The first meeting with someone who will hopefully soon be pregnant with your baby can be incredibly nerve-wracking. It can feel like you’re passing the control over your soon-to-be-created fetus to someone else, and the pressure to make the “right” decision is enormous.
It’s important to keep in mind that the surrogate is having a similar experience. She has thought long and hard about being pregnant for someone else. She has thought about how much control the intended parents might want over her pregnancy. She is nervous, too, and wants the best possible match, just like you do.
Approaching the match meeting as an opportunity to get to know someone who has similar hopes and fears as your own can start you off on the road to a great match meeting (and hopefully a successful match meeting!). Here are some things to consider as you get ready to meet a surrogate.
1. It’s not a job interview! Don’t grill your surrogate about her health or home life.
It’s easy to want to jump into the questions that, while very important, can make it seem like all you want is a qualified vessel, and not a whole person, to carry your baby. You won’t be the surrogate’s employer, and she won’t be just someone doing work for you. The relationship between IPs and surrogates is far more intimate and nuanced than that. Accept that intimacy and try to make your match meeting about really getting to know each other. Let the health stats take a back seat – your surrogate will be medically and psychologically screened, and any issues will come up then, from a third party professional.
2. Be open about your own situation and reasons for choosing surrogacy.
Your story around wanting and trying to become a parent is so important. It is the reason all the parties have come together. Many surrogates want to be surrogates because they want to help someone who can’t otherwise have a baby. Sharing your story and letting yourself be a little vulnerable with this person who will hopefully join you on your journey to be a parent will go a long way in connecting you to her.
3. Ask the surrogate about her reasons for choosing to be a surrogate.
Not only is it interesting to know she wants to be a surrogate, it’s important to build a relationship where her desires and her sacrifices around surrogacy are acknowledged. You may be surprised at the story she has when she knew the exact moment she wanted to do this for someone else.
4. Don't shy away from the hard questions.
There are some very important questions that should come up in your match meeting; assuming your agency hasn't already asked and answered them. Carrying multiples, selective reduction, termination of a fetus due to complications, invasive procedures like amniocentesis – these are all important to get out on the table. You want to match with someone who has similar views on the process, or at least can comfortably see your own point of view. These are hard questions to ask, and in other circumstances they can seem loaded. In a match meeting, they are just the very real logistics.
5. Talk about degree of involvement.
Understanding how much you want to be involved in the pregnancy, and how much involvement your surrogate would like (and is open to) is key. One of the beautiful things about having a surrogate pregnancy is that the intended parents can be a part of those pregnancy milestones. Be open with your desires on involvement. Many surrogates want as much involvement as the intended parents would like, because it fits into their desire to provide this experience for someone else. But less involvement can work for both parties, too.
6. Enjoy yourselves.
This may seem like a tall order because of all the potentially awkward subjects and possible disagreements. But if you approach the match meeting as a time to meet someone who is passionate about parenthood and babies, you can hopefully relax a bit and just enjoy the next step in your journey to holding your beautiful baby.