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Aligning Expectations: Relationship Dynamics in a Surrogacy Arrangement

Forging ahead with a surrogacy arrangement can create a host of new relationship dynamics. The relationship between surrogates and Intended Parents can be complex because of the unique set of emotional, ethical, and legal considerations. Intended parents and surrogates may have specific expectations and hopes for each other’s behavior during a surrogacy pregnancy. If these expectations are not met, it can lead to emotional strain.

Here’s some other surrogacy relationship dynamics to consider:

Health Concerns: Pregnancy is inherently associated with medical risks and complications. If the surrogate faces health issues or if there are complications with the pregnancy, it can strain the relationship.

Legal Complexities: While legal contracts are usually in place before embryo transfer or insemination, interpreting and enforcing them can be challenging. Issues related to the legal rights and responsibilities of both parties can arise.

Parental Rights: In some jurisdictions, there may be uncertainties or disputes about parental rights, especially if the surrogate decides to keep the child, which can be a concern especially under a traditional surrogacy arrangement, or if the Intended Parents change their minds.

Expectations and Communication Styles: Differences in communication styles and unspoken expectations can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts.

Decision-Making: Decisions related to medical choices, pregnancy, and birth plans may not align, leading to potential conflicts.

Compensation: Disagreements may arise regarding compensation and financial arrangements. Misunderstandings about who is responsible for certain costs can lead to tensions.

Selective Reduction or Termination: If there are medical issues with the fetus, the question of selective reduction or termination may lead to ethical dilemmas and differences in opinions between the parties involved.

Surrogate’s Autonomy: Issues related to the surrogate’s autonomy, especially if the Intended Parents want to make specific decisions that may be counter to a surrogate’s preferences, can lead to ethical concerns.

Post-Birth Contact: Deciding the level of contact between the surrogate and the child after birth can be challenging. While some parties may want ongoing contact, others may prefer more distance.

Cultural and Religious Differences: Differences in cultural or religious values can affect the surrogate-Intended Parent relationship, particularly regarding beliefs about pregnancy and childbirth.

To navigate these complexities, open and honest communication, well-defined legal agreements, and support from professionals such as a qualified assisted reproduction attorney are crucial. It’s essential for all parties involved to have a clear understanding of expectations and to address potential challenges proactively.  


Matching with the Right Person(s) Is Key

Pre-screening a surrogate or Intended Parents and conducting due diligence during the matching process are critical steps in the surrogacy journey. These processes help mitigate potential conflicts down the road and contribute to a smoother and more successful surrogacy experience.

Here are several reasons why pre-screening and due diligence are important:

Medical Compatibility: Pre-screening allows for a thorough evaluation of the surrogate’s medical history, ensuring that she is physically capable of carrying a pregnancy to term without significant health risks.

Psychological Compatibility: Assessing the surrogate’s mental and emotional well-being is crucial to identify any potential psychological challenges that may arise during the surrogacy process.

Legal Eligibility: Confirming the legal eligibility of the surrogate and Intended Parents is essential. It involves assessing whether a surrogate or Intended Parents meets the legal requirements to enter into a surrogacy arrangement in the relevant jurisdiction.

Understanding Legal Rights and Responsibilities: Clearly outlining the legal rights and responsibilities of both parties through legal agreements helps prevent disputes and conflicts later.

Communication Styles and Expectations: During the matching process, intended parents and surrogates can discuss their expectations, preferences, and communication styles. This helps ensure that both parties are on the same page and can communicate effectively throughout the surrogacy journey.

Addressing Potential Conflicts: Identifying potential areas of disagreement early on allows for open conversations and the establishment of guidelines to prevent conflicts.

Motivation and Commitment: Screening helps assess the surrogate’s motivation for becoming a surrogate and her commitment to the process. This ensures that she is fully dedicated to helping the Intended Parents achieve their goal of having a child. Likewise, a surrogate must feel comfortable in the Intended Parents commitment to the process, including their willingness to uphold their commitments and responsibilities.

Understanding Expectations: Clarifying expectations about the level of involvement and contact during and after the pregnancy helps align the parties’ expectations.

Identifying Potential Risks: Through thorough screening, potential risks and challenges can be identified early in the process, allowing for appropriate risk mitigation strategies.

Protecting the Well-being of All Parties: Ensuring the well-being of both the surrogate and the Intended Parents is a priority. Thoughtful matching and screening help avoid situations where parties may be ill-prepared for the challenges that may arise.

In summary, due diligence is a crucial step in establishing a strong foundation for a surrogacy arrangement.  

Post-Birth Relationship Expectations

Deciding whether to maintain a relationship with a surrogate or Intended Parents after the birth of the child is a highly personal choice and varies among individuals and families. The decision often involves a combination of emotional, practical, and logistical considerations.

Here are some factors that may influence people’s decisions regarding post-birth relationships:

Emotional Bond During the Journey: The strength of the emotional bond developed during the surrogacy journey can influence whether Intended Parents and surrogates choose to continue their relationship after the birth.

Comfort Levels: Some parties may feel comfortable maintaining a close relationship, while some Intended Parents may prefer more distance to navigate the transition into parenthood independently.

