We understand the moral and spiritual tension a surrogate may feel regarding termination.
Pro-life doesn’t necessarily equate to no-termination when it comes to surrogacy. Just like with the pro-life / pro-choice abortion debate, the words termination and no-termination in regard to surrogacy carry a lot of weight and are cause for deep ethical reflection. We believe life is a precious gift that should never be taken for granted. And no one knows that better or understands the gravity of creating a new life than the intended parents we work with.
When it comes to surrogacy, these babies are extremely wanted.
They aren’t a surprise or an ‘oops’. They aren’t created on a whim by a couple looking for a new shiny toy. The babies conceived through surrogacy were planned for and prayed for. And you – as a surrogate – are an answered prayer.
Consider what an infertile couple must endure before finally settling on surrogacy – miscarriages, surgeries and procedures, failed attempts at IVF. Year after year of having their dreams of starting a family derailed by a condition outside of their control. The shame and self-doubt about what they are doing wrong. Mentally decorating baby nurseries that never come to fruition. Choosing a name for a baby that never takes a breath outside the womb. Fielding questions and advice from friends and family members that don’t understand their infertility struggle. Infertility can be one of the most isolating experiences an adult can face. Or maybe the parents are a same-sex couple, who don’t have the option of carrying a baby on their own.
When the topic of termination is addressed in regard to surrogacy, your go-to answer might be “absolutely not.”
You are strictly “no-term” and cannot fathom supporting a couple that would consider termination. After all, if you are anti-abortion, you must be anti-termination, right? Well, not necessarily. When it comes to surrogacy, pregnancy termination isn’t abortion, and the two should not be lumped into the same category.
For Family Inceptions and the parents we work with, termination of a surrogate pregnancy isn’t done because the baby is a boy when they wanted a girl. It isn’t done because the intended parents changed their minds. It isn’t done because of physical conditions or birth defects, such as a cleft palate or limb deformity. Termination isn’t done because a baby isn’t “perfect”. For our intended parents, a termination of a surrogate pregnancy would be done in the most extreme circumstances – when there is a medical condition that cannot be fixed with surgery outside of your womb, such as chromosomal abnormalities. This medical condition would affect the quality of life for the baby, if they even made it to that point.
Our intended parents aren’t seeking perfection.
They are seeking to grow their family. They are seeking the joy only a baby can bring. Just as when you were pregnant, all you wanted was a healthy baby. You didn’t care about hair color or eye color. You didn’t care about the baby’s IQ or ability to play sports. All you wanted was a baby that could live and thrive and become the person God intended them to be. And that’s exactly what our intended parents want too.
Family Inceptions is a surrogacy agency built on Christian values, with a love, appreciation, and acceptance for all of God’s creations. We support inclusivity and diversity, and believe your sexual-orientation, race, or religion should not preclude you from becoming a parent. We believe God placed within the human heart the desire to have children, and helping to make that desire a reality is our life’s calling. Our values run deep, and you will feel them and see them in everything we do. Christianity is never a pre-requisite for our prospective parents, donors, or surrogates and we have had the honor of serving intended parents of various religious and non-religious backgrounds. However, it is a prerequisite that the core values of parents, surrogate, and egg donors align with ours, with the common belief that bringing a life into this world is a precious gift. A life that is very much wanted and seen as a blessing.
As a surrogate, the journey is yours to make.
You aren’t simply a ‘vessel’ or womb-for-rent. You have a voice and a choice on how your surrogacy journey plays out. Despite the myths, the intended parents don’t take complete control over your life and your body. The relationship you have with intended parents is a mutually beneficial two-way street, and should be nurtured as such. Trust, communication, and compassion are the building blocks of any solid relationship, and the surrogate-intended parent relationship is no different. You will choose each other for this journey – you have as much of a say in choosing the intended parents you carry a baby for as they have in choosing you as the surrogate to carry their baby. You will ensure your values and expectations align before any contracts are signed. This includes the termination vs. no-termination aspect of surrogacy. You will never be forced into a situation you aren’t 100% comfortable with. The discussions regarding termination, and how and when it could play into the pregnancy, takes place from the very beginning of your relationship with the intended parents.
So what should you consider when discussing termination or no-termination with intended parents?
This topic could potentially be determining a family’s future and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s not as simple as pro-life vs. pro-choice. It’s not about abortion. From your personal experience with pregnancy, you know there is no way to predict the health of the baby. If you are strictly no-termination, you may have foregone genetic testing and diagnostic ultrasounds throughout your own pregnancy. That was your personal decision, and you made it knowing how that decision would impact your family’s future. You decided you were ready to deal with the circumstances no matter what.
But as a surrogate, you aren’t making these decisions alone. It is not your future family on the line. It is not your baby. It is, however, your body. You are part of a team, and your body is your major contribution to this partnership. While you carry the baby for the first nine months of his or her life, it’s the parents who take over and raise the baby through adulthood. Your job on this team is to carry and birth the baby, but it’s the parents’ job to deal with the long-term health of the child. As a surrogate you are entering into a partnership with the intended parents, where you will be making a number of important decisions together. You can plan and prepare and think through the various scenarios and potential health conditions, but unforeseen circumstances could always arise. It’s important you enter into this relationship with an open mind and open heart, recognizing that if the worst case scenario does arise – such as a severe medical condition not compatible with life – you are not making this decision for yourself.
You were in control during your own pregnancy and able to make all the decisions. Intended parents don’t have that luxury.
Infertility has robbed them of the control. Or perhaps surrogacy is the only way for a couple to have a child, as with same-sex couples. It’s something to keep in mind as you enter into the relationship with your intended parents. You need to ask yourself: Am I the person who should be making decisions about this baby’s future? About this family’s future? Or should the decision about termination ultimately lie with the parents of the baby I am carrying? You’ve already established a relationship with the intended parents built on trust and compassion. Shouldn’t you trust them in making the right decision? You may want to consider letting control be in the parents’ hands, allowing them to make the ultimate decision to terminate or keep the pregnancy.
Some surrogacy agencies won’t accept no-term surrogates. Family Inceptions is not one of those agencies. We accept no-term surrogates, and have like-minded, strictly no-term parents praying for you right now! But before you categorize yourself as 100% no-term due to your anti-abortion mindset, consider the fact that pregnancy termination is NOT the same as abortion for our clients. Open yourself up to the discussion of termination with your intended parents and talk through various scenarios. We think you’ll find that your values align, and you’re on the same page regarding the sanctity of life. Remember, the baby you will be carrying is WANTED and has been prayed for year after year. None of Family Inceptions’ intended parents are here haphazardly or by accident. None of our intended parents are seeking perfection. We are all here for the same purpose – to create (or grow) families. We value the lives of the babies we help create and believe every baby is a perfect reflection of what God designed him or her to be. And you can trust that our intended parents feel the exact same way.
Looking for more information on becoming a surrogate mother? Click here to see the top 10 things we look for in our surrogate at Family Inceptions.