Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Arkadie, Nicole


Objective: This study examines the process of surrogacy and the effects it has on the gestational carrier's mental health during the pregnancy as well as after. While previous studies have highlighted the positive impact surrogacy has on the intended families and parents, there are few studies exploring the experiences of women who participate in the selfless act of baring another person's child. My study explores and addresses the risks (health and mental health), the screening process, and the ethical issues associated with the surrogacy process. Additionally, I investigate the impact of familial, community, the intended parent(s) support has on the gestational carrier, as well as the emotions and reasons behind the decision of becoming a surrogate.

Method: Participants for this study were recruited by contacting social media pages focusing on surrogacy and through referrals (snowball effect). The sample consists of women who are 18 years of age or older, have participated in the surrogacy process as a gestational carrier at least once, or are currently pregnant as a result of the surrogacy process.

Findings: Most of the participants expressed financial gain as being a motivator for participating in the surrogacy process, while others expressed finding joy in helping others facing fertility complications. It was determined that the gestational carriers who experienced health complications such as preeclampsia, hypertension, and other issues were associated with developing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Additionally, the lack of support from the surrogacy agency and intended parents created an unpleasant experience for some participants.

Included in

Social Work Commons