THE BLOG

The One Thing You Should Never, Ever Say to a Gestational Surrogate

10/21/2013 09:58 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

I came across an announcement of sorts on Facebook the other day. You know, one of those random posts that Facebook's algorithms magically identify as somehow more important than all the others. It came from a friend in another state whom I don't stay in touch with very well, announcing she was excited to be a gestational surrogate and that the embryo transfer was scheduled to take place in two weeks. I'm sure she felt a whirlwind of emotions because she specifically requested "...prayers, love, positive thoughts, good vibes" and support from her family and friends.

I don't often take the time to read comments on friend's posts but decided to make my way through them since this was unfamiliar territory for me that tickled my curiosity. I'm also generally on the lookout for nuggets of wisdom and words of support that I can use and share with others, and I thought there might be some buried treasure in there. As I sifted through the comments, one in particular stood out; unfortunately, not for its pearly wisdom. Far from it. I thought I must have read the comment incorrectly until I saw the responses. It was probably the most offensive thing I could imagine saying to someone who is trying to give someone the priceless gift of a child: "And just think of all the money you'll get."

You can imagine the comments that came afterward. Or maybe you can't. It wasn't pretty.

The truth is she probably will be well compensated for being a surrogate. But I don't think that should be held against her or devalue all the other reasons that someone might choose to be a surrogate. To wax philosophical for a second, it's pretty hard to do anything for 100 percent altruistic reasons: would you be charitable if it didn't make you feel good? In my mind, being a surrogate is a chapter in a story. And the real story here is that of a new life entering this world to parents who have exhausted other alternatives, passionately want a child, and from all appearances will create a loving family. I can think of so many selfless reasons to be a surrogate and only one selfish one. Even if -- IF -- the sole reason is the monetary reward, surrogacy is still an invaluable sacrifice and gift. Carrying a child for someone who can't is an absolutely beautiful act, a miracle of science and the indomitable human spirit. I certainly don't qualify now, but I doubt I myself could ever have been a surrogate, even when I was penniless and desperate. The responsibility and sacrifice would have been too much to bear.

A surrogate should be supported, loved, and acknowledged for the job they are doing, the gift they are giving, the sacrifice they are making, and the risk they are taking. I can hardly think of a more innapropriate and unsupportive comment than what my friend received, and my heart goes out to her.

So, my friend, and all the other surrogates out there, I support you. I think what you are doing is great. I wish you an easy pregnancy and a quick and safe delivery. May you be surrounded by love and prayers throughout this journey, and may you enjoy the fruits of your labor in health and happiness.