Background: There has been little interest in the research literature on public opinions regarding assisted conception and surrogacy, particularly in European countries, despite the growing evidence showing that problems in adaptation and coping may be related to perceived normative values. This study investigated British women's attitudes to surrogacy using components of the theory of planned behaviour (TPB).
Methods: Questionnaires on attitudes to surrogacy and reasons for parenthood were completed by 187 women from the general public.
Results: Significant socio-demographic differences were found between women who were possibly willing (n = 76) and those who were unwilling (n = 111) to become surrogate mothers. General attitudes to surrogacy also differed between groups (P = 0.000). This study supported the predictive utility of components of the TPB, and differentiated adequately between groups on attitudes to recruitment for surrogacy (P = 0.000), the consequences of surrogacy (P = 0.000), factors that induce people to become surrogates (P = 0.000), social support (P = 0.000), having personal control (P = 0.002) and reasons for parenthood (P = 0.000). Age (P = 0.000), attitudes to advertising (P = 0.02) and the consequences of surrogacy (P = 0.05) predicted (un)willingness to become a potential surrogate mother.
Conclusions: Further research is needed with larger sample sizes of potential surrogates to determine whether the predictive attitudes reported here translate to actual behaviours. The larger group which was not interested in considering becoming a surrogate scored significantly more negatively on all attitudes towards surrogacy. The negative attitudes reported by the 'unwilling to consider being a surrogate' group may reflect attitudes held by the majority of the population and are likely to be influenced by reports of stigma associated with surrogacy.