Finding the perfect Prospective parents is probably the most important part of your surrogacy Journey
Deciding to become a surrogate is a big step, and learning about the legal requirements involved in the surrogacy process, as well as the qualifications a surrogate must meet, will help decide you decide if surrogacy best for your family.
Once you have decided to move forward, one important phase of this process is to meet the intended parents. This process varies depending on whether you are interested in an independent or agency supported process. Here are some steps you can take to be ready.
For an independent surrogate, there are limited things that you can do before meeting potential parents. The best thing you can do is be prepared. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you are ready.
Step 1: Visit your doctor
Visit your OB/GYN to make sure that you are safely able to carry a baby for potential parents. Discuss your health concerns and risks of becoming a surrogate. Your doctor may also be able to provide the names of some potential parents (the doctor has to abide by HIPPA laws, though), or the doctor may refer you to some reputable services.
Step 2: Visit a mental health professional
Ask a local mental health professional for help with ensuring you are mentally prepared for surrogacy. If you do not currently see a therapist, you can often get help from your insurance company to find a reputable therapist that specializes in infertility issues. He or she can help you understand the process and make sure that you are ready.
Step 3: Advertise your services
- Find surrogacy classified advertising on independent surrogacy websites such as mysurrogatemom.com, allaboutsurrogacy.com, surrogatecanada.com, or others. These websites can help users locate potential parents.
- Connect with online groups. You can work with social media support groups, online chat rooms, and forums dedicated to surrogacy and infertility. Be sure that you follow group guidelines before offering your services.
- Speak to friends and family members. If no one you know is having fertility issues, they may know people who are looking for help.
- It is recommended that before looking for intended parents to think about what you expect in this journey and your needs or requirements. This will help you find the perfect surrogacy match.
Agency Supported Surrogacy
The steps leading up to meeting potential parents from an agency are different. We will discuss those here. These can be easier in some ways. The agency makes sure that you are physically and mentally ready before introducing you to potential parents.
Step 1: Find an agency
Finding an agency that you are comfortable with is the first step to becoming a surrogate. You can research their services online, through friends and family, or by asking your doctor or a lawyer for a referral. Many services have prescreening questionnaires available online. These questionnaires ensure that you meet their standards.
A very small number of potential surrogates pass this prescreening, so be honest, but answer questions in the best possible way.
Step 2: Complete Screening
Complete all screening and prescreening that the agency requires. This will mean providing medical history, undergoing physical exams, lab work, and mental health screenings. You can ask questions at any time if you do not understand something. These screenings are in place to ensure that you can meet the standards of mental and physical fitness for surrogacy, but they are also there to protect you. If you can control something such as weight, lifestyle, or other surrogate requirements, this will also give you the opportunity to change these things before proceeding.
When you are exploring potential agencies, you can also see their minimum standards. You should make sure that you meet the minimum qualifications before beginning.
Step 3: Plan with the Agency
You will create a plan with the agency to determine the type of intended parents you want to work with and what you expect your journey to be like. While some plans will change, you will be able to decide what you are willing to do and what you are not. You can ask for specific requirements to be met, set your fee, and your reimbursement expense needs.
Meeting The Parents (for both independent and agency journeys)
Once you have completed the previous three steps, you will begin the matching process. If you are working with an agency, the parents may contact you first, but this step is still to have initial contact. If you are an independent surrogate, you may answer ads on the surrogacy classifieds or receive responses to your ads. You will discuss your intentions with potential parents. Once a positive connection has been made, you will often meet the parents in person or begin more in-depth online/ phone discussions.
The following are questions you might ask to see if potential parents are a good fit for you.
- What is your family like?
- Why do you want to have a surrogate carry your child?
- What are your expectations of me as your surrogate?
- What are your expectations for this journey?
- How do you feel about termination or reduction?
- Is this your first experience using a surrogate?
- How many IVF cycles will you attempt?
- How many embryos do you want to transfer on each attempt?
- Do you prefer to have contact with me or the agency?
- Once labor begins, what kind of communication do you expect?
- Is your extended family supportive of your choice to use surrogacy?
- What can I answer for you?
These are just a few questions you should ask, and an example of the main steps in the process. Agency policies may dictate completing steps in different orders, and your intended parents may answer some of these questions in the initial introduction before questions begin. You may also have specific questions that you want to ask for yourself about values, lifestyles, and plans. The most important thing to do when meeting parents is, to be honest about your life, intentions, and motivations as well as ask candid questions of intended parents. Do not be afraid to approach difficult topics, as the sooner you have clarification of different views, the better. A surrogacy journey is full of difficult decisions, and finding the right family to work with is imperative to a successful journey. If you need help, ask a trusted professional. If you are working with an agency, you can always ask them for help. Congratulations on deciding to help potential parents in this way.