To be a surrogate and help couples who cannot conceive by themselves is perhaps one of the most selfless acts. However, it can often be a difficult time for prospective parents who may not know how to go through the gestation period, just as it happened with this mum.
A Reddit user shared her experience of being a surrogate mother to her sister’s child. But the problem here wasn’t so much about: how does surrogacy affect the child. It was more on the lines of: how has surrogacy affected the prospective mother! Because while this woman was actually pregnant, her sibling decided to “live like she herself is the one pregnant!”
Woman Decides To Become the Surrogate For Her Sibling Struggling With Fertility Issues
The pregnant woman shared, “My sister was having some fertility issues and is not able to have a safe pregnancy. I offered to carry the baby for her and her husband. I am now currently six-and-a-half months along and everything is going well,” She further explained that when the family found out she was pregnant, her sibling started to act weird.
She wrote, “I understood that she is going through an emotional time. I mainly thought this was going to be something just between her and her husband. I was wrong and she has begun to act pregnant in her daily life.”
There were several times when the woman chose to ignore her sister’s behaviour.
For instance, she mentioned, “At first it was just small things like having her husband run out to get the food she was “craving” but it developed into things like wearing maternity wear. She also gets annoyed if I talk about my cravings or pregnancy symptoms around her. These things don’t bother me much and I just think my sister wants to feel involved.”
“I snapped at her that she is not actually pregnant and does not get how exhausting it can be”
They were out shopping for baby’s essentials together and the sister would (understandably) become frustrated when salespeople directed their attention to the pregnant sister.
The woman would then have to explain that her sister is the mother. However, things went out of her hand, when they entered the final store to set up a baby registry.
“I must have looked exhausted because as we were waiting the salesperson brought over a chair for me to sit while the registry paperwork was done. When she brought it over she did say something like ‘Here’s a chair for Mom’. I didn’t correct the salesperson this time and just sat down,” she said.
Her sister then came and asked her to get up and give her the chair. “I asked her why and tried explaining that I was tired. My sister berated me by saying the salesperson said the chair was for the mom and that she was supposed to sit. She said that this was her registry appointment and how dare I act like this was all about me,” the user wrote.
She further added that she tried to reason with her sister, but without any positive response. And thus the inevitable happened.
“I snapped at her that she is not actually pregnant and does not get how exhausting it can be,” she said.
“I told her I am trying my best to appease her but she is being ridiculous,” she added. A scene was created, her sister cried and felt ‘ashamed’ for not being able to fall pregnant and she stomped out of the store. Their mother also told the pregnant daughter that she should have just stood up and let her sister have the chair.
The surrogate mum unable to understand where and how is she wrong in the situation posted her problem on the Internet. She said, “I know this whole thing must seem so small and stupid because it’s about a chair.” She asked if she was in the wrong about the situation.
Woman Receives Support And Advice From Other Mums
Other Reddit users supported her and shared their suggestions on how the surrogate mum needs to deal with the situation. Let’s take a look at what they had to say.
A user named Gingersnapp3d wrote, “I think your sister is mentally unstable and needs help dealing with what she’s going through. She’s gotten to the point where she is putting you and the baby’s health, not at risk per se but not as a priority. There’s something wrong here that I think needs a professional.”
Need for infertility grief
A user named DirtyPrancing 65 said, “She should probably not have agreed to carry her sister’s child until she’d gone through therapy for infertility grief. Even adoption agencies won’t let you have a baby until you’ve grieved the fact you won’t have a kid on your own.”
Consider surrogate mum as a competition
User Hipnip1219, wrote, “I am sure at some point she will be cutting you out of her and the babies life. She will see you as competition and worry that the child will love you more. She won’t ever be able to let it go, and maybe terrible to the child if they remind her of you. Please ensure that you have a chat with her husband and your parents prior to handing the baby over. She may suffer from her own version of postpartum when the baby gets here and she faces the enormity of it all.”
A user named srhth13 wrote Plus she seems ungrateful to op for carrying her baby. wait, another point, I can’t believe her MUM is on her sister’s side. unacceptable. “just let her have the seat”? Does she not see the main issue that the sister thinks op is shaming her for not being able to be preggo? wow. They are all taking her(op) for granted while op’s sister is playing the victim. that is how it seems to me.”
The child will get affected
Many mums struggled with the question: “how does surrogacy affect the child?”
One mum Celia felt that in this scenario, surrogacy will have an impact on the child. She mentioned “Oh great, now I’m concerned about the child having developmental problems. If it does, the OP will be getting the blame and the child risks being abused for not being ‘perfect’ after all the mother (not OP) ‘went through’ to ‘bring it into this world’. When she did sweet FA during the whole process except put stress on the one carrying the freaking baby!”
While this debate raised pertinent questions on how does surrogacy affect the ‘child’ and the ‘non-biological mother.’ It also raised the question of the process in itself and whether it was really the right way for some women. If you recall, a United Nations human rights expert also cautioned last year that children face the risk of becoming commodified as surrogacy becomes more prevalent.
So if you are thinking of being a surrogate mum or having a baby through surrogacy, there are certain crucial things that you must know.
How Does Surrogacy Affect the Child?
A team of British researchers, led by Susan Golombok, a professor of family research and director of the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge, found that children born with the help of a surrogate may have more adjustment problems – at least at age 7 – than those born to their mother via donated eggs and sperm.
The results suggest that it’s more difficult for youngsters to deal with the idea that they grew in an unrelated woman’s womb than with the concept that they are not biologically related to one or both parents.
Obviously, as a parent, it is your decision on how to share this intimate news with your children. However, being transparent will help to further strengthen your bond with your child. While, you may decide to keep mum on the issue, a family member may just speak to them. So, it’s always better to have an open discussion with them at an appropriate age (when you think you and they are ready).
FAQs About Surrogacy In Singapore
The issue of surrogacy has been in the limelight after the landmark High Court decision. A Singaporean gay man was legally allowed to adopt his biological child who was born through a surrogate mother. However, the provision of surrogacy services is currently illegal in Singapore. Here are few FAQs to clear your doubt on this subject.
Is surrogacy legal in Singapore?
Surrogacy services are not available in Singapore. The Ministry of Health provisions prohibit Assisted Reproduction Centres from providing surrogacy services. These centres face suspension or revocation of their operating licences if they violate these regulations.
Can I get my surrogate child from overseas?
Image courtesy: iStock
There are no restrictions on Singaporean couples engaging in surrogacy in order to have children overseas. However, having Singapore acknowledge your surrogate child is a little more tedious. You will have to apply to legally adopt him or her. Also, adoption will serve to sever the legal ties with the child’s biological carrier (the surrogate mother).
Can I not be a parent without adoption?
Yes, you can take care of your surrogate child even without adoption as well. All parents in Singapore have parental rights and responsibility towards maintaining their children. However, being a child’s legal parent, you will give certain rights specific to a parent-child relationship such as, an inheritance.
Taking the decision of having a surrogate child is a tough call. Remember, surrogacy can be physically and emotionally demanding. You need to sit with your partner and share if you are comfortable. If you are wondering -how does surrogacy affect the child? Go for counselling and seek medical help to clear all your doubts. However, once you have decided to go ahead, then don’t let jealously and other negative feelings ruin your moment.