Surrogate Families Show Healthy Functioning In Latest Phase of Study

The number of children born through surrogacy has increased dramatically in the past several decades, up from 2,000 just fifteen years ago to over 17,000 in 2007. Susan Golombok of the Centre for Family Research, Faculty of Politics, Psychology, Sociology and International Studies at the University of Cambridge, has conducted prior research on surrogacy and preschool-aged children, but recently led a new phase of the study examining the effects of surrogacy on older children. “There are two types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy, in which the surrogate mother and the commissioning father are the genetic parents of the child, and gestational surrogacy, in which the commissioning mother and father are the genetic parents,” said Golombok. “Thus, children born through gestational surrogacy lack a gestational link with their mother, and children born through traditional surrogacy lack both a gestational and a genetic link.”

In her previous research, Golombok found little differences between biological families and surrogate families of preschoolers. However, when she examined factors of maternal mutuality, positivity and warmth in the families of seven-year-old surrogate children, the results varied. “There was a difference, however, between the surrogacy families and the natural conception families for the observational measure of mutuality, reflecting less positive mother–child interaction among the surrogacy than the natural conception mother–child dyads,” said Golombok. “The unexpected finding of significantly lower levels of mutuality in both the surrogacy and the egg donation families than in the natural conception families suggests that the absence of a biological link between the mother and her child may be associated with less positive mother–child interaction at age 7.” But, even in light of these differences, Golombok noted that surrogate families still functioned very well overall. She added, “Thus, the findings of the present phase of the study add to the growing body of literature indicating that the quality of family relationships has a greater influence on children’s psychological well-being than the presence or absence of a biological connection between the mother and the child.”

Golombok, Susan, Jennifer Readings, Lucy Blake, Polly Casey, Alex Marks, and Vasanti Jadva. “Families Created through Surrogacy: Mother–child Relationships and Children’s Psychological Adjustment at Age 7.” Developmental Psychology 47.6 (2011): 1579-588. Print.

© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Maggie W

    Maggie W

    December 8th, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    I see nothing wrong with surrogacy. As a matter of fact I would do it for any friend of mine who would be having trouble conceiving, as I am sure that there are many other women around who feel the same way that I do. And as far as normalcy goes, why should these families be viewed as any different from any other family other than the baby had to cook in a diffferent sort of oven? I’m cool with that.

  • Harrison


    December 9th, 2011 at 4:41 AM

    Haven’t we all learned by now that there are so many definitions for what a family is that we should really stop trying to put boundaries around that.

    The definition for me as a parent is that this is someone you can love and depend on, and who will be there to support you through thick and thin.

    You don’t have to have a biological connection to develop a relationship like that.

  • bella


    December 9th, 2011 at 11:51 PM

    there r some things that r beyond our control-like biology.other than that it all comes down 2 the person 2 treat the child well n with warmth.there is no substitute 4 a kind n loving heart..

  • tobias


    December 11th, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    That surrogacy stuff? Not for me. Like I think it would be weird and all for another woman to be carrying my kid. Don’t think that the wife would be too keen on that either.

  • Lax


    August 29th, 2012 at 7:54 AM

    Hi, I need info,
    Do surrogate babies are healthier like , regular kids. I need to know this pls any one has seen surrogate kids or have surrogate kids tell me how healthier they are.

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