How Matching Works
What Criteria Is Used To Match Surrogates?
Matching with intended parents is a big milestone in the surrogacy journey, and we want to make sure you are as ready as possible for when that time comes. Surrogates and intended parents are matched based on certain criteria, but a great personality fit is also considered.
To help you prepare for this exciting time, here are some of the criteria and questions you'll need to consider and answer (remember: be honest!). The good news is, this part of the journey asks questions about a topic you're already an expert in: you!
The state you live in
How far you’re willing to travel
Whether you mind if intended parents live internationally or in the US
Where you live can play a part in the intended parents you are legally able to match with. The intended parents' state or country (and sometimes their marital status) may play a role in your potential match. We’ll also take into consideration how far you are willing to travel to the intended parents’ IVF clinic (all clinics will be in the U.S., even if the intended parents live internationally). Matching considerations include:
Part of finding the right match is finding someone who you just “click” with personality-wise. That, paired with your preferences on the kind of parents you want to support. There’s no wrong answer, just individual preferences.
Agencies will ask if surrogates have a preference for intended parents who:
Already have children
Identify as LGBTQIA+
Have specific stands on early termination or emergency termination
Ideal IP Relationship Preferences
Your application process is focused on putting into words what your dream surrogacy experience and IP relationship would look like.
Agencies will ask if you have a preference on:
Above all, agencies aim to match you with like-minded intended parents who share the same passion and dedication to building their families. You’re doing something amazing, and the right-for-you intended parents will celebrate you, your effort, and the care you put towards safeguarding their baby.
Surrogacy.com will discuss all of these preferences and your requirements ahead of time, so we can make sure we match you to a like-minded agency who has intended parents that meet your preferences.
What your hopes are in your surrogacy journey
How often do you want to connect with intended parents
Whether you want to stay in touch with intended parents after delivery
What Intended Parents Consider When Choosing A Surrogate
You know how we’ll be asking you what you’re looking for in an intended parent match? Intended parents are answering the same questions as well! Surrogacy agencies will get to know intended parents' preferences, desires, or what helps them click with other people so that it’s easier to match them with the right surrogate.
Along the surrogacy application and matching journey, we’re committed to digging a little deeper to get to the good stuff to find an appropriate match. So, while intended parents want a surrogate who is mindful of her health and has had uncomplicated pregnancies, they have other considerations as well.
To better understand how you might match with intended parents, here’s a deep dive into the six things intended parents may think about when choosing a surrogate.
So while agencies need to ask personal and specific questions, remember — it’s not just their curiosity getting the best of them. Each question is designed to bring you closer to exactly what you want — a happy and fulfilling surrogacy journey!
Your Support System
Being a surrogate is a big commitment, and intended parents want to be sure their surrogate is surrounded by family and friends who will be her little cheerleading squad and be there when she needs someone most (“I’ll watch the kids today” – those magical words!)
Your Lifestyle Choices
Think about your day-to-day life. Do you have any hobbies? What do you like to do on the weekends? Have you seen Taylor Swift in concert (just kidding…sort of!)? Be prepared to share all those little nuggets to help them see if you will mesh.
Your Reasons For Choosing Surrogacy
Just as you want to hear what brought the intended parents to surrogacy to build their family, they want to hear what made YOU choose to help someone. We encourage you to be open and honest about your story. There’s no such thing as TMI; your story makes you amazing!
For this one, you’ll need to have agreed to at least meet via video call to explore the possibility of a match. But the energy and vibe of that call can seal the deal for intended parents. Ultimately, like when establishing any relationship, intended parents want to ensure you are a personality match. This will be a long journey together; everyone wants the best time possible along the way, and matching with the right people can make that journey so much more rewarding.
Plus, both intended parents and surrogates will tell you they just KNEW it was the right match – it’s a feeling you’ll get!
Your Personal Preferences
You may have outstanding questions you want answered from intended parents, and so will they. It’s really nice to be able to talk openly and without judgment about things like religious preferences, sexual orientation preferences, intended parents who live in the U.S. versus international intended parents, or even if you’re opposed to or in favor of the COVID vaccine. At the top of the list is also being honest about your views on termination should you be faced with making that decision or should you or baby’s health be at risk. We know these aren’t easy conversations to have, but we encourage you to be as honest as possible; your honesty will help ensure you’re paired with your right match!
