Connection With Intended Parents

trishaA question surrogates hear frequently includes, “Oh! Do you know them?” with the “them” in question generally referring to the intended parents.

This question, asked from the most innocent of curiosities, can make a surrogate feel a bit defensive. The unspoken assumption can often feel as though you’d receive praise for carrying for a friend or family member, but that perhaps your motives are less than altruistic if you’re carrying a child for someone you didn’t know prior to becoming their surrogate.

While many women will choose to become surrogates after watching a friend or family member struggle with infertility, most surrogates are matched with the help of an agency to people they have never, and likely would never, meet in person if not for the surrogacy arrangement. In fact, many surrogates choose to match through an agency with the goal of finding intended parents who are unknown to them.

Surrogacy is a complex relationship, and many surrogates elect to build a new relationship through the process as opposed to challenging an existing relationship. Other women simply know they want to help, but don’t know anyone in need. There is no shame in using an agency or in having no prior knowledge of your intended parents prior to surrogacy.

A previous familiarity between surrogate and intended parent makes little difference to the bond that may be formed throughout the journey. If you’re asked, “Do you know them?” Perhaps the best answer is, “I do now,” or simply, “Yes.”

Answering personal questions about your journey should always be at your discretion. If you’re open to explaining your reasons for helping someone previously unknown to you, feel free to help educate those around you. However, if this question makes you uncomfortable, know that is it OK to change the subject or move on. Your motive was to create a family; whether it is with someone you knew previously or not shouldn’t matter.

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: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari 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.