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February 2, 2017

5 Things The Gilmore Girls Got Wrong About Surrogacy (Spoilers!)

Back in 2007, aficionados of the delightfully-witty show Gilmore Girls were left with lots of questions and feeling hopeful about the future of the leading ladies. Rory, honoring her independent spirit, was headed off to report on the Obama campaign, Lorelai’s business was good, plus she and Luke seemed to have finally settled into a relationship, and Emily was doing well, with her own plans and stable family relationships. Yet, we still wanted so desperately to see how things worked out for Lorelai and Luke and we needed to see what Rory had made of herself.

Fans received an extra special treat near the end of 2016 when Netflix released “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” a show we hoped would answer our questions as well as deliver more of the fast-paced quips and pop-culture references we’ve come to know and love. Now, if you haven’t yet seen A Year in the Life, and you’re a fan, it may be best to catch up on the 6-hour revival before reading further, though we’ll try not to reveal too much beyond how the show addresses surrogacy.

To set the scene, you should know that Lorelai and Luke have indeed weathered the test of time. At the start of A Year in the Life, Emily remarks about how selfish Lorelai is that she never asked Luke if he wanted more children. This burns Lorelai, and she goes to Luke and begins asking him if he wants kids, and then starts pushing for surrogacy.

1. Reputable Agencies Spend Time Getting to Know the Intended Parents

From the get-go, we can see that Lorelai and Luke are not on the same page with even having a child, let alone with going the route of surrogacy. Lorelai is bent on helping fulfill a wish that Luke doesn’t even say that he wants. This concept was lost on a lot of viewers. People wanted so desperately for Luke and Lorelai to become parents, that most online reviews of the revival fail to see this. Luke goes along with it, but he never displays any real interest in the process, besides appeasing Lorelai. This would have come out during the intake process for the couple, if they had been at a reputable agency. Instead, they received pushy sales tactics, courtesy of Paris, who is now running a surrogacy agency for the elite. Real agencies spend time getting to know the couple. The process is designed to help make dreams come true, not sell a service.

2. Surrogates Aren’t Rated and Ranked

When the couple meets with Paris, she starts rapidly scanning through profiles of surrogates and then tosses her book of “bargain basement breeders” aside in favor of “prime meat.” She ranks them in order of her perceived quality, with military wives being “the cream of the crop.” This is inaccurate on a million levels, but to clarify, all surrogates undergo testing, both mental and physical, to ensure they can fulfill their roles as surrogates. After this, reputable agencies go through a matchmaking process, in an effort to pair intended parents with surrogates who share similar values. At SPS, many of the matches we make form lifelong bonds because of the journey they share. Each person is a part of the team.

3. Surrogates Don’t Determine the Genetic Characteristics of  a Child

In a sense, Gilmore Girls did hit on an important point. Lorelai is in her late 40s and, therefore, would probably not use her own egg. This isn’t a certainty, as each case is decided by the intended parents and their doctors. However, the similarities stop there. During the presentation, Paris warns the couple of the dangers in choosing a low-quality surrogate, claiming if the woman isn’t smart enough or pretty enough, their child will wind up with a career at McDonald’s. Ethics and snap-judgements aside, surrogates today are usually gestational surrogates, which means their eggs aren’t used. They share no genetic relationship with the child.

4. People Don’t Expect to Alter Contracts Midway Through

Paris takes a call, and although we only know her side of the conversation, the tone of it is pretty clear. “No, there is no return policy. What’s she going to return? It’s a baby,” she says. Although this was probably added entirely for comedic effect, it reflects poorly on the mindset of people who enter into surrogacy contracts. All contracts are negotiated ahead of time in a manner that meets the needs and expectations of the intended parents and the surrogate. Because some of surrogacy is unpredictable, detailed plans are made ahead of time to address any potential complication. It’s unfathomable that any client of a reputable agency would have an unclear understanding of the terms they helped create, let alone ask for a “return.” Here in California, intended parents can establish their rights before the baby even arrives as well, and most do. This scene was yet another example of how far removed from reality the show actually was.

5. Nobody Can Tell if You Had the Help of a Surrogate

At another point, Paris meets Lane and her twins. In true Paris style, she quips, “Who did your work?” She then responds in disbelief to the news that Lane gave birth to her own children without medical assistance. If you know the show, then you know that Lane’s babies were the result of an unplanned pregnancy, but Paris’ insistence is enough to make some people wonder if there’s some kind of difference. There’s not. Nobody will ever know that you had the help of a surrogate unless you tell them.

Considering Surrogacy?

Whether the Gilmore Girls writers genuinely didn’t understand the surrogacy process or simply hammed it up for the sake of comedy, they fell short. However, this is a prime opportunity to highlight these misconceptions and correct them. If you’ve been considering surrogacy, but held off because of the way TV or the media presents it, you can rest assured they’ve got it wrong. Get real information from a reputable surrogacy agency; contact us today.