Surrogacy, Contracts and Promises

Last week I put up a post about surrogacy and contracts.   It was not one of my best efforts–I knew just enough to be dangerously confusing.   I’m going to try again and though I’ve linked to the earlier post, I’m not sure it’s really helpful to actually read the thing.  

The starting point for this consideration is the approval of surrogacy in a general sort of way.   If you think surrogacy is morally wrong and should never be approved, then the rest of this discussion won’t have any relevance to you. 

But let’s suppose that you think a woman is capable of agreeing to be a surrogate for another person or people and that you think women should be allowed to do this.  (I do think this, as you will know if you have been reading the blog.  For extensive discussion of a wide range of issues, try the tag “surrogacy.”)   

It seems quite reasonable to me that the surrogate and the person or people for whom she is acting  will want to have a written agreement.   At the very least, there must be discussion of a whole range of issues before they proceed and if they have the discussion and reach agreement, then I think it makes sense to write it all down.   (Obviously if they don’t reach agreement they shouldn’t go forward.)  

It’s worth taking a moment to think about the sorts of things that they surrogate and the intended parents ought to consider.   Keep in mind that the intended parent(s) are likely to be reasonably well educated and wealthy.   

For people from that segment of our culture, pregnancy is typically a highly-managed endeavor.  There are foods to eat (those with folic acid, maybe) and not eat (those that might have high levels of mercury, perhaps), types of exercise to get and types not to get, restrictions on activities that might be harmful to the developing embryo (dyeing hair, tattoos, etc) and activities that might be beneficial.   Indeed, there’s a whole industry out there aimed at enhancing the prospects of a child by managing pregnancy. 

It seems to me quite predictable that some–maybe even most–IPs will want to ensure that the surrogate does all the right things, whatever they think the right things are.    If this is so then surely they should talk about this with the surrogate.  

There’s also a separate and critical set of issues around medical care.   What will the prenatal medical care be?  Who will provide it?  What tests will be done?  And what actions may be taken as a result of the outcome of the tests?   These are hugely important questions that it seems to me MUST be discussed.  Perhaps the largest questions are those around the circumstances under which the surrogate might elect to have an abortion or might selectively reduce the number of embryos she is carrying.      And here again, it seems to me clear that the parties contemplating surrogacy ought to discuss these issues, they ought to be sure they agree about how they will be handled and, assuming they agree, they ought to write the agreement down.   That written agreement is essentially a contract.     

I do see that there can be objections voiced to the terms of this contract.    Certainly the terms of the contract are unlike those of most commercial contracts.  It’s anywhere from curious to degrading to contemplate contract terms like “you will eat spinach” to “you will not stay up past midnight.”   (These are not real contract terms and I suspect they are extreme, but you get the idea.)   But  it seems to me that if I say a woman has a right to agree to be a surrogate then it is hard for me to say she cannot agree to terms like these.  

Perhaps the more important question is the force to be given the agreement.   It seems to me at the very least, it is a personal promise.   I’m inclined to believe people should not discard their promises lightly.   So I suppose the first thing I’d say is there is a moral obligation to take the commitments you make seriously. 

Does it have meaning beyond that?   If you fail to comply with the terms of the agreement does it amount to a legal breach of contract and, if so, what follows from that?  

For the moment I will go this far:   Legal parentage cannot be reassigned as a remedy for breach of contract.   There may be a variety of remedies available, but this cannot be one of them.  And that is because it is not the contract that determines legal parentage in the first place.   Legal parentage is not assigned by private agreement (that’s selling children) but rather by the operation of legal rules that are external to the agreement.  So whatever it is that makes the IPs legal parents (if legal parents they be), it cannot be changed by compliance/non-compliance with the contract. 

This seems like a sounder beginning to me.  Next time–on to remedies!

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30 responses to “Surrogacy, Contracts and Promises

  1. Is that so?
    Certainly there are some locales?

    • I’m not sure I know what you are asking about, but I’ll take a shot. I don’t think there is any jurisdiction where legal parenthood is actually assigned by contract. The contract may say something about legal parenthood, but I wouldn’t expect that to have legal force.

      There is a subtlety here: What does have legal force is probably the intention of the parties. Parenthood via intention is one of the hallmarks of ART. The contract provides evidence of that intention, and so it could be relevant. But once a court finds that there was, at whatever the critical time was, the intention, that’s it. This means that whether the people comply with the contract or not doesn’t change parentage, and so it isn’t the contract that is assigning parentage.

  2. i was a surrogate that did everything i was suppose to do..but one of the twins didnt make it past 21 weeks..doctors told me to end the pregnancy because i would put my life at risk..but i couldnt do that to the other baby or to the parents..but the parents could care less about the risk i took for them and decided not to pay me the rest of the money that was due to me..so from one surrogate to other make sure the company you do it for backs you 100 % and that you talk to the parents about every thing that could possible go wrong..you never know

    • marilynn huff

      Hello Lisa were you carrying your own embryos or was the woman who did not pay actually the mother of the children you carried or were they your embryos? Someone else’s entirely? Did you really not end the pregnancy because you cared about them, seems you just had a good feeling that the remaining embryo would make it and you did it for that baby. Do you ever worry that if they were unethical with you they might not treat the baby so well. (I’m sorry if this is your baby then of course I want to be respectful of that)
      never talked to anyone in your position before. Tons of questions. Its fascinating. There is a wierd dynamic between people who pay people to do their personal business for them and those that do it, I mean even running errands can make a person resentful of their employer. Carrying a baby for a woman seems like it would be very difficult not to think of the people as spoiled

  3. As another surrogate (previously gestational, currently traditional), I have to say that this exact issue is why the matching phase is so critical. You have to know with whom you will be working, and trust them, on one side to do what is best for your child, on the other side to respect you to do what’s right for you. It’s a complicated dance, but of the utmost importance. Fortunately, there are some people that are getting a good hang of how to write a contract that respects both sides of the relationship, and those wordings are becoming more common.

  4. “As another surrogate (previously gestational, currently traditional), ”

    Good lord. You mean you are currently pregnant with your own 100% biological offspring and planning to surrendur your child for adoption?
    I would sooner call your client, the IP, a traditional surrogate, than yourself. She’s the one who will be filling in for your role in raising your child after all.

    • There is no she- it’s for two men. And it’s my genetics, not my child- there’s a difference. Finally, no one is filling my role- my name stays on the birth certificate, the five of us (me, my husband, the dads, and my son) are committed to an open relationship after wards, and this child will be raised by two parents who love her dearly and wanted desperately to have her, in spite of all the obstacles. My role is to grow her until she’s born, be a friend to her fathers the same as I have been, and to be there with her fathers to answer any questions she might have as she grows up.

      Providing genetic material does not automatically give me the rights and responsibilities of being a mother (and motherhood is both a right and a responsibility) when this child has already had people intending to parent her from before her conception. I know it’s a matter of contention on here, but in a case where there are already parents, we all are in agreement as to what each person’s role is, the child has access to her own information, and there’s no attempt at obfuscation or falsification of information, then the people whose opinion matter are not names on a computer screen but the five of us (soon to be six) who are immediate to the situation.

      • Providing genetic material automatically gives you the responsibility to be your child’s mother, but not the right. You may have already proven yourself unfit to be a parent and lost the right to raise that child. I don’t think the intended parents have any right to raise that child whatsoever. So I think the best thing is for that child to be raised by another adoptive family, and to find out the true circumstances of her conception when she grows up. I think intentionally conceiving with someone other than your husband should be a crime, punishable by fines and jail, and also giving up a child for adoption should be a crime if the child was conceived with that in mind. The two men should be allowed to parent, of course, but not through intentional conception of children.

