The surrogate motherhood procedure is a great stress for all participants in the action. When a surrogate baby is born, should it be worth telling the truth, or should it be better to keep a secret? And what should a surrogate mother tell her own children about her pregnancy? Experts unanimously advise to be honest with children, relatives, or those born with the help of assisted reproduction from the very beginning.
Feskov Human Reproduction Group, Ukraine, will help people from all over the world become happy dads and moms with guaranteed surrogacy package programs.
Why should you tell your child how it was born?
Specialists from the Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommend telling the surrogate child the story of its birth openly. According to research data, secrecy in this matter can have a negative impact on the life of the child and his parents.
In addition, psychologists are convinced that information about one’s origins is very important for a growing person to develop a normal sense of identity, healthy self-esteem and trust in life.
The following reasons are additional grounds for a story:
- the intended parents, relatives and friends must bear the heavy burden of concealing the truth for an unknown amount of time;
- lying or withholding the truth may in the future cause the child to feel ashamed, guilty and distrustful of their parents and to be biased towards this type of ART and donation;
- if a child learns the truth not from family members but from distant acquaintances or strangers, this will have a negative impact on the family relationship;
- in the case of donation, the child risks not being aware of his or her entire medical history (illnesses and donor characteristics).
But how do you bring your child to notice in the right way? What concepts should be used for better understanding?
Preparing for a conversation, when and how to hold it, books
Some parents want to tell the truth when their baby is older and mature enough to understand everything correctly. However, surrogate experts advise you to start talking, the earlier the better. Because young children are still able to perceive information naturally without prejudice or social cliches.
An important pre-conversation stage is preparation before birth, in which both parents must participate. It would be a good idea to create a unique family book with photographs, descriptions, short stories about each person involved in the process, milestones passed. Documentation of the entire event will be a key part of the child’s personal story. It will also be an ideal time to practice future conversations, what words to choose and how to explain them.
Right after birth, you should start your own stories. Even if it seems that the baby does not understand anything, the necessary concepts are laid down in his subconscious. And as he grows older, the baby will not have time to regularly hear about surrogates. Again, this is good practical work for parents.
When the child grows up, you should continue the story in simple and accessible language. This is a good time to give the family book that was created before the child was born because babies love to read stories about themselves. You can also offer special books on similar topics for babies (how babies appear, donation, surrogate).
When a child goes to school, his or her understanding and awareness of these issues will expand naturally. Since he or she has been aware of this subject for a long time. And if you wait with the truth until then, the information received can shock and disgust them. It is important for parents to answer all questions openly and honestly during the formation of a young person’s personality.
How can a surrogate mother explain what is happening to her own child?
Women who decide to act as surrogates usually have families and children. And how do you prepare your child for a surrogate pregnancy?
Again, not a one-time conversation, but constant dialogue throughout the process is the key to forming a positive attitude towards the concept.
Each conversation on the subject should be:
- appropriate to the age frame of the child. Instead of a lot of complex information, it is better to communicate in simple language, including examples and children’s books on the subject. It can be explained to the children that before birth kids live in a cozy place in their bellies, but not all women can raise them there. And surrogate mothers help these women;
- with positive reinforcement. Children are very empathetic and take over the relationship of their parents. If you talk about the process positively, as something special and honorable, then kids will accept the information as well, and they will be proud of it;
- with a mutual exchange of thoughts and emotions. It is important to listen to children’s thoughts about this, to answer all questions honestly;
- soothing. It can be difficult for children to get used to the idea that the child in the belly is not their brother or sister. They may be worried that they too will have to go to another family. It is important to convince the children that they love each other and that no one is going to give them anywhere. And the born baby will also live in love and care.
It may also be wise to write down your thoughts about this before you tell them to your children.
Involvement of own children in the process
For better understanding, specialists advise involving own children in the process according to their age and general understanding:
- acquaintance with special children’s books on the subject and exchange of opinions;
- stories about a family that cannot have a baby with photos and descriptions;
- sharing photos with children and sending them to their prospective parents for the family book;
- letters and drawings for the childless family and the baby’s future;
- joint communication between the two families, together with the children: visits, dinners, and walks;
- choosing a toy for the baby in the belly;
- preparing answers to the most common questions from peers, acquaintances, and strangers about pregnancy, surrogacy.
This will give children a clear idea of the procedure, why the mother helps another family, and where the born baby will live next. All of this will create a positive attitude towards this method of reproduction, give a positive experience and promote healthy relationships in the family.
Feskov Human Reproduction Group consultants, as part of surrogate packages at certain prices, will give advice on all psychological questions that will arise during this difficult but happy journey.