Finding a surrogate is one of the most important decisions an intended parent or parents will make when building their family. Whoever you choose will be a part of your life for at least a year, so you want to choose wisely.
When going the independent route, it can be difficult to determine how or where to find reliable and compatible candidates to be your gestational surrogate. There are things you should be wary of and know when you are ready to begin your search.
It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of a potential match, but you should be cautious. You don’t want your excitement to blind you to potential red flags. There are people out there with ill intentions who may try to take advantage of the situation. There are also those that truly have good intentions but are not the best fit for you which may cause other issues down the road.
It may be uncomfortable, but you should ask questions that will help you understand who you are considering as a surrogate. You don’t want to get too far in the process only to have problems come up.
Do Your Research on Criteria for Surrogates
Before you begin your search you will need to know the criteria in your state and what you are looking for in a gestational surrogate.
Check out the US Surrogacy Law by State to get familiar with the laws in your area and seek legal representation. You’ll need to have the proper legal advice and documentation during surrogacy.
You’ll also want to look at what should be considered when looking for a surrogate. There are common requirements like age, health history, and previous pregnancy and birth experiences. You should also decide how involved you’d like to be with potential gestational surrogates: will you want more of a personal relationship or keep it professional? These are just some of the things you should determine before you jump into finding a surrogate.
Begin Your Search for an Independent Surrogate
Once you have a good idea of what you’re looking for and you understand the legal requirements, you can start your search! Intended parents have a few different options for finding an independent surrogate mother. The most common are through online communities or by finding a compassionate surrogate within your personal circle of family and friends.
Online Options for Finding a Surrogate
The online world has made it easier for intended parents and hopeful surrogate mothers to connect with one another. You can place classified ads or join surrogacy networking groups on social media to find a potential match.
Please note that you still need to be careful, even if you are using a trusted website or community. You don’t want to give out too much information since you will be doing the screening and vetting yourself. Unlike when you are using an agency, you don’t have the assurance that the person on the other end is really ready to be a surrogate or is doing it for the right reasons.
Friends or Family Members as Surrogates
Another way is to find a compassionate (or altruistic) surrogate. This is usually a friend or family member that is willing to help you build your family. Compassionate surrogacy can be a desirable option for intended parents that are overwhelmed with the prospect of finding and getting to know a complete stranger.
If you have someone in mind that could be a great compassionate surrogate, we have some tips on what to look for and how to pop the big question.
Meet Potential Surrogate Candidates
One of the downsides of independent surrogacy is that it can take a little bit longer to find the ideal match for you. It will probably take meeting a few different potential surrogates to find someone who is the right fit.
Remember that potential surrogates are also choosing you. Be authentic and share your true personality. You need the connection to be mutual for this arrangement to have the best outcome.
We put together a list of 7 tips to make the most out of the first meeting with a potential surrogate mother here so you can be prepared.
Building a family via independent surrogacy is a long yet rewarding process. It will take time to figure out what you are looking for in a gestational surrogate and vet potential candidates. You will need to go over applications, conduct interviews, get background checks and medical screenings out of the way before you can confidently move forward.
Understand that this process can take several months, so don’t be discouraged if you are having trouble finding the right surrogate mother for you. Surrogacy isn’t easy, but it’s worth the wait. We strongly advise seeking the help of a mental health professional to discuss any worries, concerns, or issues that come up during your journey.
The Final Word
Growing your family with the help of an independent surrogate mother can be an extremely gratifying experience for intended parents. You have more control over the relationship than you would using a surrogacy agency. The process is defined by you and your desires.
There are heightened risks involved and the potential for heartbreak if your surrogate changes her mind later on in the journey. If you do your research and cover your bases you can minimize these risks.
Be prepared for every step of your journey into parenthood via surrogacy with our DIY program, Surrogacy Roadmap. Our comprehensive course is filled with tips and tricks to make the most out of your independent surrogacy journey.