Why Do Intended Parents Request Rematches?

Finding and accepting your intended parents (or parent) is such an emotional high in your journey. Putting a name and face to the people you will directly help makes your journey more real. Simply stated, it’s incredibly exciting.

As the days turn into weeks and months, chances are you will begin to develop a relationship with your intended parents. You may even begin to see them as friends. Despite this relationship and potential friendship, sometimes a match needs to be broken. When intended parents request to dissolve a match, it’s common for the surrogate to feel hurt or confused. She often blames herself for having done something wrong, though surrogate fault is rarely the reality of the situation.  Here’s a candid look at why, from time to time, an intended parent may request that the match with their surrogate be broken.

Medical Reasons

Perhaps the most common reason that matches are dissolved is concern over too many failed IVF cycles. Most contracts state that after three failed cycles or a period of 12 months either the intended parent or the surrogate is free to request that the match is dissolved. The vast majority of intended parents who request rematches will fall into this category. While it is frustrating news to receive, try to understand that IVF treatments are costly, and the intended parents want to have the best odds of success possible. Quite often, we see that changing just one variable in a situation of repeated failure can lead to a positive outcome. Frequently surrogates with failed cycles will have luck right away once rematched and using different genetics. IVF is not an exact science, and sometimes the combination of an egg donor, sperm, and surrogate just don’t always work.


Surrogate Life Changes

Life happens–we get it. But sometimes life changes can impact your journey, too. Things like marital break-ups, ill family members or children, moving homes, or significant job changes can and do happen. While you may feel as though you can continue to give surrogacy the time and attention that it deserves, intended parents will often elect to give you the space you need to sort through your new life situation. In these cases, you will also have the opportunity to press pause on your own journey if you feel you need some time off before moving forward.


Contract Issues

Legal contracts can feel overwhelming and intimidating to many surrogates and intended parents alike. While we encourage speaking your mind and ensuring that your needs are recognized in the contracting phase, occasionally changes to your contract can cause intended parents to seek a dissolution of your match. Differences often arise when a surrogate suggests wording relating to termination, vaccination, or lifestyle choices that the intended parents are not comfortable with.

This is by no means a suggestion to not voice any concerns you may have during your contract phase; it’s important that you only agree to things that you’re comfortable with. Just understand that sometimes a match that looked great in person could be really incompatible once all parties start to talk about what they’re willing to sign in a contract. We do believe that there is an ideal match for every surrogate, so if your match is dissolved as a result of complications during contracting, have faith that there is an intended parent out there who will work better for you.


Zika Zone Travel

As the Zika virus continues to reach into North America, we’re seeing more intended parents worry about how it will impact their surrogacy journey. Intended parents are very deliberate about the choices they make and very careful about assessing any potential risks they’re willing to take. As a result, we are seeing more intended parents who opt to request a rematch as a result of surrogate travel to areas that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines as “Zika Zones.” While traveling to these zones isn’t likely to disqualify you as a surrogate, it can put your embryo transfer on hold for awhile. When this happens, we find that many intended parents request a re-match with a new surrogate rather than wait.


Legal Climate Changes

In the United States, surrogacy is legislated on a state by state basis. This means that there are a variety of legal considerations to consider when an IP chooses a surrogate. Sometimes laws or guidelines can change suddenly and turn a once surrogate friendly state into a place where we are no longer able to work with. If this happens, and a surrogate is not yet pregnant, it is likely that the match will need to be dissolved to protect the legal interests of everyone involved.

Even If you understand why your match was broken, it is normal to still feel confused about what’s next for you in your surrogate journey. In the vast majority of cases, surrogates choose to re-enter the matching process and seek out a new family to assist. After the broken match, you will likely receive a call from someone at Growing Generations relatively quickly to discuss whether your matching preferences have changed so we can find you a great match.

If your IVF doctor recommends that the match is broken, this doctor will advise Growing Generations on whether or not they recommend that you continue as a surrogate. If they don’t believe it is likely that you’ll be able to conceive through IVF, it’s in everyone’s best interest not to continue IVF treatments in vain. In many cases when a doctor recommends that a surrogate not be rematched, GG will reach out to other IVF doctors on our team and ask them to review your records as well. In some cases, we can still find a doctor who is willing to work with you, and you may still be able to continue. In other cases, if we’re unable to find a doctor who will accept you as a patient, we may need to terminate your active surrogate status with Growing Generations.

You may also decide that, when considering rematching, you no longer wish to pursue surrogacy. If you’re feeling this way, we encourage you to reach out to Dr. Kim Bergman to talk about your feelings. IVF and surrogacy are time-intensive and emotional processes and it’s normal to feel frustrated when met with complications like a broken match. Dr. Bergman and the team at Fertility Counseling Services can help you sort through your emotions and find the right “next step” for you, even if it’s not with us.

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.