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Surrogacy still stigmatized, though attitudes changing among younger women
Date:7/6/2008

Barcelona, Spain: Although younger people are becoming more positive towards surrogate mothers, current day attitudes to surrogacy are still broadly negative, a scientist will tell the 24th annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology tomorrow (Monday 7 July). Professor Olga van den Akker, from the Department of Psychology, Middlesex University, Hendon, London, UK, will say that previous stigmatisation of surrogate mothers in the media had added to the reluctance to undertake this treatment option.

Together with colleague Miss Aime Poote, from the University of Warwick Medical School, Coventry, UK, she set out to study current day attitudes to surrogacy among 187 women chosen from the general population. Only 8 out of the 187 were willing to become genetic surrogate mothers, and 9 gestational surrogates. Significant differences were found in age, with younger women being more willing, and with parity; women who were unsure about the idea of surrogacy were less likely to have had children, whereas those who were potentially willing and those who were unwilling were more likely to have had them.

Attitudes towards advertising for surrogates, the consequences of surrogacy, and factors that induce women to become surrogates differed between groups, as did reasons for wanting to become parents themselves. "Women who were potentially willing to become surrogates were more likely to say that they would be happy to be identified as the surrogate to the couple and the child," says Professor van den Akker. "Those who thought that parenthood was very important were also more likely to be willing to help others to become parents like themselves." According to Professor van den Akker, this shows that potential surrogates do this because they value families and parenthood and not because they hold unusual ideas about having children.

"We need to do further research with larger numbers," says Professor van den Akke
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology
Source:Eurekalert

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