  5. Ugh.

  6. “Providing genetic material does not automatically give me the rights and responsibilities of being a mother (and motherhood is both a right and a responsibility) when this child has already had people intending to parent her from before her conception”

    I am certain you are mistaken. Have you checked the law in your state? You are the genetic mother and you are also pregnant with your own child. That’s a double whammy I doubt you could get out of , even in California.
    However, you will probably get out of paying child support when you give over custody to your kid’s father and his partner. That’s too bad. You should have to pay child support same as any other deadbeat dad. Otherwise this is a clear case of discrimination against men.

  7. So by your logic, men and women who give up their child for adoption should pay child support? If a woman has a child, is no longer with the biological father, remarries, and the step father adopts the child, should the biological father still have to pay support, even if he has no rights to the child? The important thing is that the child is loved and cared for, and in the US we define “cared for” as having two parents providing support.

  8. Yes the biological father must pay child support and is entitled to sue for custody and visitation, as well as veto an adoption if he so chooses. The mother’s marriage is of no relevance.
    Regarding adoption; adoptions can only take place after the child is born; all prior “agreements” are of no relevance either.
    In other words, in order to surrendur a child to adoption, you must first be a parent. Only a parent or the state can surrendur a child for adoption. And since you aren’t the state, I guess that leaves you the parent.

    So enough word games please. Stop calling yourself innaccurate politically loaded euphemisms like “traditional surrogate” and tell it like it is; I am pregnant and I intend to surrendur my kid to adoption.

  9. …. because I care more for some unrelated adult than I do for it.

    Is that the answer you need to be on hand to give to your child?

  10. Why is it so hard for you to accept that your opinion is not the same as those concerned in this situation, and no one is being harmed? Two men get to finally be parents, a child gets two loving, devoted parents, there’s no lying about or hiding genetic information, and no laws are broken? What are your motives other than to impose your view of the world on others, because the best interests of the child, they are not.

  11. why is my motivation important?

    • Motivation is always important- a good deal of the meaning of any action lies in the intent (think of manslaughter versus homicide- big difference based on intent).

  12. marilynn huff

    Woah lady look you and your husband and your son, your daughter, her father and his partner can make up your own definitions for words so that only those in your circle understand what you are talking about, that is totally fine. I do that with my own family. I have lots of aunts and brothers and grandparents who are not related to me in the slightest. That is what they are to me and I have no problem calling them that but it is not the truth and I know that they are not in fact my brother or my grandmother or my aunt, its just something I call them. If I told people outside my circle that a certain woman was my grandmother I know they’d interpret that to mean that I am her second generation decendent either maternally or paternally. Why because its something we both have in common, me and who ever I am talking to – grandmother needs to be defined in a way that means the very same thing to both of us and both of us have grandmothers that we decended from. If I have some additional people that I call grandma that I did not decend from I cannot expect them to gleen that from my use of the word grandmother, if I want to be clear about the situation I will say she’s a dear friend of the family who I call grandma, if I want you to believe there is a biological relationship where there is not one or if I want to impart biological significance on a non-biological relationship I will just use the word grandmother and let you believe what I’d prefer you to believe.
    Words do not mean different things to different people, not if you have a dictionary, not if they are part of a language where words have to mean the same thing to everyone or nobody will understand what your trying to say.

    Your daughter is your daughter, your her mother no matter whether you wish to play that roll or not. Based upon the commonly understood meaning of the word mother, in the english language which you speak, you know full well that you meet the criteria for being called a mother based on the one kind of mother that everyone has in common and that is the one who reproduced to create them. You also meet the second definition of mother that all people have in common which is that you gave birth to the child and you are also named on the birth certificate as the childs mother. If you gave the baby up for adoption you don’t give up your title as mother you just give up your parental rights and responsibilities. You cant erase your motherhood. So amongst your group you are not considered a mother but in the reality that you share with the rest of the world you are in every possible way the mother of the child you gave birth to your just not raising her. You undervalue yourself. You are one of the two most important people in the world to her, the other is her father, then third will be her brother, don’t forget about him and then also very influential will be her stepfather or sudo step father if they are not married. Its the truth but it can be every bit as good and valuable even more valuable than a biological parent, which you are saying will be the case since you don’t plan to be involved in raising your daughter the step father will.

