Answering the question, “What is the meaning of surrogacy?” is not as easy as you may think. When people look for an answer to this question, it’s often easy to start with the basic definition. For example, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, surrogacy is “the practice by which a woman (called a surrogate mother) becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby in order to give it to someone who cannot have children.” While this explanation is the academic definition of surrogacy, many other factors can affect what surrogacy means to specific individuals.
Because no two surrogacies are the same, the way that people define surrogacy and what it means to them will also be different. In the end, you are the only one who can define what your surrogacy means to you.

What Does Surrogacy Mean to Intended Parents?

Most intended parents consider surrogacy as an option to achieve their dream of being parents and have the baby they have wanted for so long. Surrogacy can be the ending to an exhausting process of infertility procedures and the beginning to a new life as parents.
For these prospective parents, surrogacy is sometimes their last and only option for having a baby who is biologically tied to them. As they go through this journey, they realize that it is full of different emotions and moments, from the matching with their surrogate to the positive pregnancy test to the first ultrasound to finally having their baby in their arms. All these emotions shape what surrogacy really means to the intended parents.
Every surrogacy is unique, but in the end, surrogacy for most intended parents means that they can finally achieve their dream of parenthood, a priceless gift given by a selfless and genuine woman.

What Does Surrogacy Mean to Surrogates?

Even though most surrogates are compensated for carrying a baby for some hopeful intended parents, surrogacy means much more to them than just money. They have a more meaningful, selfless reason for embarking in this journey.

Each surrogate’s motivations are unique. Some women love being pregnant and want to experience the joys of pregnancy again but without the commitment of another child. Most surrogates have a sense of pride and achievement for giving nine months of her time and energy to bringing a new life into the world.

Becoming a surrogate means the ability to truly make a difference in the world by giving the most precious gift anyone can give: the gift of life and helping some else to become a parent.
Each woman will live a different surrogacy—her journey—with its ups and downs, smiles and tears. At the end of the process, what surrogacy means for these women will differ depending on their personal experiences, but most surrogates will tell you that the feeling of giving that precious baby to its intended parents is worth the effort.

What Does Surrogacy Mean to Everyone Else?

Surrogacy was, is, and will continue to be a controversial topic in our society. However, our society is evolving, and surrogacy is becoming a more common and accepted way for people to become parents.
For the rest of the world, surrogacy is a way for those struggling with infertility to achieve their dream of being parents and a chance to learn more about the family-building options available to intended parents today.
Education is always positive, and understanding what surrogacy means to those whom it affects is the first step toward eventually normalizing surrogacy for everyone.

Final Thoughts

What surrogacy means to each person will vary based on how they are touched by the process. If you are interested in learning more about the meaning of surrogacy, a good start is to talk with current and former intended parents, surrogates, and surrogacy professionals. You can learn about their personal experiences with surrogacy and understand not only what surrogacy really means to those whom it affects but also what you can expect if you choose to take this journey.

Guest Contributor: David Bull from