By: Amanda Kinnard-Fuchsgruber
I am not an expert in relationships, but I have been a gestational carrier. Relationships are work and all of them have their ups and downs. Intended parents (IPs) and gestational carriers (GCs) have a special relationship: they are creating a life together and this process involves many more ins and outs and a bond like no other.
It is important to establish a good relationship as this journey is quick, yet can feel long. This relationship requires a great amount of trust. Knowing your surrogate, asking her questions, and communicating often will help to build that trust. Know what she likes, her preferences, joys, frustrations, and just what’s going on in her life. She has given a lot to go on this journey and showing her that you care about her, and not just the baby she is nurturing for you, is important. This will also help you know her in order to trust her with the decisions she has to make, even when you are not around.
Use an Agency
This is a must in my book, especially having seen what can happen when there is no one helping the IPs and GCs do everything that needs to get done. An agency can be the 3rd party middle man, seeing both sides of the situation. An agency can help with all the appointments, processes, and to just be a listening ear. Most importantly they handle anything related to the discussion of money. Money is a huge stressor to begin with and adding all of the ins and outs of surrogacy, it becomes an even bigger stressor. Letting the agency handle those discussions and being the go-between can save a lot of heartache and resentment on both sides. If for some reason you have to do an independent match, both the IPs and the GC (and her spouse) need a lawyer, preferably a lawyer who can set up an escrow account for you.
Many times coming to the decision of using a surrogate has come from great turmoil and loss. No one should have to experience that. There will be tough times that will bring up hurt feelings, or emotions that you thought you had already dealt with. Many times the GC’s journey has been very different. She may not understand your journey completely but she does want to help make a positive end to that long and treacherous road. Be mindful in those hard moments that you don’t point those hard moments her way.
Everyone Wants the Same Thing
I know we have all heard the horror stories, but let’s put that aside. Almost ALL of the women who are surrogates are doing this for the same goal as the IPs: to create a baby or two and build a family. A beautiful, healthy, bouncing baby is everyone’s truest goal. Trusting that knowledge can take a lot of faith and a little bit of letting go.
As the intended parents, this is a stressful journey, financially, physically, and emotionally. It can also be stressful for the carrier in a different way, with appointments, medications, time, money, and still having to live her life while caring for somebody else’s baby. There is always that voice reminding her about the intended parents, “What would they do?”, or “What would they want?” In those moments of stress be kind: be kind to yourself in your mind and words, while also being kind to your surrogate, trusting that she also wants the best for all of you.
In any relationship there are bumps in the road. Staying positive is not always easy, however, negativity only leads to anger and resentment. Staying positive can only help in building the relationship, as well as the health and wellness of your surrogate and the baby she is growing inside. Being honest, yet kind and respectful is important. You are working together to create this life.
Yes, the surrogate is being compensated, but that doesn’t mean her life stops or that there are not sacrifices she or her family have to make. Keep your communication and kindness high, and you’ll soon be looking back on the sometimes very challenging journey of surrogacy with a full heart.