Religion and surrogacy often intersect, as they are both part of the intimate fibers that make up our lives. Sometimes the surrogate is the one who has strong religious beliefs, sometimes it’s the parents, and other times it’s both. And of course there are secular surrogate journeys as well where religion plays no role in the matching and continued relationship between the surrogate and parents. In this guide I will outline common scenarios I’ve seen unfold in surrogacy journeys where religious beliefs came into play.
Showing Respect for Each Other’s Religious Beliefs
During the initial screening process for both the surrogates and intended parents, the agency should ask the general question of their religious beliefs. This will give them a sense of who is best for matching, and they can also give all parties a heads up on any guidelines to follow. If the two parties share opposing views on religion, they should both make efforts to be sensitive and respectful of each others’ beliefs. One side should never be pushing their own beliefs on the other party. Should this happen, the agency should be stepping in at this point to set everyone straight on what constitutes respectful behavior.
No Termination Surrogacy Pregnancies Based on Religious Beliefs
During the matching process, it could be that a surrogate is matched with her intended parents based on their shared religious beliefs. This is often the case with “no termination” surrogacy pregnancies. Both parties agree to a no termination pregnancy during the match process, and this is corroborated in legal contracts. There are usually nuances to this agreement, such as terminating the pregnancy if the surrogate’s life is at risk.
Jewish and Muslim Surrogacy Journeys
Another common scenario is when the intended parents ask a surrogate to follow their own religious lifestyle choices while pregnant with their surrogacy baby. An example would be Jewish parents asking their surrogate to eat kosher foods, or Muslim parents asking their surrogate not to eat pork.
In some cases Jewish intended parents prefer their surrogate to also be Jewish. This can also be the case for any other religion. The key to finding a surrogate who shares the same religious beliefs as the intended parents is connecting with an agency who specializes in certain demographics.
Religious Ceremonies and Surrogacy
In many cultures and religions it is common for ceremonies to take place shortly after a baby is born. For example in the Jewish faith, a Bris ceremony happens when the baby is eight days old. If the intended parents have expectations that their surrogate attend this ceremony, this should all be outlined in detail before the journey begins. If the surrogate is not of the same faith is the intended parents and wishes not to participate in these types of religious ceremonies, then both parties should be aware from the beginning.
Religion and Legal Contacts for Surrogacy
All of the details of religious involvement in a surrogacy journey should be discussed at length before the surrogate and intended parents are matched. There should be no surprises sprung on either the surrogate or the intended parents during the course of the journey.
Once all parties agree, the exact requirements and expectations of both the surrogate and the intended parents should be included in legal contracts. Going forward, the surrogate or intended parents will not be obligated to follow any religious based requests if they are not specifically outlined in the legal contracts.
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