If you’re moving forward with third-party reproduction, via surrogacy, your next task is to find the right surrogate for you. Unless you are going to be working with a surrogate you know (family member or friend) we recommend working with an agency.
A good surrogate agency will do much of the legwork for you when it comes to the nitty-gritty things, like criminal background checks and medical history (including prior pregnancy and labor history). You should also have information about things like whether they’re married, do they have health insurance coverage (does it cover surrogacy?), how many children they have now and their ages, and so on.
Therefore, we’re going to skip those questions in this post and move onto the second-tier questions that can help you choose the just-right surrogate for your family. If you’re vetting a surrogate on your own– DO check into those topics on your own because they matter.
6 Important Questions to Ask a Potential Surrogate
It’s important to ask to get to know potential surrogates better, and to have a better sense of which one is the best choice for your pregnancy and birth plan.
They dive deeper into the middle-ground: it’s your baby, and you know the pregnancy and birth experience you would choose, but it’s someone else’s body and you can’t make them do anything they don’t feel comfortable doing – like take that daily supplement your friend swears by, or getting the flu shot….
What made you decide to become a surrogate?
Ultimately, the vast majority of surrogates enjoy pregnancy, the miracle of giving birth to a baby, and they love their children to pieces. Therefore, they feel a call to help others. Around that theme, there are a range of ways that surrogates found their calling, and hearing her story is a great way to get to know her better.
Can we meet your husband/partner?
If they are in a live-in or committed relationship, you may want to meet their partner just to have a sense of who he is and to verify that he is on board and supportive. If you get the sense he’s not, that’s good information to have because that could make for a stressful pregnancy for the surrogate – and your baby.
How do you envision communication before, during and after the pregnancy/labor?
If they differ from your expectations, share what you would like to experience. Then the three of you can discuss the communication plan in more detail to see if you can agree on common ground. Extend this question into actual labor/delivery; would she be willing to have you in the room? If not, is she willing to have you called in immediately before the delivery – even if she prefers that you stand at her head? If skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth is important to you – you’ll need to find a surrogate who agrees with that.
Are you open to….?
Before you meet with potential surrogates, create a pseudo plan for what you would do if you were pregnant. Are their supplements you’d want to take? Are there medical protocols you’d want to follow – or not follow? What foods would you never eat? Or things you’d only eat? Do you insist the surrogate have an amniocentesis or other pre-natal tests? Can I/we be present at your pre-natal appointments? These are worth discussing with the surrogate to see if she’s on board. If you insist on an all-organic diet, or have specific supplements you want her to take – be prepared to provide extra funds for those items.
What is your work and/or childcare schedule?
Again, if the surrogate has children, there will probably be additional fees for childcare built in to your contract for her scheduled appointments, potential bed rest, labor/delivery and the immediate post-partum period.
Are you willing to pump?
There’s no doubt that the post-labor colostrum and breast milk are the best food for your baby. If you would have breastfed your baby and that is important to you, discuss the surrogate’s willingness to pump immediately after birth and for whatever period you agree on after the baby is born. Again, there is compensation expected for the time and effort pumping requires.
Some of these questions are more comfortable to ask than others. You are embarking on a unique journey with another person, so it’s better to get that uncomfortable stuff out of the way now. That way you aren’t trying to deal with all after the pregnancy is confirmed – when differing opinions or plans are more challenging to cope with.
Would you like to learn more about your surrogate options? Reach out to us here at NCFMC and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.