Pre-Birth Agreements: The terms of the surrogacy agreement and the expectations set before the birth play a crucial role. Clear communication about post-birth relationships helps avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.

Shared Expectations: If both parties share a mutual desire for ongoing contact, they may be more likely to establish and maintain a relationship.

Respecting Personal Boundaries: Respecting each other’s boundaries and preferences is vital. Some Intended Parents or surrogates may prefer a more private experience, while others may appreciate ongoing involvement from the other party. It all comes down to personal preference.

Geographical Distance: The physical proximity of the surrogate to the Intended Parents may impact the feasibility of maintaining a close relationship. Geographical challenges can be a practical consideration.

Cultural and Legal Factors: Cultural norms and legal considerations in the respective jurisdictions may influence the decision. For example, some surrogacy arrangements involve international parties, making regular contact more challenging.

Life Changes: Changes in personal circumstances, such as relocation, career changes, or family dynamics, can affect the ability and willingness of all parties to maintain a relationship.

Ultimately, the decision regarding post-birth relationships is unique to each surrogacy arrangement. Open and honest communication, both before and after the birth, is crucial. Establishing clear expectations, respecting boundaries, and considering the emotional well-being of all parties contribute to making informed decisions about the nature of post-surrogacy relationships.

Can a Surrogacy Journey Put Strain on a Marriage or Partnership?

Any surrogacy journey has the potential to put strain on a marriage or partnership, though the impact varies widely among couples.

Here are some factors that can contribute to challenges:

High Emotional Stakes: The surrogacy process involves significant emotional investment. The highs and lows associated with fertility treatments, the anticipation of parenthood, and potential complications can be emotionally draining for both partners.

Cost of Surrogacy: Surrogacy is expensive, involving costs such as medical procedures, legal fees, and compensation for the surrogate. Financial strain can lead to tension if not managed and planned for adequately.

Complex Decision-Making: Couples may face challenging decisions throughout the surrogacy journey, such as choosing a surrogate, addressing medical complications, and making legal decisions. Differences in opinions on these matters can lead to conflicts.

Communication Breakdown: Effective communication is crucial during the surrogacy journey. Misunderstandings, unmet expectations, and a lack of communication can strain the relationship.

Changing Roles: The process of becoming parents through surrogacy involves adjustments to traditional roles and expectations. Some partners may struggle with their roles as Intended Parents or find it challenging to support each other during the process.

Uncertainty of Outcome: The uncertainties associated with surrogacy, including the success of the pregnancy and the health of the child, can create anxiety and stress. Couples may cope differently with the fear of the unknown.

Intimacy Challenges: The stress associated with the surrogacy journey can impact the intimacy between partners. Emotional strain and the focus on the logistical aspects of surrogacy may lead to decreased intimacy.

Pressure from Others: Couples undergoing surrogacy may face external pressures and opinions from family, friends, or society. Dealing with external expectations can add stress to the relationship.

However, it’s important to note that the surrogacy journey can also strengthen relationships in some cases. Couples who navigate the challenges together, communicate openly, and support each other emotionally can emerge from the process with a deeper bond.

FAQ: Navigating Surrogacy Relationships

In what ways is the relationship between surrogates and Intended Parents complex?

The surrogacy journey involves a unique set of emotional, ethical, and legal considerations. Expectations and hopes for each other’s behavior, coupled with potential health concerns, legal complexities, and communication differences, can contribute to the complexity of these relationships.

What are some common challenges in surrogacy relationships?

Challenges may include health concerns during pregnancy, legal complexities, uncertainties about parental rights, differences in communication styles, conflicts over decision-making, compensation disagreements, ethical dilemmas, and challenges related to post-birth contact and cultural or religious differences.

How can these complexities be navigated?

Open and honest communication, well-defined legal agreements, and support from a qualified assisted reproduction attorney, are crucial. It’s essential for all parties involved to have a clear understanding of expectations and address potential challenges proactively.

Why is pre-screening and due diligence important in the surrogacy journey?

Pre-screening and due diligence help mitigate potential conflicts down the road. These processes include evaluating medical and psychological compatibility, confirming legal eligibility, understanding legal rights and responsibilities, and addressing communication styles and expectations.

What factors influence the decision to maintain a relationship after the birth of the child?

Factors include the emotional bond developed during the surrogacy journey, comfort levels with post-birth relationships, pre-birth agreements, shared expectations, personal boundaries, and legal factors.

Can the surrogacy journey strain a marriage or partnership?

Yes, the surrogacy journey has the potential to strain relationships due to high emotional stakes, financial stress, complex decision-making, communication challenges, changing roles, uncertainty of outcomes, intimacy challenges, and external pressures. However, couples who navigate these challenges together can emerge with a stronger bond.


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Bridget Myers

Bridget Myers grew up in small town in Maryland. She started her career as a substitute teacher before meeting the love of her life and moving to the suburbs of Chicago. She has a passion for dogs and painting. Bridget got involved in Surrogacy Place after researching surrogacy for her best friend. Since joining the team at Surrogacy Place, she has developed a passion for advocating on behalf of Intended Parents and surrogates and doing her part for meaningful reform in the industry.