It may be surprising to hear that under some circumstances, intended parents may want a surrogate to terminate her pregnancy. Intended parents (IPs) put in effort, time, and money to fulfill their dreams of parenthood; their sacrifices may seem incompatible with the decision to terminate, but there are various situations that may cause them to go in this direction:

-Fetal abnormalities

Fetal abnormalities are fortunately becoming less common. Earlier screening in pregnancy can inform parents about the possibility of a fetal abnormality, while IVF can allow for embryo testing through PGS and/or PGD. Parents can then decide if they will use that material for the pregnancy. While choosing to not raise a child with special needs may seem unkind to some, it can be a selfless acknowledgement of the family’s inability to care for them.

-Divorce/Breakup

Infertility and the process of assisted reproduction can be difficult emotionally and financially, and the stress can take a toll on a relationship. An arduous path to parenthood can strengthen some relationships, but unfortunately, it can destroy others. In these cases, IPs will no longer have the happy and complete family they dreamed of, and they may not want to bring a child into an unstable situation and/or become a single parent.

-Terminal Diagnosis/Death

Sadly, some IPs may be given a terminal diagnosis, or even die, during their surrogacy process. The grief of losing a partner, combined with the stress of becoming a single parent, can lead to the decision to terminate. As with divorce, the longed-for family is no longer possible, and a parent may not feel capable of continuing the journey.

Along similar lines with termination, many parents wish for the option to reduce a pregnancy in the incidence of twins or triplets. Many parents will happily parent multiples, but some may be unable to take on the more complex, expensive, and often stressful family life. Because providers rarely need to transfer more than two embryos to achieve a pregnancy, the prospect of pregnancy reduction has lessened. However, spontaneous embryo splitting also results in multiples. Pregnancy reduction and termination are detailed in the surrogacy contract. The IPs and the surrogate must come to an agreement about when, if at all, termination/reduction will be performed, and the terms must be on record. A surrogate who morally objects to one or both procedures must not be coerced into signing a contract that goes against her beliefs. However, she should be informed that this stance might delay her match with IPs or even make it impossible to match her.