Will Children Born via Surrogacy Grow up Confused?
Regardless of its history, surrogacy is the most controversial form of assisted reproduction. People question how this new-fangled way of creating a family will affect the parents attachment to their child, and they are especially concerned with how it will affect the children.
How the Kids Born to a Surrogate are Doing?
Dr. Susan Golombok, Professor and Director of the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge, and the leading researcher worldwide in alternative family forms, has published a new book, Modern Families, about families formed through various forms of assisted reproduction to different family structures. I’m thrilled to say that she will be our guest on next week’s Creating a Family radio show.
In Modern Families, Dr. Golombok reports that children of surrogacy are doing just fine according to the research. She acknowledges that the sample size of some of the studies was not large, and even the longitudinal studies had not followed these children in adulthood, but in brief summary, surrogacy kids compared favorably to children conceived naturally or those conceived via egg or sperm donation.
We will go into more depth on the May 13 Creating a Family Radio show about how families of all types of assisted reproduction, as well as same single moms, lesbian moms, gay dads, and same sex families.
Children of Surrogates Speak Out
Enough about research—let’s hear from the teens and young adults themselves. There is no way for us to know if these young people represent the whole of children conceived by surrogacy, but their experience mirrors the research and their voices are worth hearing.
Three young women, aged 26, 17, and 14, were asked a variety of questions about their feeling about surrogacy. I strongly encourage you to read the full article, but here is a short summary of their thoughts on being born through surrogacy.
- Morgan Rennie, age 17, born via traditional surrogacy (father’s sperm, surrogates egg)
On being born through commercial surrogacy: “I never felt bought. I’ve never even thought about it. I know how much effort my parents put into getting me. I know how much love they have for me … It’s not like I’m an accessory or anything.”
- Alice Clark, age 26, born via altruistic surrogacy (Mother’s egg, donated sperm, carried by maternal aunt)
On why telling the child the truth is key: “As long as you tell early, and tell often and have already constructed the narrative in a way that makes sense and makes everyone feel loved and included, then the kid is going to be fine.”
- Philippa Rushford, age 14, born via altruistic surrogacy (Father’s sperm, mother’s egg, carried by maternal aunt)
On being a much longed-for baby: “I just feel really thankful that they kept on trying. They could have given up at any time. But they never did. I’m really grateful.”
Thoughts? Does this surprise you or support what you already thought?
Image credit: http://www.abc.net.au/