One of the most common causes of anxiety for intended parents at the beginning of their family building journey via surrogacy centers around the issue of finding the right surrogate match. Although there are universal criteria that all surrogates must pass in order to even be considered a suitable carrier, there are additional unique characteristics of all individuals that will make a certain match better or worse suited for you. When it’s time for the all important first “match meeting” there are some tried and true tips that help intended parents determine if it’s the right match, while at the same time setting the stage for an emotionally healthy, respectful journey ahead.
If you ask an intended parent how they matched with their surrogate, they might tell you that they just knew she was the one after meeting her. That type of response is actually indicative that their agency is doing an incredible job “behind the scenes” though – as matching intended parents with a surrogate is an extremely intricate process: it takes an attentive team and reliable hands to cultivate matches that are friendly, trusting and comfortable throughout the process. As an intended parent going into a match meeting, there are actions and behaviors that you should take to ensure that a potential match is the right one for you.
Establishing the appropriate atmosphere of the match-meeting conversation
Balancing your expectations
Paying attention to how your behavior may affect your potential surrogate
Matching with the right surrogate for you is key to building a solid foundation for the journey to parenthood!
Prior to the Match Meeting
Prior to the match meeting, your surrogacy agency should have presented you with a detailed profile of the potential surrogate. Both parties should have already met each other’s unique non-negotiable criteria, such as legal marital status, location, number of embryos to transfer, willingness to terminate pregnancy or selective reduction, and what support the surrogate will receive throughout the journey. It will be beneficial to think of open-ended questions to ask the surrogate before you meet her, such as “what are the major reasons why you decided to become a surrogate?”, “what is a typical day in your life like?”, “how often would you like to touch base throughout the process?” or “what do your friends and family think about your decision on becoming a surrogate?”.
During the Match Meeting
The match meeting should be a relaxed, casual, stress free connection between you and the surrogate on a personal level. Find a comfy nook at your own home for the video call, or just a quiet, relaxed setting with good internet connection while keeping distractions to a minimum. During the match meeting, it is important to be attentive and mindful. A representative from your agency will be there to accompany you as the moderator, so that both parties reach a consensus on all essential topics, including desired level of communication throughout and after the journey, the option to be present in the delivery room, the option for breast milk, and more. Instead of expecting perfect answers from your potential surrogate or what a perfect surrogate looks like for you, you should consider focusing on whether or not this will lead to a pleasant and respectful partnership.
Although this is the opportunity for you to reconfirm that the person you meet is the person who was presented on paper, there should not be any personal interrogation, invasive questions or offensive remarks such as racial slurs, negative comments on her physique, or discussion of politics. The match meeting should not feel like a test, but rather, it should be an open, honest and transparent conversation you have with your potential surrogate. It will also be helpful to avoid being fixated on the mindset of impressing the surrogate, or actively trying to prove why the surrogate should choose you. Being your natural and authentic self, and showing different sides of your genuine personalities are more important, and will lead to a more successful match.
After the Match Meeting
After the match meeting, neither party should be obligated to make a decision right then and there. However, most agencies do recommend informing them of your final decision within 24 hours after the meeting. This not only gives the surrogate confidence in your relationship, it also gives your agency flexibility in presenting the surrogate to other interested intended parents, in case you would like to pass on the potential surrogate.
After an official match, your agency will send all of the surrogate’s information over to your IVF clinic to start the medical process. During this time, you may incur a period of little to no communication with your surrogate, as she attends medical appointments leading up to her medical clearance. Please trust that she is undergoing everything she should be with the guidance of your agency and your IVF clinic.
Bio: Brad Spencer is the Founder and Owner of Same Love Surrogacy, a global leading egg donor and surrogacy agency based in Los Angeles. Brad and his husband have twin boys conceived through IVF with the good fortune to have a family member as their egg donor and an exceptional gestational carrier. It was his personal journey that helped build a full service agency in 2014 that is owned and operated by gay fathers. Brad is globally known for providing best in class services to LGBTQ individuals seeking to become parents through assisted reproductive technology. He has successfully helped LGBTQ individuals build their families, including HIV-positive gay men. Brad works closely with the leading IVF clinics, attorneys and insurance companies in the US. Brad was born, raised and resides in Los Angeles. Prior to founding Same Love, he worked as a successful investment investor for 20 years and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Finance from California State University Northridge. Brad is an active supporter and volunteer for The Trevor Project, a national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing suicide among LGBTQ youth.
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