Your Hopes For Communication
This is something we will speak with you about to see what type of relationship you’re looking for with your intended parents throughout your journey. This is also something parents are interested in learning more about to help them get a feel for what a journey with you could be like. When you have that first video meeting, this is a great topic to chat about: the type of communicator you are (Phone call? Text? DMs?) and your thoughts on parent involvement during the surrogacy.
5 Questions to Consider When Choosing Intended Parents
You are doing the thing! You’re stepping into the next chapter of your surrogacy process and deciding on the family you will connect with and support. It’s such a personal decision. It’s also guided by many factors we can never quantify — the feeling you get when reading an intended parents’ story or how you can see yourself helping that specific individual or couple.
We thought it would be helpful to share some questions experienced surrogates have asked themselves – us included! – when they are preparing to match. Think of this as a matching checklist for beginners.
As you learn more about potential intended parents’ — from their position on termination to their personalities — you get to decide what’s important to you as a surrogate when you envision your parent match. You have a lot of say in setting the tone for your surrogacy journey, starting with choosing the right-for-you intended parents.
You may know the answer to this question instantly, but it’s okay if it takes a little time to unpack. You’ll know when you know. (Trust your gut!)
While the first question is rooted in your intuition, this one is more tactical. Surrogacy brings up big questions that are best considered before you actually need to answer them. For instance, what you would want to do if your health is at risk during the pregnancy or how okay you are with an intended parents’ decision to terminate a pregnancy if extreme circumstances presented themselves. These can be hard questions to think about, but they’re important. If you need any guidance on how to put these questions into perspective, we’re here to help.
To start here’s a look at how some of these questions may be phrased:
Are you comfortable terminating the pregnancy if your life is in danger?
What are your views surrounding termination for catastrophic defects?
What are your views surrounding termination for abnormalities where quality of life will be unknown until after birth (example: down syndrome or similar conditions)?
What are your views on selective reduction? (Added context, if multiple embryos are transferred, and one were to split into twins and the other also stuck (we’re talking triplets now), selective reduction will be discussed and if you're willing to terminate in this rare, but possible scenario)
There’s a reason there’s one surrogate per set of intended parents during a specific surrogacy cycle; not everyone is a match with everyone. Don’t hold back from being honest about who is a better match for you. Passing on intended parents, for whatever reason, simply gets them one step closer to finding the right surrogate for them.
We’ve had surrogates share how excited they were to be able to travel to their intended parents' IVF clinic state, and others who preferred to stay a little closer to home. The surrogacy journey is meant to be fulfilling and exciting for you, even on the hardest days. It starts with aligning on these basics.
In a perfect world, surrogacy takes about a year and a half from start to finish, but as we all know, life also does happen. You want to choose intended parents you’d like to hang out with outside of surrogacy.
5 Ways To Build A Relationship With Intended Parents
Being a surrogate means inviting a new set of people into your life. Many surrogates who reflect on their experiences with their intended parents look at those relationships as some of their healthiest and most fulfilling. And like any relationship, both parties give and take.
For instance, Kristin, an intended parent, shares an interaction she had with her surrogate:
Every surrogate/intended parent relationship is different, and you and your intended parents will decide together what yours will look like. We know from experience that some relationships develop quickly while others take a more slow and steady approach. Our best advice is to always be honest and upfront about your emotions and feelings so your relationship can be built on trust.
Below we spill the tea on how you can build a healthy relationship with your intended parents.
No matter how your relationship with your intended parents unfolds, remember that what you’re doing is amazing. You are all trying your best to make this the most comfortable and joyful experience. Now it’s just about managing relationship dynamics and growing a baby!
“Around the 12-week mark, I asked our surrogate if she would start texting us weekly bump photos so we could see how our baby was growing. She quickly agreed, saying that she'd be happy to share the pregnancy in any way she could.”
Be Open & Honest
The best thing you can do to have the best relationship with your intended parents is to be as open and honest as you can. Healthy relationships are built on trust. You can have an amazing relationship with your intended parents that lasts just the length of your journey, or one that continues years beyond the birth of their baby. No matter the length, the relationship will be special because you’re building it together.
