Advice for Surrogates, From Surrogates

Choosing to become a surrogate can seem overwhelming and at times a bit lonely. While surrogates are not as rare as you might think, it is true that you’re unlikely to ever meet another surrogate in your everyday life without seeking out the shared connection. Growing Generations’ surrogates share a deep bond. Many of them meet through a private Facebook group where they can offer support and share their experiences with one another. We recently asked this group of ladies, “What advice would you give to a new surrogate?” Here is a compilation of the wisdom they’d share with a brand new “surro-sister.”

Use your Support System. Surrogates expressed this one simple bit of advice over and over. In fact, it was the most common reply we saw. Growing Generations prides ourselves on offering total support for the surrogate throughout her entire process, including your postpartum recovery. Your Case Specialist and Dr. Kim Bergman are experts in this field and want to help you. Many of our surrogates even reach out to talk about life issues that may not even be directly linked to thier journey. From the monthly Surro-Support phone conferences & internet surveys, to direct phone time with your Growing Generations support network, never be afraid to reach out and ask for support. It’s a benefit we provide during your journey, and your team is always more than happy to help you.

Seek community. Apart from our network of professionals, you can also seek out support from a community of other surrogates. Surrogacy is a special journey that not many have experienced. Many of your closest friends, despite their best intentions, do not understand what you are going through the way that another surrogate would. In addition to our monthly “Surro-Support” phone conferences, you can seek out other surrogates through social media. There are a variety of groups available where you can bond with like-minded women who share your experiences and understand what you’re going through.

Don’t be scared to speak up. It is important that surrogates act, in part, as their own advocates. Because women who choose surrogacy often have a desire to please others, we often find that they don’t speak up when something is amiss or bothering them. However, problems often fester if they are not addressed directly. If something doesn’t feel right, speak up. Asking questions is a great way to take control of your journey and make it a special experience you’ll look back upon fondly for years to come.

Prepare to take time off of work! It’s true. Becoming a surrogate does assume that you’ll be missing a bit of work as part of the process. Generally you will be required to miss work for the screening process, the match meeting (if meeting in person), the transfer, and the birth. Of course you may miss more hours at work for doctor appointments and other necessities relating to pregnancy as well.

Have patience! We ask all of our surrogates to remember that while a pregnancy lasts nine months, a complete surrogacy journey is more like a 12-18 month commitment- sometimes even longer than that. Setbacks, holdups, delays, and miscommunication can happen. Successful surrogates are ones who realize that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and are able to be patient with the process and enjoy the ride.

Follow your heart, especially when it comes to profiles. Surrogacy is an incredible journey that you’re likely to do just once, or at most, only a handful of times. It is so important to listen to your heart and your gut when choosing the intended parents that you will help. This advice also holds true as you think about your preferences for communication, relationship building, and the birth experience.

The best is yet to come. We’re talking specifically about the look on the parents’ faces when their baby arrives. Surrogacy can be uncomfortable, inconvenient, and at times pretty stressful. But at the end of the day, nearly every single one of our surrogates tell us that it is an overwhelmingly positive, life affirming process. In other words, it’s totally worth it.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: An Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Red Wheel Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.