This is such a tough concept to wrestle with as a surrogate because your values and beliefs are suddenly becoming entangled with the values and beliefs of someone else for their family and their children.
Personally, I can’t imagine having to make the decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy of a child I fought so hard for and loved and dreamed into reality with blood, sweat, tears, and my life savings when the doctor confronted my partner and I with a diagnosis that would make survival impossible or unlikely for my child, or would mean that they would suffer and have a lower quality of life than I wished for that child.
I would talk over this decision in depth with my partner, with my doctor, maybe with my sister, or a spiritual advisor to carefully make this decision and I honestly don’t know and can’t say ultimately what I would do without being in that position.
I can’t imagine anything more devastating, but what would make it even more complicated is if someone I entrusted to carry the child I love and adore and may have to grieve the loss of was suddenly factored into making that decision for me, and if that person didn’t trust my decision and leave it up to me to do the right thing for my child and my family.
Although it would be devastating and difficult for me as a surrogate to face a termination of the child I was carrying, I understand that it would not be me who was raising a child with a terminal illness and ultimately saying goodbye to them early, or caring for them for the rest of my life and having to plan for their care after my death if they were unable to care for themselves.
I would not feel comfortable imposing my values and beliefs on someone else who had to make that decision with those real life consequences.
The decision to terminate a pregnancy for medical reasons is never going to be made lightly, and trusting that the couple you have matched with has wisdom, values and humanity as you do, will make it easier to leave that decision one hundred percent up to the intended parents.
The attorney drafting contracts on behalf of the intended parents will most likely insist that the right to make those decisions be left up to them and that their surrogate agree to that, whether or not the parents have any idea what they would want without being faced with that decision.
The point is, in surrogacy, it’s best to have a solid understanding and agreement that regardless of what you would feel personally for your own pregnancy, the parents need to be in charge of making decisions for their family and you need to trust them to make that decision carefully and without your input.
Does that mean if you are pro-life and would never be able to terminate no matter the circumstances that you could not be a surrogate? No, it doesn’t, but it will make it much more difficult for you to find parents to carry for who are willing to leave that decision up to someone else, and give up their right to make that decision for themselves.
Matching may take longer, and in many cases, may never happen at all. Should you break your values just because you want to find a match and agree to something you couldn’t stick to or would be morally devastated by? Absolutely not. No one can make that decision for you and you should not allow yourself to be pressured into agreeing to anything you’re not going to be able to live with if push comes to shove.