How to Explain Surrogacy to Your Children
Surrogacy is a controversial topic for many, but it is on the rise in the United States. Estimates are that there were 1,179 births by surrogacy in 2011, a 200% increase from 2004. There are two main types of surrogacy: A traditional surrogate is a woman who is artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm. She carries the baby until birth and then the parents raise the child. A gestational surrogacy happens with in vitro fertilization of the mother’s egg and the father’s sperm. The embryo is then implanted in the gestational surrogate and she will carry it until birth. She is unrelated genetically to the baby.
Surrogacy can be a miracle for many couples unable to have children. However, it can be difficult to explain to others. Surrogate mothers often have children of their own that they need to explain the surrogacy to. The parents will eventually need to discuss the surrogacy with their children too. Here are a few helpful tips we’ve outlined to explain surrogacy to children.
For Surrogate Mothers
It can be difficult for a child to understand why their mom is carrying a baby for someone else and is giving them away after they are born. Children can become concerned that they too will be given away. It’s important to explain to even very young children that you are helping another family to have children of their own and the plan was always to help them. Explain that your plan when your child was born was to keep them forever. You can call yourself an “incubator,” “oven,” or an extended babysitter. Whatever you feel comfortable with is fine, but reassure your children often of how much you love them and are glad they are part of your family.
For Parents of Surrogate Children
At some point, it’s important to explain to your children about the surrogacy. Many families find it best to be transparent about the experience from the beginning. From the earliest opportunity, explain everything to your child. Have pictures of the surrogate up in the house or in a baby book. If it is appropriate for your situation, you can even maintain a healthy relationship with the surrogate. This will help them make sense of the situation. For other ideas in explaining surrogacy to kids, check out these helpful videos.