    Good luck to you all. I respect the fact that you agreed to remain accessible to your child and I respect the fact that your child’s father chose not to exclude you. Given everyones want’s and desires at least the child is not loosing out on knowing her mother or her brother and in time she may feel that access to you both is important to you. You are setting a good example for people who want to do this even though, quite frankly, you really freak me out. I’m still going to give you a nod for not deceiving the kid.

    • Marilyn, I understand what you’re saying, part of my issue with kisarita is her insistence on shoving titles down people’s (specifically my) throat. Use offspring, progeny, etc- “child” is a heavily loaded word. Same with “mother”- qualify it as “biological mother,” maternal progenitor” etc. and I have no qualms. It really comes across as if she’s trying her best to create emotions that aren’t there, and an internal conflict that isn’t there. I know I’m not coming across at my best, but it’s hot, I’m huge and uncomfortable right now, and the whole thing feels like being on the receiving end of anti abortion folk screaming about “killing your baby” to a woman walking into a clinic. I guess my big question is- what’s the best scenario? This, where the outcome is set from the beginning, and everyone knows their roles at the outset and goes into willingly and honestly? An adoption where the woman giving birth may be under financial/personal/social stresses to give up the child, and things may or may not be open, and roles aren’t set ahead of time? Or a world where only biology is considered in determining a family, so nothing else counts, blocking a decent chunk of the population from having the joy of parenthood?

      • yeah well i’m a stickler for linguistic accuracy
        as Marilyn once said “string yourself enough euphemisms together and you have your self a little lie” (or didn’t you say something like that?)
        and accuracy is especially important since social policy is based on it

        • it was string enough wrong words together and you have yourself a nice little lie and i’m so flattered that someone would want to quote me without trying to slam me im all giddy. My favorite one of yours is that step relationships usually don’t outlast the someething something something that created them. Had a lovely rythem (ever spell a word so wrong that spell cheeck has no idea what word your talking about?) and packed a whallup too.

        • Yes, accuracy is important. This is a surrogacy, not adoption (pre-planned, not after the fact), and loaded words only detract from accuracy (and mother and child are loaded words).

          • You sound like the father and partner are personal friends at that puts tou in a safe place. Its so cool that your hear talking I don’t want to beat the language issue to death when there are all kinds of interesting technical questions to ask. So lets find some common ground where I can learn something:
            What’s up with the contract language in a situation like this…you are married so you have to avoid having your husband named as the fsther on the birth certificate, obviously you will be named as Mother on the certificate (I understand that is not how you are thinking of yourself and you have a contract to the contrary – I’m respecting that) . Will the baby’s father sign a voluntary admission of paternity signed by you in order to be named on the certificate? That seems like the logical approach to make sure he’s named. Also since you and he do not think of you as the mother, but the law will at birth anyway, what protection do you have from being held jointly responsible for raising the child in the event his partner/spouse bails on their relationship or decides at the last minute that he does not wish to do a step parent adoption? That places you in much the same position as many unmarried fathers who do not want to raise the child and would give their child up for step parent adoption if and when their child’s mother gets married. Is there a clause that says his partner must adopt this baby from the mother? If so is there a time frame by which your requiring him to do that? What are the penalties if he opts to terminate the contract prior to the adoption and you are held responsible for child support ? I’m sure if he backed out you and your friend would work together and just share custody of your daughter, you don’t sound like your so detached you could not handle that but it would be a financial burden that you had not anticipated. Is there some sort of clause that says the man who did not adopt would have to give you $20K a year until the kid turned 18 or was adopted by a future spouse of the father? Is that even enforceable? Will a court require someone to go through with an adoption and if not will they enforce a clause that says they owe the Mother money for failing to relieve her of her parental obligations? Or does the contract shift the burden to the father and he would have to pay you? Would a court enforce that? How does your contract read compared to others that you have heard of? Is there stuff written in that gives you the option of reniging on the adoption if so what are the criteria and what penalties do you have to pay and is that enforceable?
            Oh I could come up with a million more questions. Please stay a while if you would.

