How do I connect with a surrogate?
It’s one thing to ask – how do I find a surrogate – and then follow all the advice given to put yourself in places where surrogates hang out. But it’s another thing to engage and connect with a surrogate whereby she might be motivated to offer to carry a baby for you.
Once you’ve joined the Australian Surrogacy Community Facebook group and Surrogacy Australia’s Support Service, the question remains – now that we’re here, how do we connect with a surrogate? It’s all very well joining a bunch of forums, but how do we get seen by a woman who might consider carrying a baby for us? Do we find her? Or does she find us? How do we get her to notice us?
Surrogates in Australia are outnumbered by intended parents – my estimation is that the ratio could be as many as 100:1. We don’t have any reliable statistics to say how many intended parents who are seeking a surrogate in Australia will connect and continue with a surrogate. Many surrogacy teams are created between intended parents and surrogates who had a pre-existing relationship – friends and family members. You can read more about approaching family and friends with your story in this post.
It is difficult to give specific advice because everyone is different. You need to follow the group rules for any Facebook group or forum you are a member. Surrogates talk to each other and may compare notes – they will know if an intended parent has sent an unsolicited message to another surrogate (“will you carry our baby?”) and it’s a turn-off. We talk about surrogacy relationships being like dating – and like dating, you need to be active, engaged, curious and courageous. You also need to be respectful, friendly, supportive and authentic. If you moved to a new town and wanted to make new friends, how would you go about it? Would you knock on stranger’s doors and demand a friendship? Or would you hang out in places and at events where like-minded people hang out, and start conversations?
Within the Australian Surrogacy Community Facebook group, questions are often asked – how do we start chatting with a surrogate? How do we know which surrogates are available and willing to get to know us? The rules of the group are that intended parents cannot send messages to surrogates without their permission. And, as I mentioned above, surrogates will know if you have – because they chat to each other and take notes. For surrogates to see and notice you, intended parents need to post and comment on other threads – be active and engaged. But surrogates also want to get to know you, beyond surrogacy. Surrogates want to know your story, how you came to be a couple, why you’re pursuing surrogacy, what you do for a living, what you are passionate about. That means being in it for the long haul. One post introducing yourself is unlikely to be noticed. But posts and comments that are curious and supportive are likely to be noticed. You need to put into the surrogacy community if you want to take something from it.
Don’t underestimate the power of a positive review! Many surrogates will seek counsel from their fellow surrogates, to see what they think of certain intended parents, or to enquire as to who the intended parents are in their area. I met my intended parents after following the recommendations of another surrogate – because there was nothing so reassuring as the positive review of someone who had already spent time with them and could vouch for them. So – make friends with community members – surrogates and intended parents – with the aim of having friends along for the ride, with an added bonus that those friendships may lead to a woman offering to be your surrogate.
So, in summary, my tips for finding and connecting with a surrogate include:
- Be active and engaged on the forums, share your story and be supportive, kind and helpful within the community.
- Be authentic. You don’t want to find a surrogate at the cost of your values or because you’ve presented yourself in a certain light that you cannot sustain. Remember, you want to connect with a surrogate that you can have a lifelong friendship with – not just a woman who has a working uterus.
- Build your community. The surrogacy community is strong and supportive of those who contribute and participate. If you want to connect with a surrogate within the community, you need to contribute what you hope to get out of it.
- Make friends with people in the community. Don’t make friends with the sole hope that they might carry your baby – make friend with lots of people in the community because those friends may help you find a surrogate, and because they’ll be your cheers quad along the way.
- I don’t like focusing on the negative – but be aware of the rules. Don’t send unsolicited messages to surrogates. Don’t jump on a new surrogate when she introduces herself. Trust me – she’ll see right through it, and so will everyone else.
If you are looking for more advice and information about how to find and connect with a surrogate, check out these resources:
- The Podcast, of course, shares stories from intended parents and surrogates about how they connected with each other, and what drove them to be each other’s team mates.
- In Tim’s interview on the Podcast, we talked about his reluctance at having to engage with social media platforms to find a surrogate. If you’re anxious about having to do the ‘sales pitch’ on Facebook, Tim’s episode should provide some reassurance that you’re not alone.
- There are local catch-ups in each State – picnics, brunches, dinners and coffee-catch ups. These are all about community-building, but they’re also really great for finding that cheer squad I mentioned, for learning from others and finding support. With the COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, the community is holding Zoom catch-ups each week which are a great way to get to know people from the comfort of your own home. You should seek out the local catch up groups in your state.
If you are exploring surrogacy options overseas, you can find out more in this post. And if you are wanting more information about surrogacy, make sure to check out other articles in the Blog, and download the Handbook to get you started.