So, you’ve decided that surrogacy is the family planning route that’s best for you—what next? Finding your perfect surrogate match is a difficult but extremely rewarding journey. For some, the process is relatively simply and takes as little as few months. For others, finding the right person takes years.
There are a variety of ways to meet a surrogate, and some cost more than others. Some intended parents seek out the help of a surrogacy agency to find a match. Others use word of mouth or even the power of social media. What’s right for you depends on several factors related to your own preferences and requirements.
How to find a surrogate
Using a surrogacy agency
Surrogacy agencies specialize in supporting both intended parents and surrogates through their surrogacy journey, from initial match all the way through to postpartum.
Some agencies operate like a dating service—for a fee, you can see profiles of available surrogates and connect with them through a website or app. The agency may not offer other support beyond introductions.
Other agencies make personalized introductions based on shared values and location. They may also offer resources like travel and fertility-clinic concierge services, support groups for both intended parents and surrogates, transfer gift baskets for your surrogate and connections to fertility therapists, lawyers, or other professionals you may need along the way.
While agencies can be a wonderful resource to tap into, they come often come with a high price tag. Agencies are also an unregulated industry, so take any claims with a grain of salt.
Meeting through personal connections
Many people meet their surrogate through their own personal network. If you’re comfortable opening up about your infertility journey and surrogate search to friends and family, you could find yourself pleasantly surprised by someone you know who has always considered becoming a surrogate. It’s equally as possible that a friend knows someone considering surrogacy and they can connect you. This method has the bonus of intimacy—you may already have a relationship with a potential surrogate and therefore have a better idea of whether you click with that person.
Finding a match on social media
Meeting people online has become a new standard in relationship building—just ask your friends who use dating apps. This trend in online connections extends into the surrogacy world as well.
Many people have had success in meeting a surrogate through Instagram, Facebook and even TikTok. On Facebook, groups exist with the sole purpose of helping people find their match. Intended parents can post short bios with photos and videos highlighting their lives and interested potential surrogates will reach out directly to them. On Instagram and TikTok, people get more creative in sharing what they’re looking for, often using catchy audio and short skits to show off their personalities. Some couples will boost their posts with a small budget to help it reach a larger audience.
How do you determine if you found the right surrogate?
Meeting someone who’s ready to take this step with you is exciting, but it doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily found your person. There are several important factors to consider before agreeing to any match.
- Do you share opinions on termination?
- Do they share your values on health throughout the pregnancy, including diet, vaccination status and physical activity?
- Will your fertility clinic medically clear this individual? (Clinic qualifications for surrogates vary, so you will need to know your clinic’s specific requirements before seeking out a match.)
- If it is legal in your jurisdiction, what are their expectations surrounding compensation?
- What type of relationship do they want to have with you and your family during and after the pregnancy?
These questions are only jumping off points in your matching discussions. Some surrogates and intended parents desire a close relationship with one another, whereas others would prefer to remain at an arm’s length. There is no right or wrong approach, but it is best to be as clear as possible about your own requirements, preferences and goals so that everyone is on the same page.
Remember, trust, respect, shared expectations and good communication are what makes surrogacy journeys possible. You should feel confident in your match before ever signing paperwork or agreeing to move forward in a journey. This protects not only the health and safety of your future baby, but also your own and your surrogate’s mental health throughout and after the pregnancy. This experience should be positive and transformative for everyone involved.