I’ve often wondered why it’s been so hard to find surrogate kids like me. There are communities built around those who were adopted and those who were born through donor sperm or eggs. I’ve read many of those stories seeking them out even for a glimpse of my own feelings in them. I consider them “cousin” stories to surrogacy.
There’s a level of “coming out” that happens to happen in each of these stories (adoption, donor, surrogacy) even if one looks enough like the family one is raised in. At some point, the truth will out. Similar to the stories I’ve read of massive donor communities of countless half siblings (recent horrifying NYT piece on a sperm donor from the Netherlands), there’s this pervasive sense of “we were all doing our best” that inevitably shines through and baffles me. The sperm donor just wanted to help other people have children and the parent just wanted to have a child of their own. What’s the harm? I’m desperate for a more critical discussion and one that includes the voices of the kids in these situations rather than the self appointed voices on either side.
In my short lifetime that I’ve been pondering how I was brought into this world, I’ve experienced other “coming outs” that have helped me understand what forces make it easier to be silent about being a surrogate kid. While this isn’t comprehensive, this is a start of the forces I can name. Some sadly feel impossible to speak to:
- “You were so wanted and loved”. The idea that you were so planned for by the parents who raised you makes it hard to speak out against what they did to bring you into this world. This entire dynamic feels so fragile even for someone like me who grew up with a mom who never showed an ounce of insecurity or jealousy around my birthmom.
- You’re examining your own existence which is absolutely exhausting and you have to do so in a way most never have to. It’s isolating and sometimes easier to just keep it to yourself.
- Unlike the common storylines with adoption, surrogacy agencies purposefully pick surrogates who have “complete families” aka who don’t want more kids. This results in people happy to help another family but who don’t want another kid. How do you reach out or examine something that feels like a dead end? They also took on such a selfless/monumental act that it feels borderline sacrilegious to criticize anything about how you were brought into the world.
- Some parents don’t tell their kids and they don’t know. I’ve only heard stories of this through friends who, upon seeing how outspoken I am about surrogacy, whisper family secrets. This disturbs me deeply! I have a theory that with the rise of gestational surrogacy (intended mother’s egg, surrogates womb) that this happen more than most might realize.
- There aren’t many stories or references to turn to. There aren’t many of us to begin with! This is why I started this site. I want to gather the stories and help pave the path that I’ve walked so those behind me can have an easier time. I’m convinced this is due to the technology behind surrogacy being “so new” still and acceptable. I have a feeling in the next decade as more surrogate kids come of age I’ll begin hearing from and finding more. While I haven’t heard from any fellow surrogate kids yet, I still write as I can in hopes I one day do.
- There aren’t words to describe many of the experiences one has as a surrogate kids. The limits of language makes talking about this existence difficult for the speaker and confusing for the listener.
What forces do you see acting to keep people from sharing their surrogacy story? I’d love to hear both from parents who used surrogacy and, in case you’re out there, any kids of surrogacy.