This blog was written by a Circle surrogate…
Before applying to become a surrogate, it’s a good idea to make sure you that you can be a GREAT surrogate. Becoming a surrogate is a big commitment emotionally and physically, so my best advice is to be ready!
So, you want to become a surrogate! You’ve toyed with the idea. You’ve researched the topic and agencies. You’ve read blogs from start to finish. You’ve completed the application. You’ve gotten your pre-approval email. Now what?
When I started my surrogacy journey, I was very surprised by how quickly the process moved. I was contacted within 24 hours of my application, pre-approved within a week, passed the psychological screening within two weeks, and officially matched with my intended parents two days shy of a month.
As I moved through the preliminary stages of this process, I found myself eager to find out “What’s next?”
I had passed the pre-screening process with the surrogate outreach coordinator and was speaking to the social worker before I got a detailed list of the surrogacy process. Attached to an email was Becoming a Gestational Carrier with Circle Surrogacy, a 16-page book, which I immediately read cover to cover. This was also the booklet I printed and took with me to answer any lingering questions my mother would have when I told her about my adventure.
The kicker about surrogacy is that it is full of ups and downs, and nothing is set in stone. You may have your calendar color coded and marked, but with one call from the IVF clinic, you will be wishing you had used dry erase markers.
I am thankful that my process has been very speedy, but one thing I learned very quickly was that every journey is different. Very, very different. I was lucky enough to match with intended parents who already had their egg donor and were choosing to use frozen embryos. They had everything in order before I even went to my screening appointment. Other surrogates wait a longer period of time before beginning the transfer process. Patience is key.
So how can you prepare to be a great surrogate? Here are some tips that I found helpful in ensuring I had a smooth journey:
- Prepare yourself emotionally. You are about to embark on the biggest journey of your life; chances are, you’ll never experience anything this “big” again. Emotions will run high, but if you are ready for the rollercoaster, you’ll do just fine. Open yourself up emotionally, and don’t be scared of putting yourself “all in”.
- Be as organized as possible. Use your phone calendar. Buy a paper calendar. Color code it. Whatever you have to do to keep track of appointments and things you need to do.
- Keep all emails and paperwork handy! Keep and organize the paperwork and emails. I am a document hoarder. I save every document I receive. When I complete a document, I rename it with my last name and the date, and then save it again. I created a folder in my email inbox that contains all my surrogacy emails and keep a folder with all documents that I’ve had to fax. It is a great idea to stay as organized as possible since you may be asked for the same information more than once.
- Read your contract. Every word. It’s good to know going in that the contract phase is daunting. This is where I experienced the most stress. While all contracts have same basic structure, every surrogate should advocate for herself. Read every single word of that contract; every single word of the 37-page document. It is also important to know that the contract is based on the commitment letter you sign. If you need to change any information, do it before you sign the commitment letter.
- Be honest with everyone, including yourself. You are your own advocate. If something doesn’t feel right, say something! Relationships – especially with your intended parents – are built on trust. They will be thankful you spoke up and shared your thoughts!
What’s still to come? Simply stated: a roller coaster. An awesome, life-altering roller coaster that will be filled with laughter, tears, stomach butterflies, and lifelong bonds.