Fact sheet: surrogacy and children

Very little research has been done on the effects of surrogacy on the children born from it. That’s why we explored the websites and blogs that tell the stories of children born through surrogacy. An analysis of these testimonies led us to identify several common themes.

A sense of rejection

To begin with, a prevalent theme that emerges from the testimonies of children born through sperm donation, oocyte, or surrogacy is a deep sense of rejection. This is particularly evident in cases where the donors unequivocally express their desire to maintain no connection with the children. Consequently, these children grapple with profound feelings of abandonment and rejection, primarily directed toward their biological father or mother, who is distinct from their current familial environment. This sense of rejection is further compounded when the available records fail to provide avenues for identifying or contacting the donors.

When children embark on the journey to explore their origins, their primary motivation is a desire to comprehend their genealogy, often with the hope of encountering individuals who share a resemblance with them. The unavailability of such connections can result in a profound loss of hope, potentially leading to the onset of depressive tendencies.

Throughout their quest to discover their genetic heritage, these children often articulate a pervasive sense of incompleteness.

Moreover, there are documented cases in which children undertake genealogical inquiries as a precautionary step to confirm the absence of any genetic connections with their potential future partners.

Complex Social Situations

Many individuals fear that by seeking information about their origins from donors, they may inadvertently hurt the feelings of their adoptive parents, often expressing this concern with the phrase, “I don’t want my parents to think they’re not enough”[1]. Consequently, the search for this information is typically carried out with the utmost secrecy. In cases where biological parents are located, there is a hesitancy to express the desire to not be part of their lives, for fear of causing alarm and potentially losing contact once again.

Hidden commercial practices

When surrogacy is kept secret from adoptive parents, it can lead to uncomfortable situations, sometimes even causing family conflicts. Children, as revealed in their testimonies, are aware of the circumstances surrounding their conception and frequently express feelings of anger and sadness. They also understand the commercial aspect of this practice, where a child is essentially treated as a product in the market. Interestingly, they often express a preference for adopting a child who already exists, questioning, “How would you feel if you were intentionally brought into existence just to be given away?”[2].

Sicker children [3]

In the medical context, there appears to be a connection between surrogacy and childhood disorders[4]. Surrogate infants are reported to experience more health problems compared to their peers, primarily due to the emotional separation from their birth mothers. Because infants cannot express this absence verbally, they often cry and may receive diagnoses of conditions like colic. It’s important to note that the immune system’s functioning is directly influenced by stress, making stressed infants more susceptible to illnesses. A similar emotional impact is observed in adopted children [5](please refer to Catherine Lynch). Additionally, emotional difficulties often persist into adolescence among older children.”


Common emotions experienced in the context of surrogacy range from happiness when meeting the surrogate mother to, conversely, feelings of anger in cases where surrogacy is concealed. There is also a sense of resentment towards surrogates who are perceived as “accepting money to leave them” [6]. Emotions further include uncertainty and inquiry about not having information concerning the biological mother or father. This inquiry encompasses aspects such as their physical appearance, social and professional status, preferences, genealogy, and potential hereditary conditions.

When children embark on the journey to uncover information about their donors, their primary concerns typically revolve around physical attributes, family ties (including siblings), ancestral lineage, shared behaviors, professions, and the potential for a genetic connection with another individual.

In many instances, those most profoundly impacted are individuals whose conception through assisted reproductive techniques (ART) or surrogacy has been hidden from them to an extent that it cannot be undone. This secrecy often results in significant disturbances within the family dynamics.


In contrast, Susan Golombok conducted a study on “Families Created by Surrogate Motherhood: Mother-Child Relationships and Children’s Psychological Adjustment at 7 Years of Age”[7]. She examined the effects of surrogacy by assessing maternal positivity, maternal negativity, mother-child interaction, and child adjustment. The author concludes that there is no difference in maternal negativity, maternal positivity, or child adjustment, but notes that families who have used surrogacy have less positive mother-child interaction than in the case of natural conception.

What criticisms can be made of this study? First, the study focuses exclusively on the figure of the “adoptive” intended mother and not on the surrogate mother or the intended father, who are an integral part of the child’s parental context. Therefore, we omit relationships between fathers and children, as well as relationships between extended relatives and children. Furthermore, the author selected only cases of families that remained stable after resorting to surrogacy and did not include cases of children abandoned at birth or given up for adoption after being taken in by commissioning parents, which would have a direct impact on the result.

There has been no analysis of the long-term effects and repercussions of this practice on the surrogate mother’s own children. One of the selection criteria for surrogate mothers is that they have already had one or more children. However, these children may also experience traumas, such as believing that they can be sold or growing up with the belief that they can purchase the baby born through surrogacy from their mothers.


[1] https://anonymousus.org/i-found-my-bio-mom-and-couldnt-be-happier/

[2]  Sons of surrogate

[3] “Aussi avec les enfants que j’ai interviewés, j’ai constaté qu’ils étaient soit malades – plus malades que leurs pairs – en tant que bébés ou souffrant de coliques. Le système immunitaire a beaucoup à voir avec le stress et les bébés stressés tombent malades. Seulement 2 sur 10 semblaient n’avoir eu aucun problème lorsqu’ils étaient bébés mais avaient beaucoup de problèmes une fois qu’ils avaient atteint 12 ou 13 ans. Des problèmes émotionnels.

[4] Sons of surrogate”, URL : https://sonofasurrogate.tripod.com/, consulté le 10 juillet 2023

[5]Ce que l’adoption peut nous apprendre” Par Catherine Lynch (Australie) in “Ventres à louer, une critique féministe de la GPA; Paris L’Echapée 2022

Réflexion éthique sur la GPA du point de vue de l’enfant, ignoré parce qu’il n’a pas de « voix », créé pour être retiré à sa mère et donné aux parents commanditaires. Les études montrent que cette séparation à la naissance est néfaste pour la santé de l’enfant. Outre son impact neurologique, elle influe sur le comportement et la santé des individus à long terme.


[6] http://theothersideofsurrogacy.blogspot.com/

[7] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21895360/



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