Maternity Shoot With Surrogate Mother Compared to 'The Handmaid's Tale'

A photo shoot showing a gay couple and the surrogate carrying their child has gone viral on social media, with some comparing it to The Handmaid's Tale.

The woman, whose TikTok handle is @newyorksurrogate, posted the photos on her account last week, with the caption: "We did a 'maternity' shoot and it came out great!"

The video amassed more than 4 million views and over 600,000 likes, as well as thousands of comments, but the user has since turned them off.

But a still from the video, showing the surrogate in a red maxi dress cradling her baby bump while standing in the background behind the couple, was shared on Twitter over the weekend.

"This is some Handmaid stuff right here," Bethany Mandel wrote alongside the image in a tweet that has gotten more than 11,000 likes.

"Optics of this are insane," a Twitter user wrote in response.

"Can someone put a white bonnet on the obscured, abandoned pregnant woman functioning as a-uterus-on-legs-for-privileged-men please," another added.

Mandel's comment refers to Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel, adapted into an acclaimed Hulu television series, in which fertile women known as "handmaids" are forced to bear children for the ruling class in the dystopia of Gilead.

The Handmaid's Tale has been invoked in response to many real-world events, including the Supreme Court's stunning decision on Friday that overturned Roe v. Wade, which is expected to lead to abortion being banned in about half of U.S. states.

The red robes and winged white bonnets worn by the handmaids have also been adopted as a symbol of protest by women's rights activists in recent years, with some wearing the outfits at demonstrations prompted by Roe's fall.

However, the surrogate in the video has defended the shoot in videos posted on her account, saying it had been her idea to be in the background of the photos.

"The maternity quote unquote, shoot was actually my idea. It ended up being something that the dads wanted as well. They just had not thought of it. They're super happy we did it," she said in one video.

"But this was my preference to be in the background or be out of focus. If you Google surrogacy photoshoots, this is the kind of thing that you'll see. It's about the dads. It's about the baby. It's not that it's not about me at all, but it is less about me. That's how it works."

In another video, she explained that she is not the biological mother of the baby she is carrying and that the couple are not adopting.

"I live in a state, New York state, that allows for pre-birth orders. So what this means is that prior to the birth, we get an order from the court that establishes the parents, these two fathers, as the legal parents and that I am not," she said.

"So even prior to birth, this has been established. No adoption is required."

She added: "I am not the biological mother. In this surrogacy, these two dads, one is the biological dad and they used an egg donor to provide the egg. I am just the carrier. So it's not my egg, therefore it's not adoption."

She declined to comment further when contacted by Newsweek.

Protester dressed in Handmaid costume
A pro-choice activist dressed in a Handmaid costume outside the Supreme Court on October 4, 2021, in Washington, DC. A photo shoot showing a gay couple and the surrogate carrying their child has gone viral on social media, with some comparing it to The Handmaid's Tale. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images