Surrogacy is not a journey that you take on your own. In addition to your chosen surrogacy professionals and intended parents, your spouse, your children and any close family and friends will be there for you during all the challenges and rewards of this life-changing path. This group of people will become your surrogacy support system.
A support system is integral to a successful surrogacy process. After all, not only will being pregnant take a great deal of your time and energy, but the several complicated steps of the surrogacy process will also take a great deal out of you, as well. Therefore, it’s important to have trustworthy and empathetic people who can assist you from the beginning to end of your journey.
Why Do I Need a Surrogacy Support System?
Surrogates may wonder, “If I already have the support of my surrogacy professionals and intended parents, why do I need to involve others in my surrogacy journey?”
The answer: Because many other people are automatically affected by (and, therefore, are a part of) your surrogacy journey. Your pregnancy will not only impact the lives of your immediate family members but also of close friends and family who are involved in your day-to-day life. You will need to work with them, just as they will need to work with you, to create a positive surrogacy experience for all involved.
Taking the initiative to bring people into your personal surrogacy support system has several advantages for you as a surrogate:
- Emotional support: While you will always have your surrogacy specialist to provide professional counseling, sometimes you’ll want to talk with someone who is not personally invested in your surrogacy process — whether it’s about your surrogacy or about something completely different to take your mind off of things.
- Practical support: Surrogacy takes a lot of time and energy and, although you’ll have your spouse’s support in handling your everyday responsibilities, sometimes it can be extremely beneficial to have a couple of extra helping hands. Including friends and family in your surrogacy journey means they can help you get to any appointments you need, take care of your children during these appointments, or even assist with simple things like housework and cooking.
In addition to these two main advantages, there’s also a bigger one: just having someone extra there to support you through all of the challenges and rewards of the surrogacy process.
Who Do I Involve in My Surrogacy Support System?
Surrogacy is admittedly an intimate process, and it can seem overwhelming to include other people in your journey. Some of your friends and family may have misconceptions about surrogacy, and including them in your support system may require you to answer the same inquisitive (and, at times, insensitive) questions about the surrogacy process.
Overall, when you’re deciding who to include in your surrogacy support system, you’ll only want to choose people who will contribute positively to your experience. These should be people who are close to you, who understand (or are willing to learn more about) your decision to become a surrogate, who support your choice and who will acknowledge and respect the wide range of feelings you’ll experience during your surrogacy journey. You might consider these people when building your surrogacy support system:
- Your parents or siblings
- Extended family members
- Close friends
- Religious leaders
- Others in the surrogacy community
Of course, your spouse, the intended parents and your surrogacy professional should also be included in your surrogacy support team. Remember, the people you include are ultimately your personal decision; some women include only a few close friends, while others include people from all aspects of their life.
How Do I Ask People to be in My Surrogacy Support System?
Once you decide who you want to be a part of your support system, you’ll need to take steps to involve them, if they aren’t already. Some of the members of your support system (like your spouse) may be involved from the beginning of your process, while others (like friends) may only be involved once you are successfully pregnant. It will be up to you to determine exactly when you wish to share your surrogacy journey with others and how you wish them to be involved.
When it comes to telling your friends and family about your surrogacy decision, your surrogacy specialist can provide suggestions and tips for this important conversation. After this, you may find that people automatically take on certain roles as part of your support system.
If people ask how they can support you through this life-changing process, here are few suggestions to offer them:
- Accompanying you through certain appointments
- Babysitting during medical procedures or when you need some “catch-up” time
- Day-to-day tasks like housework, cooking or running errands
- Relaxing with fun activities like a lunch out or an at-home spa night
- Chatting whenever you have had a bad day or need some additional emotional support
It’s likely that your close friends and family have known about your surrogacy dreams for a while, and they will be happy to help you achieve them in whatever way is possible.
More than anything else, don’t be afraid to ask for support and assistance when you need it. Pregnancy is stressful for any expectant woman, and the additional requirements and pressures of the surrogacy process can be overwhelming. Remember that you have a whole team of people ready and willing to help you whenever you need it — because they care about you. In the end, this team will be there to celebrate all of your accomplishments with you, as well.