Positive Outcomes for Surrogacy!

26 July, 2013 11:40AM ACST

Story of a Surrogate: future outcomes

By Kate Hill and Georgia Wilson

The definition of surrogacy is one that takes the place of another, a substitute.

Senior Researcher with Cambridge University, Dr Vasanti Jadva, has conducted a number of studies on the effects of the process on the surrogate mother and children born to surrogate mothers.

In the final part of the surrogacy series, Dr Jadva recently discussed the findings and share the experiences of research participants.

“The first study we did was back in 2003 and at that time were interested in the experiences of surrogates immediately after, a year after, they’d helped an intended parent have a child through surrogacy.

“That was looking at their experiences during the pregnancy and a year following.

Upon the surrogate child’s first birthday, ¬†participants recalled their feelings to the researchers about how they felt at the time of being pregnant, halfway into the process and when they relinquished the baby.

“It was about how they felt about it, their relationship with the intended parent, their own family relationships, so it was quite a detailed, in depth study.”

As Dr Jadva ¬†emphasized, commercial surrogacy is not legal in the UK (is also illegal in Australia) and can only be carried out ‘altruistically’. Dr Jadva also said there were no accurate figures on the prevalence of surrogacy in the UK.

Though, a recent study into parental order applications that were granted estimated around one hundred and fifty surrogacy’s per year. However, as Dr Jadva said, ¬†not everyone applies for the parental order.

“It’s likely that that’s an underestimate of what’s actually happening.”

In the first study in 2003, thirty-four surrogate mothers were interviewed for the research.

Researchers questions extended to their motivations for being surrogates, how they heard about it, how they met intended parents, their experiences of pregnancy, psychological health, feelings towards the handover, what the child should be told and ongoing communication with intended parents.

Recently, researchers went back to revisit the same group of women from the original study.

“Twenty of those original women took part and we also included additional women who had had a child around about the same time.

“The average age of the child was about nine to ten years. What we found was that some surrogates were actually doing subsequent surrogacies too. Some of them would have done them more recently and for others, that original surrogacy was the only surrogacy that they had done.”

The results found that in no instance did the group of surrogate mothers have any doubt about handing over the child to the intended parents.

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