As a surrogate mother, you will commit a significant amount of time and energy to the family you choose to work with — so finding the right intended parents is one of the most important steps you will take during the entire surrogacy process.
If you are a surrogate looking for intended parents, you have two options: You can conduct your own search using personal networking and advertising avenues, or you can work with an agency that offers advertising and matching services. In this article, find the information you need to begin your search for intended parents, either on your own or with an agency.
Finding Intended Parents with an Agency
Surrogacy agencies can provide most or all of the services you need throughout the surrogacy process, including helping you find intended parents who are a good match for your surrogacy plans. These agencies screen prospective intended parents and match them to surrogates based on each party’s preferences and goals.
If you choose to work with an agency to find intended parents, you will work with a surrogacy specialist to build your surrogacy plan and find the perfect intended parents for you.
Building Your Surrogacy Plan
Before you can be matched with intended parents through an agency, you will need to meet that agency’s screening requirements and give them some information about your background, as well as your hopes for your surrogacy experience. This phase of the surrogacy process is often referred to as surrogacy planning.
As you develop your surrogacy plan, you will need to determine your desires for your surrogacy experience and the intended parents you want to work with. What kind of intended parents are you interested in helping? How much contact do you want to share with them during and after your pregnancy? Your agency will help you answer these questions and more as you build your surrogacy plan.
You will also create a surrogate profile that will further explain who you are, any experience you have with surrogacy and your hopes and plans for your surrogacy experience. Your surrogacy specialist will use this profile to help potential matches get to know you better.
During the initial stages of your surrogacy planning, you will also need to complete all of your agency’s screening requirements, which will include background checks, an in-home assessment, psychological and medical evaluations. This process will give you an opportunity to learn more about surrogacy and your own readiness for the surrogacy process, which could help shape your surrogacy plan.
Finding a Match
Once you have completed the preliminary steps with your chosen agency, you will be ready to start reviewing prospective intended parent profiles. Your agency will present you with intended parent profiles based on the criteria you specify in your surrogacy plan.
At this stage in the process, compatible intended parents will also have the opportunity to view your surrogacy profile. When you and an intended parent reciprocate interest in one another, your surrogacy specialist will set up a mediated meeting or conference call to help you get to know each other better. When you are both comfortable moving forward, you will officially be in a match and can begin the process of drafting legal contracts.
Benefits of Finding Intended Parents with an Agency
There are many advantages of working with an agency through the matching process. Here are a few of the top reasons a surrogate may consider working with an agency to find intended parents:
- Surrogacy agencies can help you create your surrogacy plan and profile and help you understand your own goals and priorities in the surrogacy process
- Agencies often provide expert matching services and can help you find intended parents whose criteria and goals match your own
- Agencies screen prospective intended parents to ensure they are safe to work with and ready to commit to surrogacy
- Agencies provide contact mediation services and guidance as you develop a relationship with the intended parents
- The matching process is somewhat predictable when working with an agency; the agency can explain their matching services, the typical process and wait times for prospective surrogates
- In addition to matching services, agencies can coordinate the entire surrogacy process and provide all of the services and support both parties need throughout the process
Challenges of Finding Intended Parents with an Agency
Working with an agency is one of the safest and simplest ways for surrogates to quickly find intended parents they want to work with, but it may not be for everyone. Here are some challenges to consider when working with a surrogacy agency:
- Agencies may have more stringent criteria for prospective surrogates than intended parents who are searching for and screening surrogates on their own
- Surrogates may have access to a larger and more diverse pool of intended parents when searching individually
Finding Intended Parents on Your Own
If you would rather find intended parents on your own, you can pursue an independent surrogacy. In these arrangements, you can find intended parents through your own networking and advertising efforts and work directly with an attorney and fertility clinic to complete the surrogacy.
