Maybe your interest in becoming a surrogate for someone began when you saw an online post that said something along the lines of, “Anyone looking for a surrogate mother? I’m willing to do it!”
If you didn’t already know, this is one of two ways you can find families looking for surrogates.
So, if you want to be a surrogate, what are the two options to finding intended parents?
So, what’s it like to work with intended parents you found yourself? How is it different than being professionally matched?
The answers to the following questions may help you learn more about this option, so you can decide if it’s the right one for you:
How do I find people looking for a surrogate mother?
Most people find their surrogacy partners through a professional, but some connect with people seeking a surrogate outside of conventional mediums. There are a number of ways you can try to do this, including:
- Searching online in surrogacy forums or social media groups
- Word-of-mouth or friend-of-a-friend connections
- Referrals through a fertility clinic or surrogacy attorney
- Common interest groups (churches, workout classes, etc.)
When you use these types of methods to find people looking for a surrogate mother independently, you may wait a while to find someone who:
- Is seriously interested in, and committed to, pursuing this journey with you
- Meets your needs
- Shares your surrogacy preferences and goals
- Seems safe and trustworthy
- You feel a sense of connection with
That being said, there have been surrogates who stumbled into the ideal match very quickly through a mutual acquaintance. It’s rare — but it could happen. If you want to decrease your wait time for a match, consider working with a professional, instead. But, if you want to find intended parents on your own, that is always your right as a prospective surrogate.
How do I know if the couples looking for surrogate mothers are safe to work with when I find them myself?
This is the trickiest part of finding a match on your own. It’s hard to know for sure if potential parents are safe without an agency’s screening process.
Agencies screen potential families through background checks, financial checks, counseling processes, psychological evaluations and more. When you find intended parents on your own, you’ll be the one to evaluate whether or not these people are safe.
Independent surrogacy situations are at a greater risk for scams and fraud, so use caution when vetting potential intended parents. Before any concrete financial or medical steps are taken, you absolutely must have a formal contract in place through an experienced surrogacy attorney. Without a contract, you’d have no legal or financial protection if they backed out on you midway through the process, so make sure the contract is finalized before you move forward together.
If I find somebody that needs a surrogate myself, could I still work with an agency or similar professional to complete the process?
Yes. If you are already matched with someone, or you found intended parents yourself, you can still work with a surrogacy professional together to complete the rest of the process. You would just skip the step where you search for a surrogacy match.
You would both need to meet the requirements of that particular professional. But this is a good option for surrogates who want the freedom of choosing their own intended parents, but also want the protection and guidance of an agency or similar professional.
What are the pros and cons of finding intended parents myself versus matching through a professional?
Searching for intended parents independently may be the best option for some women, but this is not the case for all. Weighing the pros and cons of independently seeking families who want a surrogate mom is a good way to decide which route is the best fit for you.
Here are some of the benefits and challenges of finding a surrogacy match by yourself.
- Finding a match on your own is a good option for experienced surrogates who are excited to have more personal control over their selection.
- The intended parents would be able to save a little money on matching fees they’d otherwise pay to a professional.
- If you’re experienced with surrogacy and feel you don’t need the help of an agency, you may be able to get away with only working with an attorney and fertility clinic, although you’d have to coordinate those services yourself.
- If this is your first experience with surrogacy, finding intended parents on your own might not be the best place to start.
- You’d have to do the searching for families seeking surrogates on your own, which can take longer than with professional matching services.
- You’d have to screen the potential family yourself to ensure your safety and the safety of the future child, rather than trusting an agency that pre-screens the intended parents you’d be matched with.
- You’ll have to determine for yourself if a potential family is emotionally and financially ready to commit to surrogacy.
What one woman would see as a drawback, another woman might view as a positive in her case, so it’s up to you to decide which method of finding people in search of surrogates is best for you. If you’re still unsure, you can always learn more from others, such as:
- Former surrogates, to ask what they’d advise or what their experiences were like
- An agency, to see how it matches intended parents and surrogates and determine if you think that’d be a good fit for you
- A surrogacy attorney, to see if they have recommendations or advice for your search
Is there a directory or website of people looking for surrogate mothers?
If you’ve decided you feel comfortable working with couples seeking surrogates online, there are a few resources that can help you potentially connect with intended parents seeking gestational surrogates, such as:
- Surrogate Mothers Online
- All Things Surrogacy
- Gestational and Traditional Surrogacy Support Group
- Intended Parents & Surrogates & Egg Donors (Helping People Meet)
A word of caution about independently finding people who are looking for a surrogate mother, especially online: Do you really want to entrust something as monumental as becoming pregnant with another person’s child to anyone who through a Craigslist ad?
There’s something to be said about going through more “official” channels when finding families looking for surrogates. Those hopeful parents are likely more serious, and the entire process of becoming pregnant with someone else’s child is just much more by-the-book.
Be sure to do plenty of research if you decide to work with intended parents you found on your own, and try to turn to former surrogates for input if you need it!