9 Do's & Don’ts for a First Meeting With Intended Parents and Surrogates
Once you find a surrogate, it's time to meet! The matching process between surrogates and intended parents is one of the most exciting times of a surrogacy journey. While parents and surrogates may have learned all about each other on paper, having a first face-to-face meeting (that includes via video!) with your surrogate or intended parent is an important step in solidifying a match.
That first meeting between surrogates or intended parents can feel a lot like going on a first date. This blog will help not only validate your feelings (it’s OK to be nervous!) but also provide some tips on that first meeting and what to talk about.
Expect a Few Pre-Meeting Nerves
Let’s start by stating the obvious: This first video call meeting is going to feel awkward. You’ll be nervous. You’ll be excited. You’ll worry about what to wear and what to say. It’s OK, and it’s completely normal to have all of these feelings.
Having matched surrogates and intended parents for over 27 years, Circle knows a thing or two about finding the right surrogate or intended parent with whom you’re compatible. Our thorough matching process helps to ensure that your first video call will be successful.
We have created a short list of do's and don'ts to help prepare you—and get you through—your first meeting. Please keep in mind these are meant purely as a guide to get you thinking, and to help start your conversation. Every match call is different!
9 Tips for How To Prepare for Your First Meeting With Your Surrogate or Intended Parent
1. DO prepare ahead of the call.
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 parents' 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. What types of things are you hoping to learn from your potential match? What do you hope to share? It’s OK to have a list of what you’d like to talk about next to you. Also, it’s a good idea to fire up the video call platform and give it a quick test run before your scheduled meeting time.
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. Plus, allowing your surrogate to follow the advice of her providers and not giving her a list of requirements will help to build a trusting relationship from the first day.
3. DO be curious and willing to learn ... and to share!
This is your chance to learn all about your potential match! Asking questions is a great way to learn about each other, and sharing about yourself is just as important. While this is the first video call, should you agree to match, it will be the start of a long, emotional, and rewarding relationship. Here are some questions you can ask each other:
What led you to surrogacy?
How do you spend your free time?
Where do you like to vacation?
What do you do in your spare time?
Tell me about your family
Do you have any pets?
It’s great to ask general questions about family and lifestyle.
4. DON’T interrogate.
This meeting should feel like friends getting together versus being questioned like on a job interview. 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.
At Circle, we do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to “screening” surrogate and intended parents, so you don’t have to! 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.
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.
Talk about your hopes for frequency and level of communication as well as the form it will take, such as video calls, phone calls, texts, in-person visits, etc. (Keep in mind that some intended parents may live abroad, so there may be large time differences at play.) At this stage, it is a good idea to make sure everyone shares the same expectations. This topic may also lead you to start talking about what you imagine for contact after the birth of the baby(ies).
6. DON’T talk about money.
Money is a topic that you usually don’t discuss with friends, and you could apply the same thinking when it comes to your relationship with your intended parents or surrogates.
In a surrogacy journey, financial issues fall under the umbrella of legal considerations and get covered during the course of contract negotiations. Intended parents and surrogates will each be represented by separate legal counsel. Again, at this point in the process, it is still early and the focus should be 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 you are both trying to get to know one another.
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. A surrogacy journey is an intimate experience, and you will be sharing a great deal of personal information with each other as you go through the process. Starting off by openly sharing your honest feelings and hopes will get everyone off on the right foot.
8. DON’T stress.
I know it’s easier to say than to do. Remember: You are both in the same boat, and the other party is likely just as nervous as you are. Preparing for the call, having a short list of questions or topics you want to share, and remembering why you are embarking on a surrogacy journey can help you remain calm. Keep the tone and topics casual. 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 naturally 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.
It is 100% OK to start your call by saying, “I just want you to know how nervous I am!” We can almost guarantee that you will get a loud, “Me, too!” right back. Once you get that out in the open, the conversation will start to flow. You are potentially going to embark on a monumental journey together; it’s your chance to be open and honest about your feelings (even if they are to say that you don’t know what you should be talking about!).
When you’ve talked about everything you want to cover during the initial surrogacy match 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 for pressure to cover every detail.
Are you interested in embarking on this journey as a surrogate? Learn more about becoming a surrogate at Circle Surrogacy on our Step-by-Step Surrogacy Process page. Or if you’re ready to start, apply now!
We can't wait to meet you!