1. Lawyer up
Of all the elements at play in surrogacy, nothing can make or break a journey like the legal aspect. Even intended parents who are over-the-moon with their new extended family, can become grumpy on the flip of a dime if legal woes arise. Being delayed in a foreign country can deplete financial reserves, jeopardize job security and understandably stress even the happiest new parent. Agencies with in-house legal departments, no matter how helpful, can’t be completely up-to-speed in all laws worldwide – they are normally only fluid in the law of the land where birth is taking place. Make sure you understand where your country stands in regards to gamete donation, embryo export, your marital status and gender in regards to parentage, gestational and traditional surrogacy as well as any immigration laws which apply to the passport your baby will be receiving to return home. Google can only take you so far; a meeting with a family solicitor in your capital city, before you confirm with your agency, is the way to go.
2. Look deep inside
No-one can better advise you on the best surrogacy option for you than you, yourself, and yours. In order to determine the best fit some self-examination is in order. Intended parents often reach us in a state of desperation, fatigue or are completely frazzled by the overload of information they’ve been absorbing online. Take a time-out. Do some soul-searching.
Ask friends and family to mirror back to you how they see your personality from the outside.
Examine your history and how you have handled previous situations:
• How have you responded in instances where you experienced a
loss of control?
• How have you felt in unfamiliar environments?
• Has your trust been challenged in the past and is this
something you currently struggle with?
• How resourceful and independent are you or do you better
respond to the safety of being guided? What’s your support
network like? Are you on your own or in a partnership?
• Do you have a demanding job? What kind of schedule do you
keep and do you have the time it takes to orchestrate a private
Don’t be afraid to go dark. Nothing diminishes fear better than exploring your worries in-depth beforehand. Think about the worst-case scenarios holding you back and every “What If” you can think of; visualize how you would react and the steps you would take in each scenario. If you do this in advance you will feel less anxious taking the leap
3.Manage your moola
Unfortunately, certain family-building solutions are still quite expensive and commercial surrogacy is one of the most costly.
Having a clear idea of your financial picture from the get-go will make for a more relaxed journey as you may have to deal with unexpected events.
Joint personal loans and saving plans are the most common source of funding but certain financial lenders now include fertility processes and more and more companies are including fertility
allowances, and specifically surrogacy, in their employee benefit packages. Parental leave is also becoming much more accessible for intended parents globally and something you can discuss with
your HR department.
Your financial portfolio may be better suited to attempt-byattempt or all-inclusive surrogacy options. Ask your prospective agency the advantages of each and what kind of payment the schedule they can provide.
Potential additional costs for you to consider:
• Multiple births
• Legal fees for your native country and the country of delivery
• Genetic testing options
• Travel and accommodation
• Health insurance
Intended parents reach our doors battle-weary. They’ve either been told they can’t have the family they are hoping for or they shouldn’t. Or maybe they are single or missing a key player in the equation.
In many cases there is a blazing trail of disappointment in their wake and oftentimes years of failed medical intervention as well. Proceeding with surrogacy requires trust, hope and mental and emotional energy, as does staying grounded throughout all the various phases of IVF, pregnancy, birth and then new parenthood. Taking initiative to heal your wounds, whether it be through therapy or self-care, can be beneficial so you are equipped to handle the path curves that a surrogacy journey entails.
5.Don’t unplug (from your surrogate partner
We know you need your space and you definitely deserve to go off-the-grid from time to time. But at certain moments, we really need to hear from you. There is nothing more disquieting for an agency or surrogate partner than when intended parents fail to communicate.
If you plan to be unreachable for a certain period please let your agency know ahead of time?
6.Make friends (but be mindful of who you tell)
Have you ever noticed whenever you really throw yourself into something new, like-minded people start popping up everywhere?
Surrogacy is no exception and be prepared to start noticing the expanding community of IVF and surrogacy all around you. Make the most of support groups (if this is your thing), there are all
kinds of associations and resources online if you are wanting to exchange stories and learn.
As blossoming as surrogacy may be, there are still some who are less enthusiastic than we are. This is your family, your journey and you deserve it to be as positive and life-affirming as possible.
Maybe you’re not be a people-pleaser and feel indifferent to external opinions but if you are more on the sensitive side, consider keeping your journey private or restricted to a select inner circle. As wonder-filled as your journey will be, there can also be periods of stress and frustration so be wary of negativity
stealing your joy.
7.Make the initial trip
Nothing can compare to meeting an agency team face-to-face. Having a first-hand peek at the agency’s office, a personal chat with your potential team-members and a private clinic tour is a sure bet to feeling confident that you’ve made a good choice. Most importantly, you can revisit this trip in your mind’s eye at later stages of your journey when you are at a distance. Being able to visualize where processes are taking place will help in feeling and staying connected in the future. While you’re there, familiarize yourself with the country where your baby will be born. Get to know the local food and customs, source potential accommodation and transportation options. If not so as to make life easier when you are there for birth then to add better detail to your child’s birth-story one day!
8.Don’t be afraid of hope
“Hope” is essential in your surrogacy journey, if you have been too often let down in the past, to freely let hope rise again it’s your agency’s job to help. To hold onto your hope until you’re a little bit stronger, to calm any doubts and provide solutions. Your agency’s promise should be hope’s safe return on your baby’s birthday, except it will look a little different by then and have a new name: “Blessed”.