Naturally, anyone who is familiar with surrogacy in California already knows that motherhood is not a one-size-fits-all title. There are countless faces of motherhood, each special in its own unique way.

“Traditional” Motherhood

What most would consider traditional motherhood involves natural conception, delivery, and raising a child who shares a biological link. While just under four-million babies are born each year, and the vast majority to their biologically-related mothers, roughly 11% of all women are infertile, an untold number cannot, or chose not, to carry and deliver biologically-related children.

Foster Motherhood

There are more than 400,000 children in the American foster care system, each with his or her own traumatic history. Some have been beaten, neglected, or abandoned. The median amount of time child spends in foster care is one year, with more than half of all children returning to their parent or primary caregiver at some point. Foster moms help these children overcome their difficult pastes and provide a warm and loving environment while the child’s family rehabilitates and works to bring the child home. In cases where the child’s family does is not able to regain custody, foster parents often adopt the children they care for. This occurs about one-fourth of the time, while the remaining children stay in the system. Approximately 20,000 age out of the system each year.

Adoptive Motherhood

As noted, many foster mothers eventually go on to be adoptive mothers, while other adoptive mothers receive their children directly from the biological mother or through other avenues. While surrogacy in California enables mothers to establish parentage before a baby is born, this isn’t so in other parts of the country. In these cases, adoptive mothers may actually be the biological mother (if a surrogate helped with the pregnancy), the partner of the biological or birth mother, or related through some other fashion. Unlike foster motherhood, adoption is forever.

Surrogate Motherhood

Often referred to as surrogates or gestational carriers, surrogate mothers make the compassionate decision to carry a baby for another person. Historically, surrogate mothers were also genetically-related to the babies they carried, but nowadays most intended parents either use their own eggs or select eggs from donors as a separate facet of the surrogacy process. Some surrogates remain in the lives of the families they help create, while others provide assistance and move onto other things. Each relationship between a surrogate and intended parent is beautifully unique.

Motherhood Via Surrogacy/ Intended Motherhood

Surrogacy has been on the rise for more than a decade. Previous statistics showed a leap of 83% from 2004 to 2008, with the latest research showing more than 1,500 babies being born via surrogacy each year. However, that was back in 2011. Advancements in IVF and improved services have put surrogacy within reach for many intended mothers. While some intended mothers are able to use their own eggs in the surrogacy process and can therefore share a biological link with the child, others opt for surrogacy in order to give their partners a genetic link to their child or for other personal reasons. Because intended mothers are able to be part of the pregnancy, they also begin developing bonds with their babies right from the start.

Shared Motherhood

Shared motherhood, or co-motherhood, is the term most often used in the LGBT community. This unique arrangement enables both parties of a lesbian couple to share in the pregnancy by implanting one woman’s fertilized egg in the uterus of her partner. In states like California, both women can be named as parents before the baby is born. In other states, lawful parentage may belong to either the biological mother or the gestational carrier, despite the couple being together. In cases where the state does not have LGBT-friendly policies, it’s typical for the non-custodial mother to adopt the baby after he or she is born.


Women who marry a person who already has children becomes their step-mother. While not a new concept at all, step-mothers often care for their step-children as if they were her own.

Motherhood by Choice

A select few, such as aunts, grandmothers, cousins, siblings, or close family friends, choose to fill a mothering role for a child. While these women almost never gain the title of “mother,” they do shape the lives of the children they shelter and help grow.

Motherhood by Any Name

While these are some of the most common ways women come into motherhood, it is not by any means an exhaustive list. All faces of motherhood, whether mentioned here or not, are special and unique in their own ways, and each time a compassionate and caring woman has a hand in the creation or development of life, it’s cause for celebration.

Considering Surrogacy in California? Call SPS

Surrogate Parenting Services is an experienced and dedicated agency, based in and focused on surrogacy in California. We work with both gestational carriers and intended parents to create matches which result in a smooth process, and stand beside our clients every step of the way. If you’re a woman who would like to help someone complete a family, please visit our page on becoming a surrogate. Individuals interested in growing their families with the help of a surrogate may complete our online form or call us directly at (949) 397-6855.