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Actors Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick recently added twins to their family, thanks to a surrogate who delivered their babies.
By Colette Bouchez
Are you having problems getting pregnant? Have you been told that you cannot carry a baby to term? Have you thought about the possibility of another woman carrying your child.
If so, youíre among a growing number of women who may benefit from the power of surrogacy, the fertility treatment that allows one woman to carry the baby for another. And for many it can be a life-changing experience.
Indeed, for those women who, for any variety of medical reasons cannot carry a baby in their own womb, it offers the chance for genetic motherhood that otherwise would not be possible.
For the surrogate it can be an opportunity to give life - and more importantly give a child - to a woman or man who might otherwise never know the experience of genetic parenthood.
And now, a brand new book explores that very relationship with groundbreaking new research on the surrogacy experience. Titled Birthing a Mother: The Surrogate Body and The Pregnant Self the book is based on a study conducted by cultural anthropologist Elly Teman, a Research Fellow at the Penn Center for the Integration of Genetic Healthcare Technologies at the University of Pennsylvania. Offering up a unique perspective on the surrogacy experience, it is a book that I believe is likely to help every woman considering this option to know and understand the emotional and even the physical process, better.
What Does Surrogacy Involve? There are many different types of surrogate pregnancies - some which involve the use of the intended motherís eggs and some with donor eggs or the eggs of the surrogate. Sperm can come from the babyís intended father or from a donor. Surrogates can become pregnancy using traditional fertility treatments such as IVF, or via artificial insemination.
In terms of choosing a surrogate, it can be someone the couple knows - such as the intended motherís sister, cousin, or even her own mother. Other times itís may be a complete stranger - someone they meet through their doctor or through one of a growing number of surrogate agencies.
But irregardless of how the two women meet, the relationship between birth mother and intended mother is a complex one, filled with emotions on every level.
And in fact, the new book Birthing a Mother probes the intimate experience of being a surrogate while also exploring how surrogates - and their intended mothers - walk a fine line of emotional negotiation that can be difficult, and yet rewarding, for both.
The book also dispels many common myths about the surrogacy experience, including the one I have heard most often from my patients - the fear that the surrogate will not relinquish the baby when the time comes. While certainly this has been known to happen, by and large, surrogates are well adjusted women who enter into the experience with the mindset that they doing this for someone elseís benefit - and rarely is it a problem when birthing day arrives.
In fact, I have seen some of the most incredible, lasting bonds develop between birth mother and biological mother - which is something Temanís study also found.
Her research, which looked at Jewish Israeli women, traced the process by which surrogates psychologically and emotionally disengage from the fetus they carry. In that work she too found that most of these women develop a profound and often lasting emotional bond with each one - and one that in the end, I believe can be beneficial to both women as well as to the child.
Early reviews of Birthing a Mother touch on Dr. Temanís skill as a writer and on the groundbreaking nature of her work , while the book itself offers a glimpse of a world that most will never see or experience.
Copyright 2008-2009 -Colette Bouchez. Any and all use requires the author's explicit permission , which may be assigned or revoked at any time, for any reason. . Any unauthorized use of these articles shall be considered a breech of copyright law.