When The Relationship With Your IP Isn’t Working

Most women who choose to become surrogates are motivated by altruistic motives and the desire to help someone else grow a family. While they may not realize it at the onset, it is incredibly common to also have some level of expectation that a friendship will develop between the intended parents and the surrogate as the pregnancy progresses.

As the media begins to cover positive surrogacy stories showcasing these deep bonds and lifelong friendships between parents and their surrogate, it is only natural to want this connection for yourself. The first step to attempting this is to be very honest with yourself and your intended parents in the matching phase of your journey. It’s important to spell out the type of relationship you’re hoping for, even if admitting that feels scary or invasive. When it comes to those storybook relationships, the foundation is always honesty.

It’s also wise to understand that, just as with any non-surrogacy relationship in your life- this is a relationship that will develop organically and over time. While all parties can hope for a close friendship on day one, sometimes things just don’t work out that way in the long run. Look at it like this- not every first date results in a marriage or pregnancy, right? But in surrogacy you get exactly one first date, your match meeting, to decide upon a couple with whom you’ll “be married” to and try to have a child with. While most matches won’t end as badly as your worst first date, not all matches result in that fifty-year happy marriage, either.

Should you find yourself in an intended parent/surrogate relationship that doesn’t feel like what you were hoping for, understand that you’re not the first person to wind up in this situation. It happens, and it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. It also doesn’t mean that your intended parents have done anything wrong. Sometimes things just don’t pan out as optimistically as we would have liked them to.  What’s important is to remember what drove you to surrogacy in the first place; the desire to create a family.

If you find yourself feeling alone or stressed out over the development of the relationship, it is important to reach out to your case specialist. This person can offer you some great insight and comfort moving forward. Also, sometimes the roadblock to a preferred relationship can be simple miscommunication, a problem that can be easily resolved by your case specialist.

You can also reach out to Dr. Kim Bergman to share your frustrations. Doing this is not a sign of weakness, and likely will not hurt your chances of a future surrogacy journey. It shows that you’re human, and that you are responsible enough to use the resources that are provided for you.

In the end, no matter what relationship develops between your intended parents and you, understand that they will be forever grateful and thankful for your role in helping to create their family. Some intended parents may not be as adept at showcasing these emotions, but we promise, they are absolutely there.

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.