Psychosocial aspects of surrogate motherhood

Hum Reprod Update. 2007 Jan-Feb;13(1):53-62. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dml039. Epub 2006 Aug 26.


This review addresses the psychosocial research carried out on surrogacy triads (surrogate mothers, commissioning mothers and offspring) and shows that research has focused on a number of specific issues: attachment and disclosure to surrogate offspring; experiences, characteristics and motivations of surrogate mothers; and changes in profiles of the commissioning/intended mothers. Virtually all studies have used highly selected samples making generalizations difficult. There have been a notable lack of theory, no interventions and only a handful of longitudinal studies or studies comparing different populations. Few studies have specifically questioned the meaning of and need for a family or the influence and impact that professionals, treatment availability and financial factors have on the choices made for surrogate and intended mothers. Societal attitudes have changed somewhat; however, according to public opinion, women giving up babies still fall outside the acceptable remit. Surrogate and intended mothers appear to reconcile their unusual choice through a process of cognitive restructuring, and the success or failure of this cognitive appraisal affects people's willingness to be open and honest about their choices. Normal population surveys, on the contrary, are less accepting of third party reproduction; they have no personal need to reconsider and hence maintain their original normative cognitively consonant state.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Family Relations*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Surrogate Mothers / psychology*