            • here talking not hear talking

              • I think we’ve found plenty of common ground so far- that children have rights to know from where they come, for one. 🙂 I’ve actually been around here for a while, just mostly a lurker until now. We didn’t start as personal friends, but we’ve definitely become that, or else we wouldn’t have all gotten this far, that’s for sure. I have to admit, our contract isn’t nearly water-tight on laying out remedies for breach or anything like that, because we are in a safe place- we talked over *everything* before that to make sure we were a good match on philosophy, in person, on the phone, and over email. Mechanically, after birth we’ll have a post-birth order declaring him the father thanks to denial of paternity affidavits and health records from my husband (he can’t be the father, he’s snipped) and myself, and the bio-dad accepting paternity. Then there will be formal custody agreement between he and I allowing he and his husband (they were officially married and their state recognizes same sex marriage) to travel with their child back home, and once home, the guys will be doing a step- (or co-? I can’t remember if there’s a distinction for them?) parent adoption, and I sign saying that yes, I’m OK with this and give up parental rights. So there will be an adoption decree, but no altered birth certificate, which allows them to get dual citizenship for their daughter at some point (non-bio dad has residency here, but wants her to have the option of citizenship in his home country, for the opportunities that gives- interestingly, his native country actually has separate birth and parentage certificates, one to name the genetic lineage of the child, another to name the legal guardians; Europeans have us beat once again). If the non-bio dad refused to adopt (very big if, they’ve been trying to become parents for a fairly long time now, either through adoption or surrogacy at various points), I can’t see myself fighting for custody/child support/whatever. It’s a risk you take as a surrogate, and that’s one of the reasons the actual matching of individuals is so important. I do think surrogacy is far too prevalent in the US, and can/has/will continue to lead to poor outcomes because people who should not have utilized the process have and do and will continue to do so. It has become far to commercialized here. At the same time, it’s an option that has very real benefits (not having the social stigma of adoption, for one, which I don’t think we should continue, but our society still sees families via adoption as second-class) to both the parents and surrogate. It’s extremely gratifying to see not just a child that you helped create, but a whole family that you helped make- it’s a huge point of pride for myself and all surrogates I know.

                As for if I were to be in breach (again, big if- I love my son, but I also have a career- as soon as I finish my PhD, my research, my community involvement, and my sanity that I value, so that doesn’t leave me time/energy/desire for another one), then I would have to reimburse the dads for their expenses, but it would be very difficult for them to force me to go ahead and keep the child, based on precedent in my state. They have to be able to trust me just as much as I trust them, so again you can see the importance of matching and open communication throughout. It really is a dance similar to finding a life partner. Marriage, in many ways, is a contract as well as a relationship, and both parties take risks in the hope (and trust) that the benefit will be worth it. What’s the quote? “To live fully is to let go and die with each passing moment, and to be reborn with each new one”? Living fully, following your heart, and doing what you believe to be right is not easy and requires a certain amount of trust/faith in the world. And, for me, the risks can be minimized, and the benefits are well worth it. I know that’s more philosophical than the technical answers you had asked for, but I hope it makes a little bit of sense? The technical answers to many of your questions are very much along the lines of “I’m not sure, and I doubt we’ll ever need to know in this situation.”

                • marilynn huff

                  I certainly appreciate that you took the time to answer my questions. Much too chew on before I ask anymore. cool thanks.

