Emotional and Medical Risks of Surrogacy

Emotional & Medical Risk of Surrogacy Physician's Surrogacy - Risks of Surrogacy - Become a Surrogate - Emotional Risks - Medical Risks



One of the most life-changing decisions a woman can ever make is choosing to become a Surrogate. Aside from being emotionally & medically demanding, carrying another person’s baby comes with all the common risks of a natural pregnancy. It adds additional risks and complications which can arise from IVF and legal contracts involved in surrogacy.

With that in mind, it is important to consider all the risks that come with being a Surrogate before committing to it. Being a Surrogate does entail committing yourself to taking fertility medications and carrying a baby that does not belong to you.

There are some risks of surrogacy that are more common than others. It is recommended that you talk to your physician, your fertility center, and your surrogacy agency. This way you can know what your specific journey entails. Your agency should be able to discuss your particular health, emotional, and financial concerns. These could be involved based on your circumstances.

Another option for discussing your surrogacy journey include online support groups and blogs.  Here you are able to connect with other Surrogates who have gone through the process themselves. Some of these blogs are:

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Medical Issues & Risks with Surrogacy

1. Weight Gain:

Weight gain is a common medical risk in pregnancies for both natural and surrogate mothers. This can cause back pain and fatigue, as well as conditions known as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.

2. Heartburn:

Inflammation of the stomach lining can cause symptoms of heartburn in both natural pregnancies and in surrogacy. To prevent further complications, it is recommended to avoid acidic food and drinks and sleep on your left side.

3. Swelling:

Swelling is definitely one of the most common complaints from pregnant women. Causes of pregnancy related swelling can range from a hormonal shift to overhydration. It is important to monitor and report any unusual swelling, as it could be a sign of preeclampsia.

4. Nausea:

Though some women experience morning sickness during the three trimesters, many pregnant women in general feel nauseous all the time. It is best to avoid foods that are too oily or pungent in order to reduce the likelihood of this condition.

5. Fertility Medications:

Surrogates are often prescribed fertility medications to increase the likelihood of successful implantation. This can cause minor issues like needle bruising at the injection site and temporary allergic reactions. Due to these medications, surrogates may also experience increased pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, such as headaches or mood swings.

6. Miscarriages and Premature Births:

Miscarriage or premature births are also a risk with surrogacy just like in natural pregnancies. To decrease the risk of such circumstances, it is important to keep an open dialogue with the doctor and follow all the instructions precisely.

Issues with Embryo Transfer

The transfer of embryos to the Surrogate mother’s womb also comes with some risks. You may experience slight cramping or bleeding due to the procedure. Keep in mind that the probability of carrying two or more babies is higher in surrogacy. So, it is important to be aware of the risks associated with multiple pregnancy. These include premature labor, placenta abruption, low birth weight for the babies, and the potential for a C-section delivery. If you are carrying more than one child in your womb, your doctor will provide you with strict, must-follow instructions to ensure your safety and that of the baby.

In order to mitigate these surrogacy related risks, you need to follow your doctor’s recommendations precisely. Also, schedule an appointment immediately if you notice that something may be wrong. Although your side effects may be normal, letting your doctor know about your health condition can help lower the risks that come with being a Surrogate mother. Your surrogacy agency will ask you to undergo medical screenings before you are allowed to become a Surrogate. These surrogacy screenings let the doctors know if you have any medical condition that can affect or risk your pregnancy. It is imperative that you are completely honest about your medical history when going through your screenings for a surrogacy program.

Emotional Risks of Surrogacy

Apart from the medical risks of surrogacy, there are some emotional challenges potential Surrogates need to consider. Pregnancy is naturally a difficult process, but a lot of women consider surrogacy to be more emotionally taxing.  The concept behind this idea is that the Surrogate mothers will not have a baby to take home. Although they had carried the baby in their womb for the past 9 months. It is important that as a Surrogate, you are preparing yourself mentally every day for the birth of the child. 

Just as with any other pregnancy, you may also suffer depression during or even after the surrogacy journey. Of course, you are going to be extremely happy for the Intended Parents who are in need of the baby. But, you may also have some feelings of loss and grief after the baby is born. It is easy to feel some type of connection to a child that has been in your womb for the past nine months. It is very important to consult with a mental health professional, seek counseling about surrogacy. These can be helpful to set limits and expectations for post-birth contact before becoming pregnant.

Emotional Support System

An important part of coping with any difficult emotions you may have is creating a good support system. make sure that you can rely on it throughout your Surrogate journey. This could be your family members and/or a group of friends you can share your feelings with. Remember, it is good to be open and completely honest with them during the entire process. Otherwise, your unharbored feelings can continue to pile onto one another.

Aside from the emotional effects of surrogacy on you, it is important that you know how your surrogacy will affect people around you. If you have a partner, you may have to avoid sex when trying to conceive. They may also have to shoulder more responsibilities in the house as the expected delivery date draws near. With that being said, your partner must be in full support of your decision to be a Surrogate. They will be a key member of your support team while facing the surrogacy risks.

It is important to be very honest about your feelings and concerns. Share your thoughts with your surrogacy caseworker and the Intended Parents during the surrogacy process. Keep in mind that, it is normal to have these emotional challenges & risks that come with surrogacy. Many other Surrogates have them too. So, you don’t need to be ashamed of anything, you just need to be open.


Being a Surrogate is a rewarding experience and a good way of helping another couple actualize their dream of having a family. Although, surrogacy also comes with some risks and side effects. It is important that you do your research about surrogacy before embarking on such a life-changing journey. make sure that you are committing yourself when you know that you are actually ready.

All in all, the Surrogacy in general can be a very emotional topic.  These are only a few things to consider when thinking about surrogacy.  We would love to answer any questions you may have in order to provide a better understanding of the beautiful process of surrogacy! Feel free to explore our website for more details or click below to see if you qualify as a Gestational Surrogate. 

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Looking for Reliable Surrogacy Info?

Physician’s Surrogacy is the nation’s only physician-managed surrogacy agency. Join our community to get updates on surrogacy, expert insights, free resources and more.