Responsible Surrogacy

Information regarding the ethical aspects of the process

As we wrote in the introduction to this site, we believe parents should attempt to collect as much information as possible regarding the wishes and needs of the surrogate before signing the contract, in part to ensure that she fully consents to the terms of the process. However, we recognize that it is not always possible to arrange an intimate face to face meeting, in part due to cultural differences and financial considerations. During the pregnancy, regular contact (face to face or by phone / Skype) could help clarify issues that concern the parties (for example issues regarding medical treatments). Specifically, such contact could allow the intended parents to assist the surrogate with issues concerning her interactions with the agency or clinic. However, often the mediator (the agency or clinic) will be present during these conversations, and even if they are not physically there, it might be hard for the surrogate to express herself freely. We recommend that parents attempt to open a channel of communication with the surrogate during pregnancy, benefitting both sides. The format and frequency should be determined jointly by the two sides.

Surrogacy involves high exposure of traditionally intimate aspects of life, such as medical examinations and birth. Additionally, the autonomy and independence of surrogates might be challenged by restrictions and over-involvement of the parents and agency, possibly viewing them as invasive supervision. We believe there is no “right way” to define boundaries between parents and surrogates – but that such boundaries should be openly discussed at the very beginning of the process. Some surrogates, for example, see daily phone calls from parents as highly invasive of their personal space, while others welcome them and are appreciative of the concern. The same goes for attendance during the birth and medical checkups and for simple gestures such as feeling the baby kick. Not only personal space should be acknowledged, but also the emotions of the surrogate during the process. Miscarriages, for example, are often regarded as the parents’ tragedy, but many times leave the surrogate emotionally shattered. These emotions should be often addressed with empathy and compassion.

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