Building Your Surrogacy Plan
Be aware that if you choose to forego an agency’s services, it will be up to you to determine your goals and preferences for your surrogacy experience. You will need to consider each step of the surrogacy process and develop your own surrogacy plan, then complete the following tasks:
- Find intended parents
- Screen the intended parents and ensure you are a good match
- Find an attorney to represent you throughout the process
- Work with the intended parents to select a fertility clinic
- Coordinate with the fertility clinic to perform the necessary medical procedures
- Find counseling and support
Finding a Match
One of the biggest tasks a surrogate undertakes in independent surrogacy is locating prospective intended parents on her own. If you do not personally know a couple or individual you would like to work with, you may be able to find intended parents through the following:
- Personal connections
- Social networks
- Surrogate finder websites
- Ads placed by the intended parents
- Attorney referrals
Once you find prospective intended parents, it will be up to you to screen them and ensure they have similar plans and goals for surrogacy and that they are safe to work with. The intended parents who reach out to you will likely not have completed background checks, in-home assessments or other agency screening requirements, so it is important to thoroughly evaluate each intended parent who contacts you before beginning the legal and medical processes.
Benefits of Finding Intended Parents without an Agency
While it can be challenging to locate intended parents on your own, there are some surrogate mothers who prefer independent surrogacy arrangements. Here are some reasons to consider finding a match without a surrogacy agency:
- You will have more control over the screening process and requirements for intended parents; intended parents will not need to meet an agency’s requirements or screening process
- You will not be limited only to the intended parents who are working with a single agency
- Your attorney and a fertility specialist may be the only professionals you need to involve in the process
Challenges of Finding Intended Parents without an Agency
Surrogate mothers who choose independent surrogacy often face additional challenges as they search for prospective intended parents. The following are some of the disadvantages of finding intended parents without an agency:
- You will need to determine your own surrogacy goals and plans without the guidance of an expert who has helped other surrogates through the process
- Individual advertising and networking options are often less effective than established agencies’ advertising services. In addition, you will likely be responsible for any advertising costs you incur, which would ordinarily be covered by an agency
- You will be responsible for screening prospective intended parents and independently determine whether their goals match your own, whether they are safe to work with, and whether they can emotionally and financially commit to surrogacy
- You may need to ask prospective parents difficult questions and be willing to communicate and negotiate with them directly, which can be uncomfortable and strain your relationship
- It may take longer to find a compatible match when working independently, and the matching process will likely be less predictable for independent surrogates
- In addition to coordinating your advertising, screening and matching efforts, you will need to independently coordinate all steps and events of the surrogacy process
Questions to Ask Prospective Intended Parents
If you choose to work with an agency through the matching process, your surrogacy specialist will provide you with detailed background information about pre-screened prospective intended parents. They will also mediate your early conversations with the intended parents and help you gather the information you need to decide whether the proposed surrogacy opportunity is a good fit for you.
However, if you are searching for intended parents individually, you will likely need to gather this information yourself. While it may be uncomfortable at times, you will need to consider the following necessary questions as you screen intended parents on your own:
- What are your interests? What kinds of things do you like to do?
- What are your values? What is important to you?
- What is your family like?
- What made you decide to pursue surrogacy?
- How long have you been considering surrogacy?
- How committed are you to pursuing surrogacy?
- When are you hoping to get started with the process?
- What kind of relationship would you like to have with me before, during and after the baby’s birth?
- How many embryo transfers will you attempt to conceive a child? How many embryos do you want to transfer at a time?
- Are you using your own eggs/sperm or a donor’s?
- Are you willing to get to know my partner and children throughout this process?
- What do you plan to tell your children about surrogacy when they are older? What do you plan to tell them about me?
- Does your family know about your surrogacy plans? Are they supportive?
- What will you ask of me during the pregnancy?
- How do you plan to be involved in this journey?
- What are your thoughts on pregnancy termination and selective reduction?
To learn more about finding intended parents or to start your own search, complete our form to request free information and be connected with a surrogacy professional.