  13. I don’t think the arrangement as you explain it violates the child’s right to her own information, now or as an adult. Children conceived with the help of a physician don’t currently have the same right as other children to know and be supported by the people who created them. Their medical records are falsified by naming unrelated people as their mothers or fathers and they have no legal right to know about that, not even when they reach adulthood. In all other circumstances parental anonymity would be considered abandonment, yet somehow our laws make an exception to that rule for the children produced with the aid of a physician. The situation you describe gives your child the same basic civil liberties as most children have and every child deserves.

    I’m critical as hell of this type of thing and if I thought the child your carrying would not enjoy the same rights as most children have and every child deserves I’d be ripping you a new one for denying the kid access to her own information so that some unrelated person could have the luxury of raising a child and calling themselves parent. Not that you’d have to listen to me, but it would be worth a shot you know? Your not doing any of that. Yes the arrangement is unconventional but it does not result in falsified medical records or leave her wondering if the guy who asked her to prom is her brother or first cousin. It sounds like your giving her up for adoption, which is the only above board way for a parent to transfer their parental obligations to another person. I’m not a fan of adoption but that is mostly because State’s issue fake birth certificates and won’t let kid’s see the real ones, not even when they grow up. So that won’t be the case in this adoption if a new certificate is issued you’ll have a copy of the original and it sounds like she can see it if she wants she’ll already know who you are so its not like she’s being denied access to something that belongs to her. So I think your pretty much all clear.

    Personally I think the linguistic gymnastics do families more harm than good, that is from my experience helping reunite families anyway. Just be aware that its hard on kids to grow up being told that they don’t have a father they have two mothers and a donor or in your case two father’s and a surrogate. The anonymously conceived people who are my personal friends recite that montra “he’s not my father he’s my donor” because that is what they have been taught by the people who love them and raised them. But in their heads they know the rest of the world defines fathers as men with descendants they know that this donor is in reality their father (the reality as understood by the world outside their intimate circle) and there is a lot of pressure for them to deny that reality to placate the feelings of their mother and her husband who they grew up knowing as their father or their mothers partner who they grew up knowing as their other mom. Helping the other mom feel biologically related is a little bit of a psychological burden and you know its not a crime or anything but its sort of an unnecessary mind fk.

    I think telling it like it is (if it needs to be told at all) is way less shocking than using terms like surrogate mother and two fathers. You agreed that your child’s father could raise your daughter on his own without you together with his partner and you’ve decided to relinquish your parental rights so his partner has the authority he needs to make decisions on her behalf since she will be in his care and he will be raising her. You plan to keep in touch and she will have access to her brother and that’s all she wrote. Its really not all that difficult a pill for an outsider to swallow and way less difficult for a child to swallow than hearing she has no mother or that her mother refuses to think of herself as her mother – that’s a self esteem killer if there ever was one. I mean having a mother and father who love you plus a loving step/adoptive parent plus a brother that lives with your mom is just a nicer way to break it down to her than telling her she has two fathers no brother and a surrogate. Its like saying “you share nothing in common with the rest of the people on the planet you have no biological family” You probably realize that she’ll have some difficulty with the fact that her mother kept her brother but did not keep her. That won’t be made easier by everyone saying that your really not her mother your just her surrogate. Its just another layer of personal crap to wade through to make her step father feel like he has a biological connection when he does not. Lots of kids end up being raised by one parent and a step/adoptive parent. That senario gives her the same biological parents that everyone gets and a living situation that is not uncommon given the prevalence of divorce in this country. None of this is any of my damn business and you have every right to rip me a new one if you wish. I appreciate that you took the time to read it.

