How to Find the Perfect Surrogate
When considering gestational surrogacy, you may not know where to begin looking for a surrogate. Fortunately, surrogacy agencies can make this process much easier and less overwhelming. Here’s what to expect as you embark on your journey to finding the perfect surrogate.
How to Find a Surrogate
Finding a surrogate may take some time. You’ll want to do your research and take time to meet with any candidates so that you feel comfortable with your choice in the end. You’ll be going through a long and emotional process with the surrogate you choose, so putting in the time and effort upfront may be well worth it.
Step 1: Research Surrogacy Agencies
There are numerous agencies available to usher intended parents through the surrogacy process. While services vary among agencies, many will provide surrogate matching. Reputable agencies will work with surrogates who are physically and psychologically healthy, likely to conceive, and at low risk for pregnancy complications.
Large agencies are likely to offer a full range of services beyond surrogate matching and coordination. For example, they may offer financial or legal services in-house. Smaller agencies may feel more personal but may not offer all the surrogacy services you need in one place.
To get a sense of whether the agency is right for you, feel free to ask them any questions you may have. We advise taking time to read reviews and talking to other clients about their experiences before choosing a surrogacy agency.
Step 2: Review Surrogate Profiles
Surrogacy agencies will typically ask intended parents to fill out a questionnaire that will help the agency understand who they are and what they’re looking for in surrogacy and in a surrogate. They will use those answers to help match the intended parents with good candidates for them. Some criteria they may use to create a good match includes:
- The home state of both parties, as surrogacy laws vary among states.
- How much involvement and communication both parties desire, both during the pregnancy and after the birth.
- How both parties view issues such as preimplantation genetic testing and embryo selection.
Intended parents may write a letter to potential surrogates explaining their history and their hopes for surrogacy. Just as you will want to feel comfortable with your surrogate, she will need to feel comfortable with you. Letters such as these can help them get to know you better and will help the agency create an ideal match.
Your agency may present you with numerous surrogate profiles for you during the matching process. As you begin reviewing these profiles, keep in mind that you might be a good match with someone who is completely different than you expected. Try to keep an open mind and fully consider a wide range of surrogates. At the same time, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right about a surrogate profile, move on.
If both you and a surrogate have indicated you’re interested in working with one another, you will be identified as a potential match and given a chance to meet.
Step 3: Meet with Surrogates
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, it’s time to meet. This is your chance to decide if you want to move forward with a particular surrogate.
Depending on the agency’s protocols and your wishes, this meeting may be in person or remote via phone or video conference. This meeting can feel incredibly exciting and anxiety-inducing at once. Expect there to be some initial awkwardness as you enter the process of getting to know each other. This should ease as you begin earnest discussions about what you’re looking for in your surrogacy journey.
It may help you break the ice to come prepared with some questions or topics you’d like to discuss, even if it’s just some small talk such as something you know about her hometown. Once the conversation is flowing, you can delve into your expectations for surrogacy and parenthood. This is also your chance to ask any questions you have and answer any the surrogate brings to you.
You should not be forced to make a final decision about a surrogate before meeting with her. If an agency indicates that you should settle on a match before getting a chance to meet, take caution.
Step 4: Choose Your Surrogate and Begin Your Journey
Once you and a surrogate have met and decided you want to work together, you can move forward with the process. This may involve completing and signing legal paperwork, scheduling appointments with the fertility clinic, etc. Surrogacy agencies can often help to coordinate many of these details for you. Be prepared that even if you both want to work together, issues can arise to cause a ‘match break’ – for example, if you can’t agree to terms on a legal contract, or she fails to pass a final medical exam. Stay focused on your end goal of having a baby, as there are often bumps along the journey.
Can I Find a Surrogate without an Agency?
Yes, you can look for a surrogate via social connections, surrogate finder websites, or referrals. Going outside an agency to look for a surrogate may mean lower cost and a more personal experience; however, you may also spend a significantly longer time trying to find a good match. Also consider that agencies provide thorough screening of surrogates, which will be more difficult to do on your own. Even if you find a surrogate on your own, many of the costs such as health insurance, legal contract, and medical costs will add up, meaning this path doesn’t end up saving a tremendous amount of money.
Many reputable agencies offer a discount if you ‘bring your own’ surrogate, so keep in mind you can still get the support of an agency even if you have a friend or family member who is willing to carry for you.
Take the First Step toward Parenthood with Sunfish
Everyone’s journey toward parenthood looks different. At Sunfish, we’re here to help you on your personal path to becoming a parent. As you take your first steps toward surrogacy, you can set up a complimentary consultation with us so we can help answer your questions about how to plan for the process financially.