The First Meeting: 9 DOs and Don’ts for Intended Parents and Surrogates

surrogate cartoon

 

[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 lmuscarella@circlesurrogacy.com.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in August 2013 and has been modified for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness

Today is Our 20th Anniversary

20 years of surrogacy

 

The History of Circle Surrogacy

Circle Surrogacy’s founder John Weltman and his husband Cliff Atkins had both of their sons through surrogacy. As a respected lawyer, John started to receive requests from other couples who were interested in building their families through surrogacy. At the time, surrogacy wasn’t as common and couples who couldn’t have children were becoming more and more interested in this option to have children of their own.

Twenty years ago John took on his first surrogacy client. Since then Circle has grown significantly. This year, we welcomed our 1,000th baby into the world!  Over the years, we have helped parents from six continents and 68 countries build their familes.

Celebrate with Us.

To celebrate this milestone, we have a few exciting projects to announce.

Video Collage

We are working on a video collection to include stories and photos from surrogates and intended parents via surrogacy.

We need your help! In order to create this video, we are asking our current and former surrogates and intended parents to send us:

–          Current photos of you and your family

–          Photos of intended parents’ families with their surrogate and her family

–          Stories and memories from your journey

–          Stories about the relationship you formed after the birth between surrogates or egg donors and intended parents

–          Home videos

To submit to our video collage project, email Lauren Muscarella at lmuscarella@circlesurrogacy.com. If you feel you’re “not a writer,” please email Lauren to set up a call. She will take notes and turn your story into a masterpiece. Since we won’t be able to use every word of every story, we will post them to our blog. Thank you in advance for your help with this project!

Inside Circle Video

We will be filming in our office and posting short videos every few weeks to introduce you to our dedicated staff—and so you can see our digs here in Boston, Massachusetts. We are excited to introduce you to some of the wonderful Circle employees who work behind the scenes.

Thank you.

There will be a few other surprises along the way as we celebrate this special occasion. Anniversaries give us—and we hope you too—an excuse to stop for a moment and reflect on this journey we’ve gone on together with immense gratitude for every person’s role.

Part of why surrogacy is so amazing is because of how many people are asked to be generous and patient in order to set this miracle in motion.

We are passionate about the caring hearts of the surrogates and egg donors in our program. As many of our staff members know from personal experience, it is wonderful to have a child on your own when you never thought it was possible. We take great pride in making a positive impact on the domestic and international surrogacy process. Here’s to another 20 years! Hear, hear.

The Circle Surrogacy Team Bonding Over Pumpkins

Here at Circle Surrogacy we are very passionate about our work. It’s easy to love what you do when you work with wonderful people, who you genuinely enjoy spending time with.

Everyone works hard and our schedules are hectic, however, when we can we carve out time for pumpkin making, we do. Today we painted, bejeweled, and adorned our orange domes with glitter to create little art masterpieces and one big-ish masterpiece.

Take a look. What do you think of our artistry?

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pumpkins

 

 

 

Baby Myla’s Birth in Photos, Video and Words

Even all the words and all the talent in the world, we cannot articulate the experience of a surrogate’s journey or an intended parents’ journey better than they can. We are lucky enough to share with you photos, video and beautiful words about one of the most recent Circle babies, the adorable Myla.

surrogacy journey

Words from Myla’s Surrogate

What a wonderful experience (except for a fraction of a moment in time, for me, haha) this has been. I don’t know if there are words to show my appreciation for all of your support. Yes, it has been a long journey, but it makes these moments that much sweeter. This has all surpassed my expectations.

You all have been fabulous. I received my flowers yesterday! Thank you so much. They are stunning. I am feeling terrific and doing well. Myla is healthy and doing great also, which makes me one proud carrier. And the cuteness… I’m so proud!

Warm heart,
Beth

[ Watch a video of the moments leading up to the birth including the first time Myla’s parents held her in their arms.]

Words from Myla’s Mother

Thank you, Circle, CTF and Associates!

You all know how long, and at times challenging, this process has been, but we made it. Watching Beth give birth to our Myla was one of the most surreal, profound and magical things Michael and I have ever witnessed. Beth has been an incredible surrogate and friend to us through all the highs and lows. Watching her give birth naturally, I have even more respect for her (if that’s possible?)!

So thank you all for supporting and guiding us through the process. We are very appreciative of all that you’ve done.

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grandparents

Surrogacy Journey

Birth Announcement: Welcome Baby Polly

birth announcement

 

Parents, their surrogate and Baby Polly are all happy and healthy. We want to thank the family for sending along these photos. She’s absolutely precious.

Early this week we posted this photo on facebook and our community erupted with support and well wishes. When we see all those little acts of kindness, our hearts are warmed. At Circle, we feel incredibly lucky to be able to do the work we do–the help build families.  baby facebook

Nothing can compare to the selflessness of our surrogates who show all of us the true meaning of generosity.

To see more birth announcements, newsworthy surrogacy articles and more, join us on facebook at facebook.com/circlesurrogacy.

We’re Creating a New Surrogate T-Shirt

We’re designing a new surrogate t-shirt and we need your help. Here is our idea but if you have thoughts, ideas, links or photos, please share them with us in the comment section below.

And, if you don’t mind, tell us what you think of the design we did come up with. Rate of 1 to 10! Thanks for your help.

surrogate t shirt

Birth Announcement: Healthy Baby!

Thank you to Circle surrogate Jobeth, who gave these parents a wonderful gift of a beautiful healthy baby girl, for sharing these wonderful photos with us.

birth announcement

 

For parents and surrogates, who want to share photos, we are always happy to make birth announcements and show photos from a year, two years, 12 years later. We love keeping in touch.

To give you a little background, we only reveal whatever personal information you feel comfortable with. However, we never share last names or where the surrogate or parents are from.

If you have photos and/or stories you want to share with us send them to: lmuscarella@circlesurrogacy.com.

Thank you!

jobeth photos 2