The Problem With Surrogacy

The question was posed – I have a friend who cannot carry a baby to term. She produces eggs just fine, and a friend of ours who is like a sister to her offered to be a surrogate for free for her. There is no power dynamic at play and they’ve been non biological “sisters” their entire lives. Is this still problematic and should I try to talk them both out of it?

The answer is simple. Ever since I came to understand about in-utero bonding and mother child separation trauma, I have been against surrogacy. I know that there are many couples who chose this. In fact, among my in-laws, this was chosen for similar reasons.

A few more thoughts – from a mother – I grew my children in my body. I didn’t grow them to give them to someone else. Yes, I work, but at the end of the day, they know who mom is. Not some confusing arrangement of mom and “not really mom but kind of mom.” My children did not suffer separation trauma at birth. THAT is the difference.

Follow-up question – I know a lot of working mothers who aren’t constantly around their children, may I ask how is this different? Answer – Take some time to research the primal wound (there is a good book on this by Nancy Newton Verrier). It is not about being around a child constantly. It is that in those moments where we, as a species, reach out to our mother for comfort and nurture, we know on a primal level who that is, and it is the person who carried us and birthed us. That’s why separation after birth trauma exists for adoptees, children who were put into the system at birth and orphans. They may have a mother figure, but it is not who birthed them.

Read up on why surrogacy contracts exist and the numbers of people whose relationships break apart because of surrogacy and jealousy. Even sisters. Then what? The baby is away from who the baby thinks is mother.

The best we can do is chose not to incubate babies for other people as this will traumatize them. A fact proven by MRI is that babies separated from their mothers due to the need for them to be placed in the NICU, as well as in adoption and in surrogacy, will suffer brain changes. The difference with the NICU example, is that the parents aren’t deliberately causing that brain change. It is due to a medical necessity.

Clueless response – Every one gets separated from the body in which they grew, so I’m not understanding. Answer – Technically yes, when you are born, you are no longer physically connected to the body of person who carried while you grew. But then that person doesn’t generally go away – except in cases like adoption, surrogacy, etc.

Argument continues because the two women in question are “like sisters.” Response – They are “like sisters”, not actual family. You can be like whatever. Doesn’t change blood. That said, the child deserves their mother – ACTUAL mother. Who would be on the birth certificate? The egg donor or the birth parent? A child deserves to know their biology and this is just messy.

Another thing to consider is that their “inseparable” relationship may change drastically after the baby is born. It’s pretty common for infertile APs (or infertile people who use surrogates) to develop an awful case of fragility once they have that baby in their arms. It’s in fact the main reason that the vast majority of “open adoptions” close within the first 5 years.

One last point because this has a lot of comments but I think this is worth sharing – How would your friend feel is this pregnancy killed her “sister”? Or if her “sister” had to terminate to keep herself alive? What if her “sister” carries to term, but has lifelong affects on her health that diminish her quality of life? No one should be using another person’s body like this. Pregnancy is not some magical, easy thing. It can be incredibly hard on a person’s body. It can kill people or leave them disabled for life.

Finally, just some background on why the question was asked – The “sister” is insisting. She says her experience being pregnant was “magical” and that she would be pregnant all the time if she could (but she’s also done growing her family, as she doesn’t want to raise any more of her own kids). She said it would “be an honor” to be able to be the person to help her sister grow her family, too. They’re both in their early 30s. I know they’ve spoke about her health being #1 priority during pregnancy and they’re both pro-choice.

We hang out as a group often and I am simply an observer in their conversations about it, as I do not want to speak on things of which I’m ill informed. I asked this question because I want to have some valuable knowledge about the subject the next time we get together, instead of just sitting there listening to something go down that could possible end up being catastrophic. So far, they’re completely on the same page. We all love each other very much and wouldn’t want anything negative to happen to the others. If that means an abortion needs to happen, then she is okay with that.

One last thought – You cannot make life long promises that the “sister” will remain in this child’s life. I had a family member who did this with her best friend. After a lifetime of friendship, they have not spoken since the baby was born. And if their friendship ends, the child will always wonder why they were handed off, like it was nothing. I suggest that you not support your “friends” baby swap. Traumatizing an infant should outweigh any of their selfish wants. Advise to your friend who can’t carry to term to get therapy and deal with it.

>Link< worth reading – “I was an altruistic surrogate and am now against ALL surrogacy.”

Yes, This Is A Thing

This celebrates a child leaving foster care because they have been adopted.

To be certain, any sort of celebration of adoption day is only for the adoptive parents… adoption day for adoptees is a loss. It’s a legal severing of an adoptee’s ties to their biological family and biological roots. It is the culmination of trauma, and is the start of new traumas. It also feeds the savior image of foster/adoptive parents, which is terribly insulting to adoptees and isn’t accurate. In the cases where non-kinship adoption is unavoidable, it should be done privately and discretely. The story belongs to the adoptee, only they never had the power to decide or say what they actually wanted – in most cases, an intact family into which they were born.

Children’s brains and emotional intelligence that aren’t fully developed yet. Their nervous system is screaming “yay permanency! Woot woot!” And the only way a kid knows how to celebrate is a party; or a certificate; or gifts; or social media posts; and whatever else they’ve seen other former foster youth or adoptees do.

What they ARE NOT able to process is 1) adoption DOESN’T guarantee a ‘forever home’ at all 2) what’s happening to them is trauma– not a celebration 3) even if they DO end up with a forever home, it may be an eternity of pure unadulterated hell (mentally, emotionally, relationally) 4) the “permanence” also means their actual biological family history and heritage and traditions, etc are now permanently gone and the list goes on and on. They’re unable to look at it from a 30,000 ft view and understand the gravity and finality of it all.

Really the issue comes down to NOT celebrating a child’s adoption publicly and not even within the family if possible.  This doesn’t mean to invalidate whatever feelings and emotions a child may be having – especially about getting out of the uncertainty of foster care and multiple placements.  However, adult adoptees will tell you that as they aged and could reflect from a mature perspective – being adopted is always fraught and traumatic – even in the best of circumstances.

Many adoptees spend much of their life in a “happy fog” trying their best to be grateful for this un-natural thing that happened to them – not in their control nor with their conscious approval – usually by adults and the legal system.  Best to go as minimal and low-key about it all as you possibly can, no more than privately within the immediate family, if celebrated at all.