When you imagine how it will feel to hold your child in your arms, watch them grow, and raise them into a happy, kind and responsible adult, who do you envision as the ideal birth mother? Will it be someone who shares your values and supports your family goals? Does your surrogate need to live nearby? Would you like to keep in touch with her after the birth, or would you prefer to keep the relationship cordial, without getting too personal? Choosing the right surrogate is an important decision—and factors like medical decisions, personality types, and core beliefs can make a big difference. After all, you’re trusting this person with the birth of your child. What could be more important?
In this blog, we’ll talk about how the surrogate matching process works, what factors to consider when selecting a surrogate through a surrogacy agency, and which details could be less important than you might expect. We’ll also touch on what makes Newborn Advantage one of the best surrogacy agencies in the U.S., like how we offer our clients more surrogacy choices and faster matches, ultimately increasing your chances of finding the very best surrogate, and welcoming the newest member of your family into your life sooner.
How The Surrogate Matching Process Works
At Newborn Advantage, finding the right surrogate begins with a personal consultation with Founder and Surrogacy Consultant, Mindy Berkson. She takes the time to get to know each of her clients, and asks questions to get a sense of their personality, risk tolerance, and goals. Because surrogacy laws vary from state to state, it’s also important to consider the state laws where the surrogate resides, and present only those surrogate candidates that will make sense from a legal perspective for the intended parents. At Newborn Advantage, we are proud to be a leader in surrogacy for gay couples, as well as gestational surrogacy. We keep up with changes in state laws regarding gay surrogacy, and strive to make the process simple and seamless for gay parents.
Next, Newborn Advantage will present a selection of candidates. Intended parents have the opportunity to see photos and read profiles of all candidates before they select a surrogate. Once a surrogate is selected, Mindy will coordinate and facilitate a call to introduce all parties, discuss your goals, and talk about key decisions in the surrogacy process.
5 Factors to Consider When Selecting a Surrogate
While you do have choices when selecting a surrogate, some factors, such as a surrogate’s diet, personal medical decisions, and daily lifestyle choices may be out of your control. However, while you can’t (and shouldn’t try to) control everything, it is important to find someone with whom you work well, to make these important decisions together.
According to Berkson, beyond medical and legal considerations, the most important thing is to find a surrogate who shares your basic mindset, morals, values, and ethics. She defines this quality as being “like-minded.”
“A like-minded surrogate will help you get to your end goal as if it was your own pregnancy,” Berkson explains. “There has to be a basic connection in order to solidify a match.” The best surrogacy agencies will present you with multiple options, making it easier to find a like-minded match.
- Medical Decisions
While a surrogate will make decisions about her own health, the intended parent(s) are responsible for making medical decisions for their child. So, it’s important to select a surrogate who is comfortable and in agreement with the types of medical decisions you intend to make. For example, would you prefer your surrogate to transfer one embryo or two? (Some will only transfer one embryo.) If your surrogate transfers two embryos, she must be willing to carry twins.
It’s also critical to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy if chromosomal abnormalities are detected in utero. Not all surrogates are willing to terminate if the child has Down Syndrome or some other chromosomal abnormality. Others are willing to do whatever intended parents want with regard to termination. Your Surrogacy Consultant will work with you and your surrogate to document your choices on key medical decisions beforehand, and formalize the agreement in the contract between you and your surrogate.
As Berkson puts it, “One of the hardest things to do is trust a perfect stranger with your most prized possession.” In friendships and in business, people tend to gravitate toward those with similar personalities. You will be working with your surrogate for 14 to 15 months, so it’s important to build a foundation of trust—and personality can go a long way. When you meet or talk with a potential surrogate over the phone, you can get a sense for your surrogate’s personality. Do you like her? Is there a feeling of mutual respect? Do you feel that this is someone with whom you can get along? These are some of the key things to look for.
- Presence at the Birth
Most, if not all surrogates, will allow you to be present at the birth of your child, if you desire. You may wish to cut the umbilical cord, hold the baby immediately after birth, or be in the room during or just after the delivery. Thoughtful planning will help ensure a special delivery and immediate bond with your newborn.
- Relationship After Birth
What kind of relationship do you wish to have with the surrogate after your child is born? Some intended parents hope for a surrogate to remain an integral part of their child’s life, while others prefer to have the relationship end upon delivery. At Newborn Advantage, we find that the vast majority of our clients do keep in some form of contact with the surrogate after birth, although some are closer than others. Most intended parents prefer to keep some distance, but stay friendly. Sending a Christmas card or a birthday card is a nice way to stay in contact, without getting too personal.
2 Factors That May Not Be as Important As You Think
Now that we’ve covered what matters most, what are the things that don’t matter as much? Below are a couple factors that may seem important now, but could be less consequential in the long run.
Initially, intended parents may ask their surrogacy agency to locate a surrogate who lives nearby, with the hope that they may be involved in every appointment and able to rush to the hospital for the birth. However, while it may sound lovely to have your surrogate next door, we encourage clients to think about what that looks like after birth. Is your surrogate going to be part of the family, at the birthday parties, at the family barbecue? What are the boundaries? Why is the location of the surrogate so important? You can still be close to someone if they live in another state—and you may not want the pressure of another family member.
- Diet and Personal Choices
It’s natural to want the surrogate carrying your child to eat healthy and make smart choices, so that your baby is as healthy as possible. However, it’s ultimately up to her to decide what she eats and how she spends her time. Some clients may want a surrogate who is vegetarian or vegan, for example, and it’s perfectly OK to look for these things—however, it is best to keep your expectations reasonable in this area. (After all, pregnancy cravings can be anything but reasonable.) Diet and lifestyle are important, but a happy, stress-free surrogate who does not feel pressured is very healthy for your baby, too.
Find the Right Match Faster with the Right Surrogacy Agency
Many surrogacy agencies present clients with just one surrogate option and the choice to “take it or leave it.” However, because Newborn Advantage has a large pool of top quality surrogates and an exceptional pipeline for candidates developed over our 13+ years of experience, we can bring clients more choices and faster surrogate matches. Most clients are presented with 5-12 surrogate options, and match times of about two weeks, compared to the average 4-8 months most agencies require. This makes it easier to find the right match, faster.
Newborn Advantage’s experience in gay surrogacy and gestational surrogacy helps gay couples start their families sooner, with more surrogate options and the opportunity to have a child who is biologically connected to a parent.
“You don’t build a house on a shaky foundation, so why would you do a surrogacy if you don’t have a solid, good match?” Berkson asks. “At Newborn Advantage, we work with our clients and surrogates every step of the way, to ensure the best surrogacy match and the best results possible.
Find your perfect match.
Ready to start your surrogacy journey?
Call Mindy Berkson for your complimentary consultation with our surrogacy agency.