How to Leverage Your Agency as a Gestational Carrier
By Suzie White
The surrogacy journey is a truly unique experience. As a previous surrogate myself, I can honestly say that the joy of handing a sweet cooing baby to their brand new, excited, over the moon parent(s) is second only to giving birth to my own children. Having a part in creating families is incredible, but it is not without it’s challenges.
As in any relationship, there are a lot of great times, and there can also be difficulties. The relationship between surrogate and intended parent(s) is very special and because this partnership is so important, having an agency to help navigate any rough patches is definitely a plus.
Issues may come up during the pregnancy, and it’s a load off when you can ask your match manager or case manager for assistance. This allows you to focus on the important part of this journey: the life growing inside you!
Your agency can help in many different ways. They can provide resources such as contacts for birth doulas, acupuncture and chiropractors, childbirth classes, and milk donation information. If you have questions or concerns, you can contact the agency, and don’t have to go searching for information on your own. You can reach out to your agency if you’re having communication issues with the intended parents, as allowing them to handle such differences eases the tension and allows your relationship to stay positive.
There are certain times during the process when your agency is invaluable in acting as intermediary. One is when the contract is being negotiated. There are lawyers and lengthy contracts involved, which for some can be intimidating. Your agency can help answer questions about what to expect and what kinds of things you should be asking your attorney. Also, during this time, you’ll be discussing the delicate issue of money. Talking about money tends to make people uncomfortable, but surrogacy agencies are experienced in this area as well, and can help prepare you for that discussion.
Agencies can also help intervene when the intended parents (or the surrogate) are asking for something to be done (outside of the contract, like a food requirement!). It’s understandable that the intended parents would want what’s best for their baby, and sometimes that can turn into requests of the surrogate that are not warranted or necessary. Instead of putting stress on the relationship between the gestational carrier and intended parent(s), you can discuss this with your case manager, and they can intervene. They have experience in such situations and know what’s an appropriate expectation of the gestational carrier and what’s not.
While it’s always an option to match independently, and it’s less expensive for the intended parents, an agency can help with all of the little details that come up that you may not have the knowledge (yet!) to answer. An agency protects all parties involved, but also gives you, as the surrogate, someone to help guide you through the process and someone to reach out to when there are bumps in the road.