[image by Condé Nast]
Meeting your surrogate or your intended parents for the first time is like going on a blind date.
You’ll be nervous. You’ll be excited. Things might feel a little awkward at first. You’ll spend a long time picking out an outfit… Alright, maybe not that last part.
Not to worry, though. If you relax and review our suggested DOs and DON’Ts, you’ll have a great experience. Keep in mind these are meant merely as a guide to get you thinking. Every match call conversation is different.
1. DO prepare. Think of questions, goals, and double check that Skype is working.
Just like going on a first date, you’ll get the most out of your call and have an easier time making a decision about whether you want to pursue a relationship if you take the time to prepare beforehand.
Start by reviewing your potential surrogate’s or intended parent’s profile. Then, sit down with your partner or support person and think of questions you have and what you want to accomplish during the call. Before your scheduled meeting, it’s a good idea to fire up Skype and give it a quick test run.
2. DON’T give a list of requirements.
When you’re meeting your potential intended parents or surrogate, feel free to discuss general lifestyle questions and habits, but don’t plan on giving specific instructions. Intended parents should know that surrogate mothers rely on the expert guidance of their obstetricians/gynecologists and other medical professionals. It can be difficult to let go of some control when you are having a child through surrogacy, but it’s an important part of a successful journey.
3. DO be curious and willing to learn. Ask questions!
Find out what led your potential surrogate or IPs to surrogacy. Ask about things outside of surrogacy as well. How do they spend their free time? It’s great to ask general questions about family and lifestyle.
4. DON’T interrogate.
While you should be inquisitive, keep the conversation light. Your approach is just as important as your choice of questions. The first meeting is not about screening your surrogate or intended parents.
Approved surrogates pass psychological and social work screenings as well as a medical records review by an IVF physician. Intended parents also undergo a screening process with our consultation team before joining our program. This allows you to focus on getting to know each other during the match call.
5. DO discuss your hopes and expectations for communication.
You’ve heard it before—communication is key! Some of our intended parents and surrogates become very close, talk with each other often, and arrange several in-person visits during the course of the surrogacy journey. We encourage open and honest relationships, but we recognize that these can take many forms.
Talking about your hopes for frequency/level of communication as well as the form it will take i.e. Skype, phone calls, in-person visits, etc. At this stage, it is a good idea to make sure everyone shares the same expectations. You might also discuss your hopes for contact after birth.
6. DON’T talk about money.
Financial issues fall under the umbrella of legal considerations and get covered during the course of contract negotiations. You will each be represented by separate attorneys. Again, at this point in the process, you should focus on getting to know each other. One of the best advantages of working with a surrogacy agency is the freedom it gives you to focus on enjoying your surrogacy journey.
7. DO remember this is a two-way street.
Intended parents want to learn about their surrogates and surrogates want to learn about their intended parents in order to make the right decision. Be prepared to share your own story and what led you to surrogacy.
8. DON’T stress.
These calls are meant to be conversations, not interviews. Remember, you want to make sure that you mesh and that you share similar hopes and expectations. In order to relax, take a deep breath so you can focus on the important things.
9. DO be yourself.
The best way to form a healthy, understanding connection is to act natural and let the conversation flow organically. At the end of the day, a strong relationship between the IPs and the gestational mother will make for the most fruitful and enriching surrogacy journey.
When you’ve covered everything you want to cover during the initial meeting, ask if there is anything else your surrogate or intended parents would like to know about you or if there is anything else they’d like to add.
We hope you’ve found these suggestions helpful. Again, this is meant as a guide to help you prepare for your first meeting—there is no need pressure to cover every detail. Good luck!
Visit our FAQ page for any further questions about surrogacy!
Have advice for intended parents or surrogates who are getting ready for their first call? Email us your suggestions at email@example.com.