For those of us who can’t get pregnant ‘the old-fashioned way,’ there are many alternative paths to parenthood, from intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) to embryo donation and adoption. One option that varies not only from country to country but from state to state is surrogacy, and if you’re just starting out it can be difficult to know what questions to ask or where to even begin. Luckily, family-building networks like Pinnacle Fertility can help simplify the process for both intended parents pursuing surrogacy and surrogates interested in becoming gestational carriers.

Questions To Ask About Surrogacy

Whether you’re looking for someone to carry your embryo or you’re interested in carrying a baby for someone else, we spoke with two women who have experienced the journey as surrogates with Pinnacle Surrogacy, and they shared their thoughts with us on the questions to ask before jumping headfirst into the process. 

1. How does one decide to become a surrogate?

For both of the women we chatted with, becoming a surrogate was born of a desire to help other people grow their families. “Surrogate L” had a childhood friend who had struggled to conceive and, after a relatively easy pregnancy, she decided she wanted to be a gestational carrier for those who didn’t have the ability to carry a pregnancy. 

“Surrogate S” had a friend who introduced her to the process and also wanted to help families conceive who otherwise couldn’t. She started as an egg donor and progressed to surrogacy as she grew more comfortable with the IVF process. For Surrogate S, over time it became particularly important for her to be a carrier for same-sex couples. 

The shared consensus? Both women said giving the intended parents their baby, after “helping to build it” was an extremely rewarding experience, and they would do it all over again. 

2. What should both surrogates and intended parents know before moving forward with a match?

One of the most important parts of a surrogacy journey is the “matching” process. Pinnacle Surrogacy ensures that the intended parents and their potential gestational carrier are a good match before they even speak or meet. This means there is alignment regarding medical visits, dietary preferences, how communication will happen during and after the pregnancy, and more. 

For all involved parties, it’s important to be extremely thoughtful — and realistic — before deciding if a match is a good fit. Both surrogates we spoke to said that the expectations vary for intended parents: some prefer more contact during the pregnancy while some expect less. After the baby is born, some want to cut ties, some want to be social media friends, and others want a kind of big extended family. It really depends on the individual or couple. 

Here are some questions to ask even before the initial discussion:

  • Will I want to communicate via platforms like text or WhatsApp during the pregnancy, or have more in-person communication?

  • Will I want to be at/have the intended parents at every medical appointment?

  • Will I want to be at/have the intended parents at the birth?

  • How often do I expect communication?

  • How personal, other than the baby, do I want our communication to be?

  • After the baby is born, will we go our separate ways? What will contact, if any, look like?

Obviously, it’s critical to match with a family or surrogate that is on the same page as you regarding these expectations.

Once both parties have made a decision, Pinnacle Surrogacy helps ensure the matches and oversees the rest of the process to make sure it’s seamless. At this time, they assign the intended parent(s) and surrogate a case manager who acts as an intermediary, handles everything from communication to medical appointments, and takes all of the day-to-day logistics off your plate. Because Pinnacle Surrogacy is an integrated program that serves individuals and couples within the Pinnacle Fertility network of clinics, they truly help to streamline and refine the experience for both intended parents and surrogates. 

As Surrogate S said, “there are so many moving pieces to the process. It is a relief to always have a point of contact at any time. I recognize the value of that extra help…and having someone to answer questions and move things along.” 

3. What are some other important considerations I should be making?

When it comes to surrogacy, it’s important for all intended parties to be exceedingly clear about what they are looking for in terms of communication and lifestyle. This isn’t about being nice or polite — it’s about picking the best match for someone to carry your baby or to be a carrier for. 

The surrogates we spoke with said one fear for intended parents is usually that at birth, the gestational carrier will suddenly not be able to detach from the baby. However, both women assured us that this is not something intended parents should worry about. Not only is the surrogate not genetically related to the child, but there is also an entire legal aspect to a surrogacy agreement that protects all parties involved. 

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Still, for those considering becoming a surrogate, they recommended being very realistic and honest before choosing to carry someone else’s child. Are you truly okay with growing a human for nine months, birthing it, and then possibly never seeing it again? As Surrogate S said, “this baby is only yours to give away.” 

For intended parents, their advice was to be truly comfortable and sure before making a final decision on who will carry your future child. 

4. What is it like for a surrogate to carry someone else’s baby?

It’s important to note that the surrogacy process is different for every gestational carrier and intended parent. Surrogate L experienced more of a “hands-off” approach and said she often forgot she was even pregnant. Surrogate S said she considered it like babysitting — she was extra careful to nourish the baby well since it wasn’t “her” baby but someone else’s, the way that you would take care of someone else’s child in your home. 

Both women said they experienced extreme joy at handing the babies over to their parents at the end of the process, as well as gratitude for the chance to give another family such a wonderful gift. 

5. Can’t I just find a surrogate, like a family friend, and do this on my own?

While independent surrogacy journeys are growing more common, there is a lot more to consider there in addition to the matching process: medical costs, legal back-and-forth, transportation issues, state surrogacy laws, and communication issues, to name a few. Having a one-stop shop like Pinnacle Surrogacy to handle these logistics can help ensure that the process goes smoothly from start to finish, leaving you with more emotional time and energy to enjoy and soak in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Kristin Diversi is a writer and versatile creative. She is passionate about reproductive health and justice and lives in Longmont, Colorado, with her husband and their son.