    Again good luck to you and hats off for not violating her tiny civil liberties. I hate when people do that. As a woman who gave birth in the dog days of August I know what its like to be 9 month’s pregnant in 115 degree heat, my sincere condolences to you. I remember going to my closet and seeing my little size 3 summer clothes and thinking “I can still wear it as jewelry”

    PS Ki sarita’s allright though, she would not mean to say something hurtful to you

    Peace

  14. First, thank you for being able to not compare me to a dead beat dad or saying I should be paying child support, and respecting that, although unconventional, we’re not setting out to rob anyone’s rights. In fact, it appears from what we’ve been told so far that there won’t even be a new birth certificate issued after the step parent adoption (my state doesn’t allow same sex birth certificates). And as with any relationship, things will grow and change as we all go along. How we’re semantically defining everything right now is partly a reflection of the situation (it’s a surrogacy by the original intent of all concerned, not the adoption of an existing child/pregnancy), and partly to ease things for all of right now. Who knows, maybe in a year or two we will have found it more comfortable to just say “mother” or “aunt” or some other variation, I’ve known plenty of surrogates that have a special moniker (both gestational and traditional). It just does no good in the moment to be insisting on loaded words when the situation is going smoothly. I prefer specificity in naming roles, and I’m a biologist- so I don’t think in terms of unqualified mother/child except in social situations, which is different than the colloquial context as you and kisarita use the unqualified terms.

    I understand your concerns about semantics from your experience with reuniting families, and I know for some adopted individuals, the feeling of abandonment and not being “good enough” can be a huge blow, but this is a different situation, so it’s likely to have a different outcome. My father in law was adopted, so I’ve seen what the consequences of a completely closed adoption discovered late in life can be, and one of the goals we all shared from the outset was to avoid something like that. I’ll definitely keep what you’ve said in mind as we go forward; one of things I really like about this space is the different perspectives and experiences presented, because they can be very helpful to consider.

    Today is a little cooler. I finished putting in the garden first thing, and my son and I will be hiding out at the pool this afternoon, so I’m a happy camper.

  15. marilynn huff

    Right on.

    You know Julie touched on the desire of IPs to control women who are carrying the children that they want to raise. If I can get all philosophical about this for a minute, you said that the word Mother is loaded. Its baseline meaning universally is a woman with offspring and then second to that the assumption would be that Mothers typically raise their children, but not always so that can’t actually be assumed that everyone takes mother to mean the one that raises the child. Being the mother means you have authority over what happens to the person your body reproduced to create. You the pregnant woman decide if you want to use your body to grow a baby, maybe you don’t want a genetic reproduction of yourself out there in the world, its your body and you don’t have to grow an embryo into a fetus if you don’t want. Once the baby is born your the mother and you decide what your child will call you and if someone other than her father can refer to himself as her parent and whether or not you think being raised by him is in her best interests. Its your call your the mother and you can direct her and her father and his partner to call you whatever you want. Being the Mother gives you the control over this situation being a surrogate sort of tries to steal your bodily authority, in a way that makes it almost as if before birth none of this is your call anymore. Your cool in your situation, because you feel respected like your not being pushed around. But I think for all women it needs to be clear that your the Mother and you are allowing them to refer to you as their surrogate, your indulging them they are not controlling you. If his partner turned out to be a reformed ax murderer and you were like “hey -nah deal’s off” Dad would have to suck it up and respect your decision.

    What Julie was saying about control, you deserve it and you have it. You think you are doing what’s best for the child you created, your not contractually obligated to do it whether or not you want to. Maybe women in India or whatever may be pushed down by being called surrogate not mom.

    • I thought that piece was very good, and should be required reading for anyone (on either side) considering alternative ways of creating a family. The points made were well-appreciated and spot-on. The qualified “surrogate mother” or simply “pregnant woman” I think retains that control, while not imposing any emotional or social meaning. I understand the need for keeping bodily control in the hands of the owner of the body, but I don’t think that an already emotional time for all involved is the time to start throwing in emotionally loaded words as well- in the experiences I have seen, adding too much stress leads to a bad outcome, for everybody. Avoidable stress seems best kept out of the situation, or dealt with at a later date, when there’s less general stress and everyone is less on-edge.

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