Written by Caroline Shannon
September 14, 2022
Whether you’re a surrogate or the IP(s), it’s time to add these titles to your TBR.
So you’re one of those surrogates or an intended parent(s) who likes to read all of the information on what’s in store for you on your surrogacy journey, huh? (Duh, of course, you are. Right there with you.) Whether it’s through pamphlets, social media, or endless how-to videos, chances are likely you’ve been doing your surrogacy research ever since you’ve decided it’s the path for you.
And that’s why we created this list to help you navigate some of the best books about surrogacy on Amazon. Ranging in subject matter to first-hand surrogacy stories to thought-provoking ideas on establishing equity in surrogacy to down-to-the-basics pregnancy and parenting advice, there’s a book (or five) in the mix for you. Read on to make your picks and schedule a reading date — solo or with a partner — on the couch ASAP.
Using extensive field research and firsthand narratives, author Heather Jacobson uses the pages of this book to provide a full scope of surrogacy and the work involved in carrying someone else’s baby. This includes outlining many of the challenges faced by gestational surrogates (GCs), like complicated medical procedures, endless questions from near-perfect strangers, and advocating for equitable pay.
Favorite review: “This is an invaluable contribution to the study of surrogacy parenting and the ethical and political discourse around the practice. Heather Jacobson's perspective is original and provocative. It should be interesting for current or future surrogates, members of families that benefited from surrogacy, and anyone else who is interested in these areas professionally or politically.”
The road to surrogacy can sometimes feel isolating (in fact, it’s one of the main reasons we created Nodal), so a book like Zara Griswold’s with stories from IP(s) who found their way through surrogacy is kind of essential. The collection features narratives from intended mothers who found surrogacy as a result of experiences ranging from infertility to cancer, allowing for a versatile range of stories about how they found their way to parenthood.
Favorite review: “[This book] made me realize that I'm not alone, and other people also have to walk the very hard road of fertility problems, which can be hard to remember when you're surrounded by people that get pregnant and have babies easily.”
Snag this book if you’re seeking an ART take from a psychological perspective. Your Future Family outlines multiple steps and options for creating a family with ART, including surrogacy, IVF, and egg or sperm donation. Flip the pages for the basics on how surrogates are screened, suggestions for legal questions, and how to form a relationship with your surrogate (if that’s what you both choose).
Favorite review: “[This] is hands-down the best, most-comprehensive resource for all things related to third-party reproduction. Not only is this book necessary for anyone looking to use a surrogate to complete their family, but it is also a great resource for family members and friends who are wishing to understand the process”
Want an inside perspective on the surrogacy journey? Even though this book is written with the IP(s) in mind, a surrogate might also benefit from the information shared by Susan MZ Fuller, a seven-time gestational surrogate. Throughout the book, Fuller provides IP(s) with helpful questions to consider like, “Ask yourself, ‘Do I foresee visitors coming to the hospital, and how does my surrogate feel about having visitors?’”
Favorite review: “We've been considering surrogacy for several years and just started working with an agency to find a surrogate. This book perfectly answered many of the complex topics that should be discussed as we move into this next phase and it also helped me understand the perspective of potential surrogates much better.”
While not specifically trained on surrogacy, Emily Oster’s Expecting Better simply can’t be missed for any pregnant person (or person supporting someone who is pregnant). This book is the voice of reason in a minefield of best-of-intentions passersby and late-night Google searches about bed rest, pregnancy weight gain, to wine or not to wine, and sushi (#IFYKYK). Grab your highlighter — you’re going to want to take notes.
Favorite review: “This book kept me sane throughout my pregnancy. You hear so much BS and so many old wives tales from everyone when you are pregnant and this book helped me cut through all of it! She lays out the facts from actual medical studies and helps you draw your own conclusions and make informed decisions.”
A book co-written by a surrogate and an IP? Yes, please! Throughout this book, Emily Dubin Field (IP) and Melissa Fleck (surrogate) offer a back-and-forth perspective about subjects ranging from signing legal contracts to embryo transfer to fourth-trimester care to how surrogates and IP(s) can build relationships if they choose to do so.
Favorite review: “I loved getting both perspectives on this subject. I am currently considering surrogacy after my more than 6 years infertility battle. There are no surrogacy agencies where I live and in fact I am searching for my own surrogate. This has given me so much to consider and be prepared for and helped me clarify the type of relationship that I would like to have.”
Again, this text is not strictly related to surrogacy, but if you are looking for a BS-free guide about pregnancy-related emotions and beyond, then this is the pick for you. Because no matter who is doing the carrying or the caring for, it’s important to be able to tap into the emotions that come hand in hand with birthing a human. And, if there’s one thing we’re pro-always, it’s lifting the veil on reproductive health—surrogacy included.
Favorite review: “Real, funny, raw and inclusive — [this book] should be on the wish list + registry from every expectant parent. Why? This insightful and practical book provides invaluable insight into the mental health of pre-parenthood, labor & delivery and early parenthood, shedding light on common topics often left in the dark.”
Only one of few memoirs with a lens on assisted reproduction, this story by Sara Connell sheds light on her journey to motherhood — including multiple pregnancy losses — which eventually led to her mother carrying and delivering her son, Finnean. Even more special? The book not only focuses on the act of carrying a baby for someone, but the relationship—in this case between a mother and daughter — that can blossom as a result of doing so.
Favorite review: “Here's why I love this book: While the narrative offers and delivers a gripping story about an unorthodox reproductive journey, it is also a metaphor for what can happen if you allow unexpected people in your life (perhaps your mother, as in Connell's case) to bring you great gifts.”
Squeezing in one last book that is not about surrogacy, per se, but is still a solid pick if you want to get the low-down on modern pregnancy in general. (Even the author notes in the preface: “If you’re picking up this book because you want to understand what your partner or friend or surrogate is experiencing, good for you!”) Oh, and if you’re a person who likes action items, then get excited because Bumpin’ includes hospital checklists, finance tips, research findings on endless topics (e.g. parental leave, vaccinations, and breastfeeding), and a trimester-by-trimester overview.
Favorite review: “This book, like parenthood, changes everything. After having purchased and scoured every pregnancy book out there THIS one is the one I wish I'd had in hand for both of my pregnancies. And this is the book I will gift and reference to every prospective and expectant parent I meet from here on out.”
This list wouldn’t be complete without a suggestion for a little something that can help you track all of the special surrogacy moments along the way. And what makes this journal special is that it involves both the surrogate and the IP(s) because it’s designed to be a place for a gestational carrier to make notes to the IP(s) as they continue along their journey. (Psst—IP(s), consider gifting your surrogate with the companion version of this, a journal designed just for surrogates to jot down their feelings and thoughts throughout their time spent carrying your bundle of joy.)
Favorite review: “I searched for so long to find the perfect journal to use during my journey and eventually gift my IPs. [This] journal is EVERYTHING I wanted and then some!”