Aim For Face-To-Face Time & FaceTime
Think of all the times you’ve sat across from your best friends to have a cup of coffee or a good meal. You want to make those moments happen between you and intended parents when possible, even if they are virtual moments. Your first opportunity to do so in person will traditionally be whenever you visit their IVF clinic for the embryo transfer. If you’re able, find time to spend time with your intended parents outside of the clinic. Other opportunities for interaction include having IPs join appointments via FaceTime, and a possible in-person meet-up for the 20-week anatomy scan. And – of course – the biggest get together of all: delivery day!
Share What Makes You & Your Life Special
The more you’re able to share with your intended parents, the better they will get to know you and your family. Having your kids be part of your calls with them will show intended parents your “mothering” side. Showing them around where you live if they come visit will give them a glimpse into what you love about your hometown. Open up about things outside of pregnancy and surrogacy: what your family does together for fun, stories about your extended family and anecdotes about what makes you, YOU!
At the end of the day, as a surrogate, you are experiencing a pregnancy that your intended parents may wish they could be experiencing personally. You’re giving them such a gift. Their excitement for this finally happening may make them overzealous to connect or may make them feel more protective of their hearts from past losses. Practicing empathy will help you hold their experience and put yourself in their shoes, which may help you navigate how to manage the relationship best.
Include Them In The Surrogacy Journey
Texting and FaceTime make keeping up relationships so much easier! Once you determine your comfort level with connecting with your intended parents, text them pics, jump on FaceTime calls when you’re shopping for maternity clothes, or find other ways technology can make it easier for you to keep up your relationship.
Surrogate & Intended Parents Roles & Responsibilities
Setting clear expectations makes any relationship happier and more fulfilling. Your relationship with your intended parents is no different.
Between Surrogacy.com and your surrogacy agency, we’ll work to ensure that both a surrogate and intended parents’ roles and responsibilities are clearly outlined and that everyone knows what they will be held accountable for.
But before we even get to that, let’s look at each party’s responsibilities breakdown!
What Am I Responsible For As A Surrogate?
Your top priority as a surrogate is to have a healthy and happy pregnancy! You’re doing an amazing act of kindness by helping intended parents grow their family, and all the energy and time you put towards your pregnancy moves the needle (sometimes actual IVF needles) in the right direction.
Here’s a checklist of what you’re responsible for as a surrogate:
You are open and transparent with our Surrogacy.com team about your dream surrogacy journey and intended parents. This helps ensure we can match you with the right agency!
You are open to communicating with intended parents, your agency, and surrogacy.com. There’s no such thing as TMI – be ready to share
You are accountable and willing to follow medical advice and medication protocol required to accept embryo transfer. You’ll be responsible for timely adherence to a medications calendar, attending appointments and communicating with the clinic
You commit to showing up on time and staying consistent throughout your surrogacy journey
Last but definitely not least — you stay healthy and happy as can be!
What Are Intended Parents Responsible For?
Intended parents have done much leg work before meeting their surrogate. For instance, they’ve kickstarted the embryo creation process and matched with their agency (your new agency!).
Here’s a checklist of what intended parents are responsible for during the surrogacy journey:
They are financially responsible for any incurred expenses throughout your surrogacy journey. At the beginning of the journey, they will fund an escrow account (a third-party bank account), which will cover all costs
They will support you and share in all the milestones you hit during your journey! They are Team Baby all the way
They are as accountable as you are for being transparent and open communicators to help ensure as smooth a journey as possible
They are encouraged to try to meet you IRL at least once during your journey, and spend time with you and sometimes even your family
They are held accountable for trusting your judgment and instinct when it comes to your pregnancy. This isn’t your first time being pregnant; they’ll know this from the start!
A surrogacy journey is about dividing and conquering where possible so that the stress is minimized and there is a lot of room for excitement and joy. Along with your surrogacy agency, we will help keep you on track and help liaison with intended parents so that everyone is on the same page!
Who Are The Intended Parents That Surrogates Help?
Throughout the surrogacy process, we talk a lot about the surrogate (you!) and baby, but the other essential party involved in this journey are the intended parents.
What Happens During A Surrogate Pregnancy?
One of the best ways to describe surrogacy pregnancy is like a long-term babysitting agreement. A surrogate loves and cares for the baby, but ultimately she (and everyone around her) knows it isn’t her baby.
What Happens After A Surrogate Gives Birth?
No one’s surrogacy fourth trimester is the same, but the one common thread we’ve always heard from past surrogates is just how fulfilled they feel as they reflect upon the past few months of their life!