Guest blog from Extraordinary Conceptions.
Finding the right surrogate mother to help your family can seem like a daunting task. Working with a reputable agency can help you to simplify the process and find the right surrogate for you and your family. An experienced agency can help to filter through medical records, arrange screening procedures, and help you figure out what is a good match for you. An agency will also help you with details like travel arrangements, health insurance and legal contracts. Most importantly perhaps, an agency will be the middle-man in your arrangement and help preserve your relationship as you deal with the common struggles that come up in a surrogacy agreement.
While some intended parents and surrogates prefer to have a more “business-like” relationship, many intended parents and surrogates opt to get to know each other better and have a more personal relationship for the duration of the surrogacy and sometimes continuing that relationship as the child gets older. No matter what type of relationship suits your family best, it is important to ask your future surrogate some difficult questions to help ensure that everyone involved has the same goals and mindset.
Here are a few of the questions you should consider asking your potential surrogate early in your relationship. Her answers may give you insight into what you are looking for in a surrogate arrangement and whether this particular relationship is right for you and your family.
1: What made you decide to become a surrogate? How does your family feel about your decision?
It’s definitely important to know why she has chosen to proceed with surrogacy and to ensure that she has a strong support system of friends and family when she needs them. Not everyone supports surrogacy and it can be hard if a surrogate experiences judgment from people in her life, or doesn’t have the support that she’ll need during the IVF cycle and pregnancy.
2: What type of relationship do you want throughout the pregnancy? What type of relationship do you want after the delivery?
Establishing the type of relationship you all want is essential to this process. Privacy is important to both the intended parents and the surrogate and boundaries will need to be determined ahead of time.
If you want to be in the delivery room at the time of the birth, then asking how she feels about having you there is equally important. Giving birth is a very intimate experience and she may feel uncomfortable having people in the delivery room with her. Some surrogates would prefer that the intended parents be there during the delivery. It really depends on what is best for all of you.
If you want to continue the relationship after the child is born, you’ll want to work with a surrogate who also wants updates and contact after the delivery. Some surrogates have expressed feelings of hurt if the intended parents chose to cut off contact after the baby was born.
3: What are your views on termination and/or reduction?
Please keep in mind that this is a topic that NO ONE likes to discuss. Everyone involved is hoping for a healthy, safe pregnancy and delivery. However, there have been occasions where the decisions made ahead of time need to be called upon due to a complication during pregnancy.
For surrogates, they are carrying a child that is not biologically related to them; however, their body must endure the pregnancy and if needed, the termination procedure. It’s extremely important that the surrogate and intended parents agree on how specific situations should be handled in case there is an emergency. If a surrogate is not willing to terminate under any circumstances, she should only carry for intended parents who also share this point of view.
It is very important to take some time and be very honest and upfront about your feelings on this topic. It is better to wait a little bit in order to find the right surrogacy situation for you than it is to just agree to use the first surrogate you meet.
4: How do you feel about carrying twins (or multiples?)
Pregnancies involving more than one baby carry more risks than a singleton pregnancy and she may not want to expose herself to those dangers. Some surrogates have strong opinions about not wanting to carry more than one, or two, babies at a time. This may mean not transferring more than one or two embryos during a cycle, or being open to a reduction if she is pregnant with more than one embryo.
5: Have you thought about the potential risks involved? Do you have any concerns about the surrogacy process?
IVF physicians educate the surrogates on the risks involved as best as possible, but it’s still important to ensure that she has really considered them and there are no unresolved questions or concerns moving forward. If she does have concerns, they may need to be addressed by the physician or the agency, but you want to make sure you ask her either way. In rare situations, a surrogate has had unresolved concerns and has chosen to back out of the match. This can cause hurt and frustration for the intended parents who have invested time and money for her to be their surrogate.
*At Aspire, we recognize how hard these conversations can be. Make an appointment at one of our locations and let us help you through the process.*