What are the pros and cons of enlisting the help of a surrogate mother to have a baby?
Surrogacy pros and cons for the child
In pregnancies that are carried by a baby's biological mother and intended parent, the bond-forming process starts in utero. This is true for the mother as well as the baby. A fetus can hear the mother's voice and those of other people surrounding her, and grow accustomed to surroundings. Many mothers find that their baby easily falls asleep at the sound of a song she played often during pregnancy, for instance.
The pre-birth bonding that is so soothing to most newborns is not available to those carried by surrogacy, except perhaps in cases where the intended parents' close friend or relative carries the baby. With distance surrogacy, the baby's bonding to her parents will have to start from scratch at birth. It is unclear whether this makes a long-term impact, but it is certainly something that those considering surrogacy should take into account.
Parents-through-surrogacy all have a unique take on how to share their child's journey into existence with them, and when. Whatever approach they choose, the child will feel keenly aware that he is different to most kids at some point. Unlike other kids, children through surrogacy have "two moms", a biological mother and the one who carried the pregnancy. This can be further complicated by an egg donor. Will this be a handicap? Not necessarily.
This is something that is best discussed with a therapist, both while you are considering surrogacy and when your child becomes interested in the topic. One good point about surrogacy is that the child will always know that he or she was very much wanted and planned for. Depending on how you handle this, this fact can probably overcome many of the hurdle you may face.
Pros and cons for intended parents
It is hardly difficult to come up with the pros of surrogacy. For heterosexual couples who face a fertility issue or in which the woman is not able to carry a pregnancy, and for homosexual couples, surrogacy may offer a unique chance to have a biological child. Adoption and fostering to adopt can be long and painful processes with no guarantees that you will actually be able to raise a child at the end.
The possible disadvantages are more personal and dependent on your situation. Finding a surrogate mother you are comfortable with may be hard, you may face legal challenges, and the fertility treatments required to harvest eggs are time-consuming and medically invasive. More than that, becoming a parent without experiencing a pregnancy (whether personally, or seeing your partner being pregnant) can be emotionally taxing.
Pros and cons for surrogate mothers
Is becoming a surrogate mother the selfless act of a woman with a strong desire to help someone else, whether a loved-one or a couple she doesn't know? Or is surrogacy a means to supplement an income? Surrogate mothers can have many different motivations to carry a child for someone else. In any case, the "surrogate journey" as it is often referred to in the surrogacy world, can be just as difficulty as it may be beautiful.
Does being a gestational surrogate, where the fetus isn't your biological child, really offer the dubious benefit that you will not love the baby too much to want to give it up? Some surrogate mothers can indeed carry a pregnancy without developing such maternal, protective feelings and are overjoyed that they are helping a baby get to its intended, loving home. Many do bond, and will face emotional problems after handing the baby over.
Pregnancy is always a risky process, as well. If something goes wrong, your reproductive future and even your life are at stake. If you are considering being a surrogate, whether for someone dear to you or for financial gain, therapy is really, really essential before you walk into a journey that will affect your life profoundly.