Surrogate mothers 10 years on: A longitudinal study of psychological wellbeing and relationships with the parents and child
Golombok, Susan Esther
Oxford Journals on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
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Jadva, V. H., Imrie, S., & Golombok, S. E. (2014). Surrogate mothers 10 years on: A longitudinal study of psychological wellbeing and relationships with the parents and child. Human Reproduction, 30 373-379. https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/deu339
Study Question: How do surrogates psychological health and experiences of surrogacy change from one year to ten years following the birth of the surrogacy child? Summary answer: Surrogates’ psychological well-being did not change ten years following the birth, with the majority continuing to report good mental health andall surrogates remained positive about the surrogacy arrangement. What is known already: Studies have found that surrogates may find the weeks following the birth difficult, but do not experience psychological problems 6 months and 1 year later. Research has also shown that surrogates can form close relationships with the intended parents during the pregnancy which may continue after the birth. Study design, size, duration: This study used a prospective longitudinal design. 20 surrogates were seen at two time points, one year following the birth of the surrogacy child and ten years later. Participants/materials, setting, methods: Twenty surrogates (representing 59% of the original sample) were administered a semi-structured interview and completed self-report questionnaires. Eleven surrogates were gestational carriers and 9 surrogates had used their own egg (genetic surrogacy). Four were previously known to the intended parents and 16 were previously not known. Main results and the role of chance: Ten years following the birth of the surrogacy child, surrogate mothers scored within the normal range for self-esteem and did not show signs of depression as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory. Marital quality remained positive over time. All surrogates reported that their expectations of their relationship with the intended parents had been either met or exceeded and most reported positive feelings towards the child. In terms of expectations for the future, most surrogates reported that they would like to maintain contact or would be available to the child if the child wished to contact them. None expressed regrets about their involvement in surrogacy. Limitations, reasons for caution: The sample size of this study is small and may not be representative of all surrogates. Therefore the extent to which these findings can be generalised is not known Wider implications of the findings: Contrary to concerns about the potentially negative long-term effect of surrogacy, the findings suggest that surrogacy can be a positive experience for some women at least. These findings are important for policy and practice of surrogacy around the world. Study funding/competing interest(s): This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (grant number ES/I009221/1). None of the authors has any conflict of interest to declare.
Surrogacy, surrogate, psychological wellbeing
This work was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (grant number RES-061-25-0480).
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/deu339
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/246744