In my years of working with both intended parents (IPs) and surrogates, I find myself having the same conversations repeatedly (I’m sure this kind of thing happens in your job, too). My inspiration for this blog is the desire to to create a shortcut to this knowledge. I want to help intended parents sleep at night way earlier in the process because they have one or two less things to worry about.
So here are the five questions I hear far too often, and the five things I wish every IP knew before embarking on a surrogacy journey...
Does My Surrogate Want to Keep my Baby?
1. Your Surrogate Doesn’t Want to Keep your Baby
I promise you. I know you’ve seen Lifetime movies to the contrary, but the reality is, your surrogate knows the difference between your child and her own. One benefit that both an agency and your medical practice provide is solid, responsible screening.
Women who are unstable or who might have predispositions to over-attachment to a pregnancy they carry for someone else will be caught in a screening net early. If you feel your agency or clinic is cutting corners in the screening process, push back.
Is my Surrogate just Doing this for the Money?
2. Your Surrogate is Not Just Doing this for Money
Sure the compensation is appealing -- who couldn’t use more money? But the reality is there are way quicker ways to make money than being a surrogate (and way easier!). The screening and matching process take so long that your surrogate could easily have made thousands of dollars during that time doing something different. Surrogates sacrifice a lot to do what they do. In my opinion the compensation barely covers it.
Is the Surrogacy Screening Comprehensive Enough?
3. Surrogates Lives are Not Perfect
They are people, just like you. They may have gone through rough times when they were younger, may have started their family in their late teens in less than ideal circumstances, or have failed marriages behind them. But the surrogates that are screened and accepted to be matched tend to be resilient, resourceful people who know how to make their lives work, regardless of the adversity they encounter. This is the kind of resilience you want in the person your entrust with your future family.
How can I feel in Control during the Surrogacy Process?
4. You Can’t Control Everything (Sorry!)
This one is really tough to swallow, I get that. You have experienced so much loss of control, that this is one place you’d like to make the pieces move in all the right directions. But you can’t control someone else’s life completely for nine months, from a distance. Nor would you really want to. Your surrogate may not do things exactly the way you would, but this is the place to exercise some real mindfulness and gratitude. Now I’m not talking about medical recklessness here, or a scenario where you think the surrogate is putting herself or the pregnancy in danger. I’m talking about the little everyday choices that you would love to tell the surrogate how to handle. My advice? Let it go.
My experience has been that the majority of surrogates are always keeping their IPs in mind, trying to be the best stewards of the future life they have been entrusted with. Keep the relationship strong by not second-guessing their every decision. I promise you, they are doing their best.
How Long does Surrogacy Take?
5. Surrogacy is Not a Short Process
So I may be throwing this one in out of my own self-interest...
I would love for intended parents to understand that a lot of time and effort goes into making a surrogacy cycle happen. It quite literally takes a village. From nurses like myself, to physicians, attorneys, and agencies, surrogacy winds up looking more like project management than family building at some times. But I can also say from experience that it does come together. Once you assemble the right team, try to sit back and take a deep breath. Your team will get you there!
Through her work with RMACT’s third party reproduction team, Nora has been supporting fertility patients, cancer patients and the LGBTQ community for the past 13 years. She has extensive experience with egg donors, egg recipients, surrogacy and fertility preservation.