The long-term experiences of surrogates: relationships and contact with surrogacy families in genetic and gestational surrogacy arrangements

Reprod Biomed Online. 2014 Oct;29(4):424-35. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2014.06.004. Epub 2014 Jul 5.


This study examined the contact arrangements and relationships between surrogates and surrogacy families and whether these outcomes differed according to the type of surrogacy undertaken. Surrogates' motivations for carrying out multiple surrogacy arrangements were also examined, and surrogates' psychological health was assessed. Semi-structured interviews were administered to 34 women who had given birth to a child conceived through surrogacy approximately 7 years prior to interview. Some surrogates had carried out multiple surrogacy arrangements, and data were collected on the frequency, type of contact, and surrogate's feelings about the level of contact in each surrogacy arrangement, the surrogate's relationship with each child and parent, and her experience of, and motivation for, each surrogacy. Questionnaire measures of psychological health were administered. Surrogates had completed a total of 102 surrogacy arrangements and remained in contact with the majority of families, and reported positive relationships in most cases. Surrogates were happy with their level of contact in the majority of arrangements and most were viewed as positive experiences. Few differences were found according to surrogacy type. The primary motivation given for multiple surrogacy arrangements was to help couples have a sibling for an existing child. Most surrogates showed no psychological health problems at the time of data collection.

Keywords: contact; psychological health; relationship; surrogacy; surrogacy family; surrogate mother.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Family
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / psychology*
  • Health Status
  • Helping Behavior
  • Humans
  • Insemination, Artificial, Heterologous / psychology*
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Lost to Follow-Up
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Surrogate Mothers / psychology*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology