Finding a surrogate is probably one of the most important steps of your surrogacy journey.
There are many ways to go about searching for a surrogate, and many intended parents find themselves overwhelmed with the task. However, with a little planning and a strategy ready, you can find the right surrogate for you and your family.
Step 1: Decide if you want a known or unknown surrogate
Some intended parents are comfortable asking someone they know to be their surrogate, and others are not. Likewise, some people are comfortable with a stranger carrying their child while others are not. This is a personal decision and one that can only be decided by considering your needs.
Known surrogates can come with smaller fees, sometimes, and they often understand the struggles the intended parents have faced. However, an unknown surrogate is not likely to remain in the child’s life after giving birth, other than updates that the intended parents make after they take their children home. This means that the carrier will not feel the need to question parental choices the way a friend or family member might do. Again, there is no right or wrong choice, but it is a decision that should not be taken lightly.
Step 2: Decide if you want an Agency or Independently Supported Surrogate
Finding a surrogate greatly depends on the type of journey you would like to take with her. She can be agency supported or support herself throughout the journey. There are benefits for each, but you should select the journey that matches your wants and needs best.
Independent journeys are often cheaper because they do not have agency fees added to their costs, but agency supported journeys come with a mediator ready to help.
If a problem arises, the agency is prepared to handle disputes. However, an independent surrogate often has experience with surrogacy and plans for these disputes, unless she is a first-time surrogate. Many first-time carriers prefer agency support, though. Like step 1, there is no answer that fits every family or even every journey. Keep your family’s needs at the forefront, and you will make the right choice here.
Step 3: Find A Surrogate
Step three will be broken down into 3a and 3b. Step 3a will showcase what to do if you choose a private surrogate. On the other hand, 3b will help you with agency matching.
Step 3a: Locating an Independent Surrogate
- Begin by speaking to family and friends if you are interested in a surrogate that you know. Even if you want an unknown surrogate, you can ask friends, family members, and medical providers if they know of anyone looking to work with new families.
- If you do not want to speak to family and friends, or if they are not able to help, look in surrogacy classifieds on reputable websites: surromomsonlinecom, mysurrogatemom.com, and allaboutsurrogacy.com are popular websites that have surrogate classifieds.
- Search other online groups. Sometimes support groups, social media groups, and webpages dedicated to surrogacy will have forums and matching opportunities. See what your groups or social media platforms offer.
Please keep in mind that potential carrieres still have to pass certain screenings and be deemed fit to be a surrogate both physically and mentally. Medical professionals will not let everyone complete this journey.
If you are choosing a traditional or gestational carrier independently, make sure that she is the right candidate by asking her to pass physical and psychological screenings before creating contracts that bind you to her. If an agreement is negotiated first, make sure that if she is not fit, you do not owe any fees.
Step 3b: Finding a surrogate with an agency
- Make an appointment with an agency for a consultation. Some agencies often charge an in-person consultation fee, but others will allow phone consultations for free. Find an appropriate agency to fit your needs and wants.
- Work with that agency to prepare your profile and examine the profiles of potential surrogates. Be sure to let the agency know if you have more stringent expectations than their typical surrogate screening. If you only want a surrogate under 30 and they allow surrogates up to 40, you need to let them know that. Do not be shy about your wishes. Also, you need to understand that individual surrogates may have expectations of intended parents. Both parties need to be satisfied, and the job of the agency is to foster a pleasant experience for everyone.
- You will then initiate contact with the surrogate and decide if she is right for your family. You may find that even though she meets all of the wants and needs, her personality does not fit yours. Keep trying. If you are not satisfied after the first meeting, let the agency know what the problem is. The agency may have a certain number of potential matches that they will let you meet or contact before charging additional fees or terminating contracts. Be sure that you work with the agency to find the best match, but you also follow their contracts carefully.
Step 4: Meeting the surrogate to determine if she is best for your family
Meeting the surrogate can be a challenge. Parents want to ask questions and make sure she fits their needs. They are often tired and frustrated with infertility and failed attempts at pregnancy. For this reason, we have put this list of questions together for you to begin asking a potential surrogate. Add to this list as your family needs.
- Why do you want to be a surrogate? Or why have you chosen surrogacy?
- How many successful surrogacies have you had?
- Are you willing to…? (This question might be asking to add certain supplements, consider a water birth, or other plans you might have for a journey.)
- How do you feel about termination? Selective reduction?
- How will you communicate with us throughout the labor process or complications (beginning, during, or after the baby is born)?
- How does your family/ partner feel about this? Can we meet your family? (you may need to contact the partner in an emergency, and an initial meeting might be wise).
- What are your expectations of me/ us?
- What are your goals for being a surrogate?
These steps and questions are just a guide. Choosing and meeting a potential surrogate can be very stressful. We hope that this guide will alleviate some of the challenges associated with the process and help you to find a surrogate.