Birth Stories- Telling Your Child They Were Born Via Surrogacy

Intended parents often have more than a few concerns when they start to consider having a baby via surrogacy. One of the ideas that makes intended parents the most uncomfortable and that we at Simple Surrogacy encounter most often is, “When my child gets older, what should I tell them about how they were born?” It is important to make sure your child knows the story of their birth, as surrogacy is an important part of their birth story and their identity. There are many ways to introduce your child to the story of their birth, and it can create a touching, educational moment between parents and child.

Why Should I Tell My Child Their Birth Story?

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) encourages parents to tell children born via surrogacy their birth stories, noting research that warns keeping a child’s birth story a “secret” can be detrimental to the child, as well as to the parents. Psychologists and other experts on child development have learned from experience with adoptive children that a child will want to know their origin to help them develop their self-esteem, trust and identity.

Keeping a monumental secret such as a child’s birth story from them can cause undue stress on the parents and the rest of the family. It can foster a sense of distrust and guilt within the family, creating a toxic environment in which the child will grow up. Furthermore, others who know your child’s birth story could inadvertently mention it to them sometime.

It is in a child’s best interest to know their genetic makeup for their future medical health. If your child knows their origin, they can find out pertinent, important genetic information as necessary later in life–for example, if they decide to have a child of their own someday.

When Should I Tell My Child Their Birth Story?

Intended parents might wonder when is the best time to tell their child how they were born through the generosity of a surrogate mother. Experts recommend not waiting too long to tell your child their birth story. If you wait until you think your child is old enough to understand, there are too many opportunities for them to learn their origin story via others, fostering a sense of distrust with you, their parents.

Before your child is even born, gather information on the surrogacy process that is geared towards an audience of young children. Find books, videos, and any other types of materials that you think will help your child to understand the story of their birth. Start a scrapbook including photos of the surrogate mother at various stages during her pregnancy.

Begin talking to your child about surrogacy from a young age. You can even practice telling the story to them as an infant. Even though they won’t understand yet, this will give you practice in telling the story. Remember, young children are the most open-minded humans on the planet. While they might not yet fully understand everything that you are telling them, they will listen and absorb more information than you think.

Make your child’s birth story a natural part of their lives. In this way, they will know how much they are loved, not only by you, the parents, but by the surrogate mother who made it possible for them to be born. If a child grows up hearing their birth story in natural ways from their parents, it will become just another part of their identity, and not something strange or different that sets them apart from other children.

How Should I Tell My Child Their Birth Story?

Begin telling your child their birth story by showing them the scrapbook that you kept during the surrogate mother’s pregnancy. Be upfront with your child about who she is and how she enabled your child’s birth. Come across as comfortable and confident when telling your child their birth story. (Even if you don’t feel completely comfortable or confident yet, you will in time!)

As your child gets older, you can include more details about their birth story and incorporate the educational materials you collected before they were born. Answer your child’s questions thoroughly and honestly. Explain to your child that families are created in a variety of ways, including through adoption and surrogacy. If school classmates or friends ask your child questions about their origins, help them learn how to answer these questions honestly and in an instructive way, while still protecting their personal privacy.

If you have an open relationship with the surrogate mother, you may wish to include her in telling your child their birth story. This should be decided upon long before your child’s birth, however, and spelled out in your Surrogacy Agreement.

Take a Deep Breath…

The most important thing you as a parent can do when preparing to relay your child’s birth story to them is RELAX! This is a happy story, and one that you will be anxious to share with your child. Being honest, open and forthcoming with your child is the best way to build trust with your child, as well as instill a sense of self-esteem and identity in your child. Even if you make a few minor mistakes along the way, there is no wrong way to tell your child the origin story of their birth. This is a positive story and a part of your child’s history of which you and they should be proud.

As intended parents, you should be proud of yourselves as well! By being honest with your child and telling them their birth story, you are helping to “normalize” surrogacy. The more that surrogacy is talked about, the more normal it will become. In the not too distant future, it is hoped that telling a child that they were born via surrogacy will become as mundane as letting them know that they are right-handed or that they have blue eyes. It will just be an accepted and normal part of their origin and of their identity.

We at Simple Surrogacy are here to help you along your journey, every step of the way! Contact us to learn how we can make the surrogacy process comfortable for everyone.

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