As we progress as a society, we get to see the viewpoints and experiences of different types of people and families. One of the benefits of social media is that it gives us the ability to share those experiences (joys, struggles, and everything in between) to millions of strangers in the hopes that the choice to live a life that is more authentic is not a bad thing, and in fact, many other people also share in that authenticity and it can look very similar to yours.
A part of your authenticity could be that you want to do meaningful work by helping others, and that can look like being a gestational surrogate. You will find a very expansive and supportive community out there. That authenticity can also look like being polyamorous, choosing to have multiple relationships with other people.
And, yes these two can be true for a person at the same time.
To go beyond the surface definition, polyamory is not just about having multiple “sexual” relationships. It centers on having different types of healthy relationships that can range from platonic to sexual. When you add being a gestational surrogate, of course there are many nuances to consider, so let’s touch on some.
Having a stable home life that affords you both emotional support and support during a pregnancy are important foundational pieces to being a surrogate and a possible match for intended parents. For polyamorous relationships to work and be successful, partners must be able to communicate their needs when it comes to all levels of support and how that looks within their individual relationships (each one works differently btw). These levels of deep communication are centerpieces to the longevity of a partnership and in turn gives an extra layer of support throughout the process of being a surrogate.
Just like having an expansive support system that could be built from friends, family, or chosen family can have bonuses when it comes to mental health, you potentially get the same outcome from polyamorous relationships as they are not always made up of sexual partners.
Let’s go back two paragraphs and talk about how a relationship can look: platonic, romantic, romantic-platonic, triads, or quads are just a few examples. However, in each of these examples it all remains true that these are people who intentionally show up for each person with compassion, patience, and respect. They will be able to provide support on days during the pregnancy where you are physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted, or even when you are prepared for all of it and just want the extra support as you navigate life as a gestational surrogate.
The more support you have, the better the experience.
Since we are on the topic of how these multiple relationships can look like, let’s go into a topic that comes up a lot when discussing polyamory — sexual health. Even with having multiple relationships that have different dynamics there is the reality that more than one will possibly include some sort of physical intimacy. With that being said, there is always the risk of contracting a STI, but that doesn’t mean you are fated to get one, or that you are less safe than folks that are monogamous. The idea that polyamorous people don’t care about their sexual health is unrealistic, especially when having multiple people in a polycule (a connected network of people in a non-monogamous relationship) as that would affect the lives of so many.
In any relationship there is the basis of honesty and consent, and being upfront about your status, how often you and your partner get tested, and boundaries around physical intimacy is no different for people in polyamorous relationships as they not only care about themselves but also the people in their polycule. As STI testing is an important part of the screening process of becoming a surrogate it begs to reason that it is already an important part of a polyamorous person’s everyday life and is taken seriously.
“True to polyamorous form that emphasizes communication as a key relationship tool, poly folks talk with each other and partners’ partners about sexually transmitted infections. Most frequently, people get tested (with six month follow-ups) and come together for a conversation with results to show and tell — sitting a circle in someone’s living room or basement, handing the results papers around so everyone can see what everyone else has.” (Sheff)
As we progress as a society and both recognize and accept that many different types of people and relationship styles have existed across numerous cultures for centuries, we can see that there isn’t one pathway to anything in life. People can help and contribute to their community (including people they have never met) in any way, including being a gestational surrogate, no matter how they identify or choose to love a person or persons.
Sheff, Elisabeth A. “Sexually Transmitted Infections in Polyamorous Relationships.” Psychology Today, 9 January 2014, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-polyamorists-next-door/201401/sexually-transmitted-infections-in-polyamorous-relationships. Accessed 25 April 2023.