You’ve met with a potential surrogacy match… now what?
Some say the most nerve-wracking part of the surrogacy process is when you meet your potential Intended Parents, or potential Surrogate for the first time.
Let’s recap a little…
To get to this point you will have been presented with information regarding your potential surrogacy match, in the case of agency matches, or shared information/a short biography with one another if matching independently.
If the initial impression is good, you’ve then had a get-to-know-you phone call. During that call many important topics will be briefly discussed, and from there you’ve all decided whether or not you would like to meet face to face. Or, in cases of International Intended Parents, meet via Skype.
The surrogacy match meeting is that pivotal moment when you are supposed to assess your feelings around each other and decide, based on that one meeting, whether or not you feel comfortable with carrying a baby for the person or couple, (surrogate), or having your baby carried by this person, (IPs). No pressure right? Talk about blind date jitters!
So how do you decide whether or not this match will work? What if, after you meet in person, you decide it doesn’t?
Here we’ll suggest a few questions both Intended Parents and Surrogates should ask themselves after the meeting to help decide if the match will work, and how to not lose hope if it won’t.
Was the Conversation Easy?
Have you ever been to a party, or get-together, and met someone new that you just instantly clicked with? Think back on how that conversation flowed easily, jokes were made effortlessly, and things felt light and enjoyable. With the match meeting the pressure is on; both parties will be nervous, wanting everything to be perfect, wanting to be liked. So, even though it’s a different setting than just a simple party conversation, the conversation can flow effortlessly, or feel forced.
When I met my Intended Parents for the first time, our conversation went as described above. We laughed, talked about things we had in common, and then the conversation naturally shifted to the more serious aspects of why we were meeting. I talked about why I wanted to be a surrogate, they talked about their desire to be parents, and I began to think “This is going to work.” It all just clicked.
Will You Feel Comfortable Discussing Personal Topics?
Something that was very important to me as a surrogate was keeping my Intended Parents informed of their baby and the pregnancy. So, naturally when I was meeting my IPs for the first time, the thought crossed my mind, “Would I feel comfortable talking to these people about my body, and having them at my doctor appointments?”
This for me was a serious and very real decision I needed to make. I was essentially going to be an extension of my Intended Mother, as I would be carrying her baby. My opinion was that she should be in the know of everything at every appointment. It was her baby, and I was giving my body to this cause. Also remember that the both of you will (in most cases), be in the delivery room together. That’s about as personal as it gets, people.
Are You in Agreement on Important Topics?
A successful surrogacy match will have all parties in agreement on important subjects such as:
- How many babies you’re (surrogate) willing to carry.
- How many embryos to transfer, and what happens if the embryos split.
- Views on termination or selective reduction, and to what extent.
- Testing done during the pregnancy.
- Who will be present during the birth, and in cases of a c-section, who will be allowed in the operating room.
- Pumping breastmilk after delivery, if desired.
If you are on the same page, great! However, if you’re not in agreement on these important factors, you are likely not a good match for one another. That’s okay! As with any other relationship, not everyone is meant to be a match. Do not let it discourage you, your perfect match is out there!
Are You Wanting the Same in Regards to Contact and Relationship?
One thing that is important to discuss before being matched is how often the both parties expect updates and contact. It would be upsetting for a surrogate to expect her Intended Parents to be deeply involved in the pregnancy only to receive a few emails throughout. On the same note, it would be frustrating for Intended Parents to feel that they are not getting enough information from their surrogate about their baby.
These mutual understandings should be part of what helps you make your decision. Ask yourself; “Are we both expecting the same thing from this pregnancy? Are we at an understanding on how much we wish to be in contact?”
Sometimes the Intended Parents and Surrogate develop a very close friendship, and the communication shifts from a need to stay updated to simply friends having a conversation. For many Intended Parents and Surrogates this is the desired outcome, but it is also okay to need your space.
At times the Surrogate and Intended Parents go into the surrogacy agreement with a business mindset, wanting only a business style interaction with communication ending once the baby/babies are born. The relationship between the Surrogate and Intended Parents is entirely up to them, but should be mentioned and agreed upon before, and once again during, matching.
Recognizing Surrogacy Match Deal Breakers
While most of the time you’ve discussed a wide variety of topics before a match meeting to make sure you’re on the same page, sometimes something will come up at the actual meeting that may not sit well with the surrogate or the IPs. What you need to decide next is whether the topic is a deal-breaker for moving forward. Surrogates and Intended Parents should never feel pressured to continue on with a match they aren’t 100% comfortable with.
It’s difficult, as a surrogate, to say no to a couple you know wants desperately to move forward, or for the Intended Parents to say no to a surrogate knowing it may take time to find or be matched with another one. Yet, as with any relationship, you should never settle for someone, or a couple, who may not jive with you in the long-run. Just because you don’t agree on a certain point doesn’t mean any of you are bad people for not wanting to move forward, and you shouldn’t feel guilty–everyone involved in this process deserves for it to be everything they have hoped and dreamed about.
I love them! What happens next?
Congratulations, you are matched!! As an independent match, you will verbally agree to work together, and move onto getting all tests and contracts going. For those with a surrogacy agency, both parties will communicate to the agency as to whether or not they want to officially match. Once that is done, the journey will progress into the testing (if it has not already been done), and surrogacy contracts.
A lot of this phase is a “hurry up and wait” sort of scenario, as it takes a lot of people to complete the necessary medical and psychological testing, as well as having contracts negotiated and drafted. Be patient, and take this time to communicate with your surrogate, or Intended Parents, to get to know one another a little better.
I didn’t feel that the match will work….Now what?
This is a discouraging feeling, and we all want to be matched on that first go around so that we can all move forward in this amazing journey, but the reality is that sometimes the match just isn’t a good fit and that’s good to discover now. Paying attention to your feelings and instincts is important, and if the meeting went well but you just don’t feel the match will work, it’s important to recognize those promptings, and say; “No, thank you.” Do not lose hope, the perfect match is out there!
Advice from other surrogates:
Doubt means don’t! I say always trust your gut, it hasn’t let me down yet! – Tina
Matching is like dating – what works for some people really doesn’t work for others. There are many surrogates out there and many IPs out there, all looking for something different. Open honesty is the key to making a solid match. When both sides are very open about what they want/don’t want, you can quickly tell if you agree on major issues and would work well together. Above all, absolutely do not rush into a match because you think you’ll lose this surrogate/IPs. If anything feels off, keep looking – you’ll be very connected to this person/people for the next year or so. You don’t want that connection to be with someone you ultimately grow to dislike. – Mia
I knew because I was smiling the entire time I was on the first call with them, I just felt an instant connection! I think it’s one of those things where if it’s right you will know! – Jennifer
Advice for those new to surrogacy…trust your gut. We want to help IPs (or get a surrogate) but you need to make sure they fit with what you want and expect for your journey together. In order to enjoy the journey of making a family together you need to make sure you’re on the same page and you’re comfortable with each other.Remember, if you can’t help the IPs (or use the surrogate), someone else can. – Kendra