Understanding and Breaking the Stigma of Surrogacy
Advances in assisted reproductive medicine and technologies have altered the very social construct of motherhood, fracturing the cultural understanding that motherhood is entirely biological and inevitable. Prior to these advances, pregnancy was the expected outcome of sex and motherhood began with pregnancy. People who can bear children and want to have them are often expected to carry and bear children, regardless of infertility, physiological and sociological barriers, or dysphoria because to many people that is a part of the journey of parenthood. Surrogacy disrupts traditional expectations regarding pregnancy by separating gestation from maternity and parenthood at large. This leads people to thinking that people who use surrogacy are bad or lesser than parents.
This is a very tough stigma to beat, but many people have been able to set it aside, evaluate all the options available to them, and make decisions that work for their family.
Every year since gestational surrogacy was conceived, it has become more popular and more accepted in the public eye. We can look to the growing number of celebrities who have openly had gestational surrogates aid them in their journey — Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, Jimmy Fallon, Nicole Kidman, and Tyra Banks, for example.
Outside of celebrities, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the number of gestational carrier cycles have increased from 727 in 1999 to 3,432 in 2013, and this number has continued to grow since then. Also, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), reveals that during this period, gestational carrier cycles resulted in 13,380 deliveries with a total of 18,400 infants being born showing the success of this route.
Beyond the social and cultural stigma of surrogacy, laws on the matter differ state to state, and because of this people can easily be taken advantage of whether it be the surrogates who are exploited or the parent/s seeking a surrogate. Large news outlets often report on people who have been exploited or have sought alternative routes for surrogacy leading to misunderstandings and public failures; such as former Congressman Trent Franks who asked his office aids to be surrogates for him and his wife, making the idea of surrogacy even scarier.
But know that surrogacy is largely legal across the U.S. and as previously mentioned, surrogacy is increasingly common. There are even strict guidelines for gestational surrogacy recommended by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine that are upheld by reputable clinics and agencies. Anyone looking into gestational surrogacy be reassured that professionals are following guidelines, so that they can best aid you.
You should not let stigmas stop you from making the decision that fits best for you. Forget the missteps of high-profile public figures and ignore bad advice and ignorant opinions from misinformed skeptics and traditionalists; doctors and statistics will tell you that surrogacy is largely safe and increasingly common.