I’ve had a lot of questions recently about how you choose a set of parents to work with once you decide you want to be a surrogate. What I’ve learned is that it’s okay to have doubts and second guess yourself as long as you have a good source of support in your coordinator, agency, and family!

Fortunately for me, my family supported me in the very tough decision I had to make recently when I chose not to move forward with a couple who wanted to work with me as their surrogate. What I’ve learned so far through this process is how very different it is from being an egg donor. When you’re selected as an egg donor for a set of intended parents, it’s very flattering because you’re donating genetic material! That’s incredible when you think of it…and so very humbling! There are literally thousands of young women who apply and are accepted into egg donor programs across the country and they chose YOU!

Because the number of surrogates is limited compared to the high demand for them, the tables are turned. Once you’re chosen as a surrogate, you get to review profiles of intended parents and you decide who you feel comfortable working with and you’ll move forward from there into what will hopefully become a beautiful relationship of trust and mutual respect!

In my first blog entry I spoke about how I came to choose My Donor Connection as the agency I wanted to work with to become a surrogate. The first agency that I contacted about being a surrogate, which wasn’t MDC explained that I needed to complete an application, submit several pictures, obtain medical records, speak with their coordinator, etc. etc. all before my online profile would be made active for intended parents to review. This is pretty standard practice across the board.

Imagine my surprise when I was contacted about reviewing profiles almost immediately after speaking with a coordinator! I hadn’t even submitted pictures, obtained my medical records, or put together a YouTube video about myself for intended parents to review and here I was being rushed ahead in the process!

I then reviewed the profile of an international family sent to me via email. Sadly, I didn’t feel this overwhelming warm and fuzzy feeling that I expected to feel! For respect for their privacy, I won’t go into specifics, but I don’t know…it just wasn’t what I expected. We Skyped with the coordinator and a translator and I felt a little better about moving forward though.

Red flag #1…being pressured to confirm the match. My husband works second shift so we really only see each other on the weekends. I wanted to speak with him to make sure he didn’t have any questions. I was given 24 hours to confirm…after mentioning it to my husband, I finally had to just say yes and hope he was okay with my decision! Not at all what I expected feeling when I confirmed the match. When I was an egg donor, I would start the conversation with, “Well…I’ve been chosen by a couple that lives in (insert awesome city) and they want me to donate in three months. I said yes, so just make sure you can get off work for a week.” Being a surrogate is obviously much more than just saying, “Oh yeah…remember when I said I wanted to be a surrogate?”

Red flag #2…the interesting dynamics of the international couple and due to their employment situations, their desire for how the birth certificate to read. That’s all I need to say.

Red flag #3 and unfortunately, the straw that broke the camel’s back…finalizing legal contracts and having your attorney pause and insert their concern for the aforementioned birth certificate dilemma. When an attorney starts commenting about her concern about the way the contract reads and you potentially being named as the mother but then following that up with, “but that’s okay because it wouldn’t take a lot of work to terminate parental rights.”

Um…what?!?! I have an employment background with Children’s Protective Services so the term, “termination of parental rights” does not sit well with me. When I ended the phone call with my attorney, she could not guarantee that I wouldn’t be named the mother of this child on a birth certificate prior to birth and I was not comfortable with that! Understand that the vast, vast majority of the time, parentage and birth certificate situations are completely resolved prior to the child being born so this was not a normal situation.

After that phone call, I spoke to my husband and my mom and they both confirmed I wasn’t being unreasonable. At that point, I felt like I couldn’t move forward, unfortunately. I placed a very uncomfortable phone call to my coordinator to share my decision with her. I do have to say, for receiving bad news, she was very gracious and understanding and encouraged me to contact their agency if I decided to move forward in the future. This wasn’t a decision I took lightly and I initially felt really guilty about it. But, I also knew in my heart that I needed to address these red flags before signing legal contracts, before starting medications, and before a pregnancy occurred!

I’ve decided to move forward, obviously…but decided to work with MDC because I trust Krystal and know the absolute care that she puts into each egg donor and surrogate match! I know that when I match with my next set of intended parents, I’ll get that warm and fuzzy feeling I was hoping for the first time. I’ve decided to work with a domestic couple to allow for a relationship to build, if possible. I’d like to know that the intended parents can speak directly with me without the need for a translator and if they choose to remain in contact with me after the child is born, they can.

That being said, I’m in the process of being officially cleared to be a surrogate with MDC…the way you should be cleared—after medical records are obtained, after you’ve been interviewed, after a psychological clearance, after verifying insurance, etc. etc. I hope to update the blog next with sharing my exciting news of being matched with a lovely domestic couple…and gushing about the warm and fuzzy feelings! 🙂