Will the Baby Look Like the Surrogate Mother?

If you are considering starting a family or building onto your current family through surrogacy, you likely have some questions. One of the most common inquiries we at Simple Surrogacy often hear from intended parents, and prospective intended parents, is, “Will the baby look like the surrogate mother?” There are many factors that come into play when this question is posed. Genetics, DNA, blood, appearance, and parentage are all concepts that intended parents might think about when considering utilizing the surrogacy process to have a baby. We will thoroughly and definitively explore the answers to all of these questions here.

Genetic Relationships

Some intended parents are thinking of genetic relationships when they ask if their baby will look like the surrogate mother, or share her DNA. The baby of a surrogate mother can be genetically related to her, depending upon the type of surrogacy you, the intended parents, desire. Under traditional surrogacy, which is the much less common form of surrogacy used today, the surrogate mother becomes pregnant through Intrauterine Insemination, with the sperm belonging to the intended parent (or a donor) but the eggs coming from the surrogate mother. In this type of surrogacy, the baby will share genetics and DNA with the surrogate mother.

The far more common type of surrogacy, however, is gestational surrogacy. In this type of surrogacy, the surrogate mother undergoes In Vitro Fertilization, in which an embryo is transferred into her uterus. The embryo is not formed from eggs from the surrogate mother in this case – the egg and sperm cells will both come from the intended parents or from donors. The surrogate mother’s uterus simply acts as a host in which the baby will grow and thrive for nine months. So, under gestational surrogacy, there is no genetic or DNA relationship between the baby and the surrogate mother, and no chance that the baby will resemble the surrogate mother.

The baby will only share DNA with the person who has provided the sperm, and the person who has provided the egg. In most types of surrogacy (gestational), this will not include the surrogate mother. Therefore, under gestational surrogacy, the baby will not share the surrogate mother’s DNA or inherit any of her traits.

Blood Relationships

Several intended parents wonder if their baby will share blood with the surrogate mother, since the baby will be housed in her womb for nine months. Only traditional surrogates are related to the baby by “blood.” A gestational surrogate is not considered to be a “blood relative” of the baby as they do not share genes, nor do they share blood.

However, the surrogate mother (in both traditional and gestational surrogacies) will share blood with the baby during pregnancy, just as any mother would. Oxygen, nutrients and blood are passed to the baby from the pregnant surrogate through the umbilical cord. Therefore, the surrogate mother does share blood with the baby.

As an aside, a surrogate mother’s blood type does not matter during the surrogacy process or pregnancy, either. The surrogate mother can be a different blood type than the baby or the intended parents. Before any surrogacy is initiated, thorough medical screenings will be performed on the surrogate mother to make sure that she has no communicable diseases that could potentially pass to the baby via the umbilical cord in the uterus.

Who Will the Baby Look Like?

All parents, at some time before or during a pregnancy, ponder who their baby will look like. Once again, under a traditional surrogacy arrangement, in which the surrogate mother’s eggs are used, the baby will share DNA and genetic material with the surrogate mother, and could, potentially, resemble her.

If, however, the surrogacy is gestational, as most surrogacies are today, there is no chance that the baby will look like the surrogate mother, as the baby will not share any genetics or DNA with her. Remember, the baby might not look like the intended parents, either, even if the sperm and/or egg cells came from them. Not all babies are born looking like one or both of their biological parents. Being housed in a gestational surrogate mother’s uterus for nine months does not “rub off” on the baby and make him or her look like the surrogate mother.

Some studies have shown that cells can cross the placental barrier and introduce the surrogate mother’s DNA to the baby, or introduce the baby’s DNA to the surrogate mother. What is known as “fetomaternal transfer” likely occurs during all pregnancies, researchers from the scholarly journal Cell Adhesion & Migration note. There is never enough DNA from the mother passing to the baby to be able to affect the baby’s looks or traits, however.

Who Will My Child’s Parents Be?

Finally, some intended parents are anxious about the concept of the baby’s parentage when starting the surrogacy process. Any child who is born via surrogacy is the child of the intended parents, no matter what type of surrogacy process is used – traditional or gestational. The people who will raise the baby are that baby’s parents, despite the baby’s “biological” parentage. Think about children who are adopted. Who are their “real” parents?

If you are looking at this idea from a medical standpoint or trying to find out what genetic or biological traits or conditions a parent might pass to the baby, then yes, finding out a biological parent’s genetics does matter. However, in everyday life and for all intents and purposes, the people who love and raise that child are its parents – not the people who provided the sperm and/or egg cells to create the child. Rest assured that, when you work with Simple Surrogacy, you, the intended parents, are the baby’s “real” parents, in the eyes of the law and everyone else.

Are you interested in exploring the idea of becoming an intended parent through surrogacy? Contact Simple Surrogacy today at 1-866-41-SURRO or online to find out more information. We will look forward to hearing from you soon!

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