aside from having your own children. That’s why it’s incredibly important to remember that the support you receive from your friends and family are going to be what helps you those most in dealing with all of those crazy emotions you might feel during pregnancy.
Education is going to be your best tool when deciding to become a surrogate. Educating yourself, your husband (or partner), your folks, your siblings, your kids all about surrogacy will help as you go through the process.
So when should you tell?
We think the best time to tell your immediate family about your choice to become a gestational surrogate is when you yourself have decided that this is something you really want to do and you’ve made a firm decision to become a surrogate. Write down your reasons so they are clear in your head so you can see in black and white the purpose of your choice and what made you decide to want to become a gestational surrogate. Honesty is always the best policy always when talking to your family about your desire – because they all need to be on board for this to work the way it’s supposed to.
When you talk to your kids about your choice to become a gestational surrogate teach them that its going to take time. It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight, next week, or even next month. Share with them that it took them 9 months to be born and that all great things take time to make and this is no exception. Like anything important when we talk to our kids we need to realize that it’s all in the presentation. If you don’t make it weird, if you treat is with sensitivity your kids will respond in kind. And whatever you do don’t just dump your decision on them the week before you have an embryo transfer. No one likes or appreciates information overload – and your kids are no different. Introduce the idea of you becoming a surrogate over a period of time. You might for instance what to have them meet the intended parents if that’s possible or maybe a Skype session with them. During this time both parties can talk about families and how all different kinds of families are made and how you are going to help this set of parents become a Mommy and Daddy like you and your partner letting your kids take the lead and ask the questions they need to ask to become comfortable.
Regarding your friends and family – there’s two schools of thought on this. One school of thought is to not let your choice be known to be a surrogate right away. Many say that it’s best to let your decision to carry a pregnancy for another come up in conversation naturally – be happy, at ease, and confident about your choice. Again, if you aren’t weird about it the reception of others around you won’t be either. If you are scared, or nervous about how they might react they are going to sense that and odds are they are going to worry about the effect this might have on you and question your decision.
The other school of thought is to begin sharing your desire to become a gestational surrogate right away with your family and close friends. That you can talk through your reasons and motivations in carrying a baby for another who can’t carry on their own. This way you can garner support early on and that these kinds of conversations are helpful and beneficial in the decision making process.
Now keep in mind that it’s possible that you might find some resistance – and some won’t accept or agree with your choice to become a gestational surrogate. If this is something you are set on doing then don’t allow their opinions to sway your choice.
Will your surrogate pregnancy affect those around you who are closest to you? Of course it will and if you think it won’t you are fooling yourself. That’s why is really important for your friends and family to be educated, prepared and supportive of you. Their support is going to play a big factor in the success of the cycle and pregnancy.
What about the baby they might ask. It should be made clear and understood the baby you are having is for another family not your family. This baby will never be a member of your family. It’s not going to be a cousin, a brother, a sister, niece, nephew, or a grandchild. We can’t emphasize enough that your children need to realize clearly they aren’t going to get another baby sister or baby brother and what you are doing is for someone else that can’t have a baby on their own.
Lean on your surrogacy agency, your care provider, friends, family or therapist to help you with the explanation of some of this information – it can sometimes be complicated.
Being a gestational surrogate is going to be one of the most generous acts of kindness you will ever give to another. You will be creating new bonds during this time that will affect your entire family and support circle. It’s a time to rejoice that you are helping someone else become a mother or a father.