The relationship that you have with your intended parents often shapes your entire surrogacy experience. Together, you’ll be embarking on a life-changing journey full of new experiences and emotions and, when you are going through this process with the perfect intended parents, it will be a positive and exciting partnership.
However, no matter how perfect the intended parents seem to be at the start, it’s not unusual for there to be some challenges in your relationship along the way. After all, you will work very intimately with the intended parents for a year or more through hardships and accomplishments — and it’s normal that your personal relationship will be affected by these things.
After beginning their surrogacy process, some surrogates may feel like their relationship with their intended parent is different than they imagined. Surrogacy can be a stressful and complicated process, and both surrogates and intended parents can be affected by the challenges involved.
But, how can you be prepared for these changes and make sure you maintain a positive, healthy relationship with the intended parents?
Fortunately, many surrogacy agencies will provide professional mediation to support you and the intended parents throughout the surrogacy process, including helping you navigate any challenges that may occur in your relationship.
It’s also recommended that you take certain steps from the beginning of your surrogacy process to protect your relationship with the intended parents. Here are some common ways you can create a strong, mutually respectful relationship with your intended parents:
1. Understand the position that intended parents are in.
Intended parents who pursue the surrogacy process have often dreamed about bringing a child into their life for months and years. It’s likely all they think about, and this will be even more true once your pregnancy is confirmed. If intended parents seem overbearing by wanting frequent contact and updates on your pregnancy, it’s not because they are trying to overwhelm you — they are simply incredibly invested in their family-building process.
The earlier you realize the lack of control intended parents have over their baby’s development and your pregnancy, the better you can relate to the emotions they have. That being said, it is also important to establish healthy boundaries so you can maintain your lifestyle happily while you are pregnant. Make sure these boundaries are addressed in your surrogacy contract before beginning the surrogacy process, and both you and the intended parents will be more comfortable with these set rules and responsibilities.
2. Create a schedule of updates during your pregnancy.
But, how exactly do you create these boundaries in your surrogacy contract? You can work with your surrogacy professional, your attorney and the intended parents to create a contact schedule.
This schedule should detail how often you will send texts or emails or call the intended parents during your surrogacy process, and how often they will contact you. Usually, your contact will happen after your doctor’s appointments and other important milestones, at the bare minimum, and you and the intended parents can agree on a level of contact that you are both comfortable with. This way, parents will know when they can expect their next update, making their wait a little more manageable and preventing them from reaching out too frequently.
This contact relationship may change at different times during your surrogacy, but it should always be a decision that you make together.
3. Always be honest about your needs and desires.
As with any relationship, open and honest communication is important to keeping both of you happy and satisfied as you pursue surrogacy together. Although being a surrogate will take a great deal of your time and energy, you still have the right to maintain your everyday life as long as it is healthy for the baby and for you.
While it can be tempting to put your surrogacy ahead of yourself when you don’t want to disappoint the intended parents, it’s important that you meet your own needs first to stay happy and healthy. Don’t hesitate to speak with your intended parents or your surrogacy professional if you are feeling overwhelmed by your surrogacy responsibilities. The intended parents will want you to be comfortable while you are pregnant, and being open with them about your desires will help you establish a healthy relationship with them, too.
4. But try to incorporate the intended parents’ desires, as well.
However, at the same time that you are addressing your rights and desires, you should also consider those of the intended parents. It’s not unusual for intended parents to ask certain things of you to help them feel involved in your pregnancy and, as long as you are comfortable doing so, try to accommodate these desires. Remember, the pregnancy experiences that you take for granted are ones they would give everything to have.
Consider inviting intended parents to be present for your doctor’s appointments, and suggest things like voice recordings to help them feel more connected to their baby. For intended parents, even the simplest things — like feeling their baby kick — will mean the world, and it is fairly easy to make these happen when you’re their surrogate.
Welcoming intended parents into your pregnancy journey will play a huge part in creating a genuine friendship between you all.
5. Overall, treat the intended parents as you would like to be treated.
Surrogacy can be an overwhelming process for both you and the intended parents, and it’s normal to feel stressed at some times. However, remember that surrogacy works best when it is conducted as a respectful, intimate partnership between intended parents and surrogate — and you can take certain steps to create one with your own intended parents. The easiest and most important thing you can do is invoke the “Golden Rule” — that is, treat them as you would like to be treated.
Make sure you uphold any contact agreements you make, and do not speak of the challenges of pregnancy to the intended parents. Remember, as tough as your pregnancy side effects can be, the intended parents would take them in a heartbeat if they could have a natural pregnancy. Before anything else, make sure to have empathy for the position the intended parents are in.
Surrogacy is never a journey you can take alone, and it’s one that is made so much more enjoyable and positive by a good relationship with your chosen intended parents. While it’s important to have a surrogacy professional who can help mediate any sensitive topics between the two of you, it’s equally important to have a personal relationship in which you can speak openly with the intended parents.
Don’t worry if this relationship takes time; often, a respectful and caring relationship will naturally emerge as you two get to know each other and spend more time together. By following these tips, you can help create the kind of friendship you desire through this life-changing process.