In fact, the mothers of children born via a surrogacy arrangement show more warmth towards their babies and are more emotionally involved than is the case in families where the child is conceived naturally. Both the mother and father have better parenting skills than do the parents in non-surrogate families, and the babies themselves show no differences in their temperament and behaviour when compared with non-surrogate babies. Nor do there seem to be problems when the surrogate mothers hand over the babies to the mothers who have commissioned the surrogacy.
These are the main findings from a study conducted by researchers at the Family and Child Psychology Research Centre at City University, London, UK, under the supervision of Professor Susan Golombok, director of the Centre. Fiona MacCallum, a research psychologist at the Centre, told the conference: "Of all the treatments for infertility that have been developed over recent years, the practice of surrogacy, where one woman bears a child for another woman, remains the most contentious."*
She said there were a number of concerns about families created through surrogacy arrangements. "It is not known, for example, how a child will feel about having been created for the purpose of being given away to other parents. Or, if the surrogate mother remains in contact with the family, what the impact of two mothers will be on the child's emotional, social or identity development as he or she grows up. Neither is it known how the ongoing involvement of the surrogate mother with the family will affect the commissioning mother's security in her mothering role, particular
Contact: Emma Mason
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology