At Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation, we work with incredible women every day who are ready to become mothers and have chosen surrogacy as their path to parenthood.
To fully understand what it means to become a parent through surrogacy, we spoke with a handful of parents through our program to determine what qualities a person can embody in order to have as successful of a journey as possible. We received beautiful responses, each highlighting the resiliency of not only women who become mothers through surrogacy, but also those who have struggled with infertility and have demonstrated the strength and determination required to overcome it.
Whether you are trying to grow your family with fertility treatments such as IVF, pursuing egg or sperm donation, or gestational surrogacy, the process can be physically, mentally, and financially exhausting. For those who are thinking about turning to surrogacy in hopes of having a child, we asked parents through surrogacy the following question:
What characteristics or qualities can help an intended parent have as smooth and successful a surrogacy journey as possible?
The answers we received were inspiring, and it came as no surprise that the qualities shared by the women we spoke with not only represent their surrogacy journey but also their infertility journey leading up to it.
“Like infertility, a surrogacy journey is not always an easy process. There are plenty of moments to celebrate, but there can also be setbacks and failures. Whether it’s a match break with a surrogate or a failed transfer, there are moments when you need to grieve and allow yourself to be upset, but ultimately need to continue to be resilient and move forward. Even during a journey without hiccups, there can be emotional disappointments or personal setbacks. It is an incredible journey with the most rewarding ending, but throughout the process, resiliency is key!”
Resiliency truly is key, because, like other fertility treatments, surrogacy is a process that can potentially take years and multiple embryo transfers to be successful. While we would love to tell intended parents that every surrogacy journey is perfect, that is not always the case. Surrogacy pregnancies, like traditional pregnancies, can come with bumps in the road.
First, surrogacy costs can be expensive. The surrogacy process involves many professionals and moving parts, including lawyers, social workers, and medical billing specialists. Circle Surrogacy recognizes that costs can be a barrier, so they created two exclusive Fixed Cost programs that guarantee costs for intended parents, to help them better plan financially.
There is also a medical aspect to surrogacy: creating embryos and transferring them to your surrogate; and then, ensuring your surrogate has a successful pregnancy. The IVF process is not perfect, and intended parents may experience failure early on, such as low-quality embryos or a failed transfer. However, you should know that many intended parents who experienced setbacks have gone on to have successful surrogacy journeys! That is why Circle offers a Journey Protection Guarantee Program, offering parents unlimited embryo transfers at no additional cost.
Being resilient and sticking with the process may be difficult at times, but it is worth it in the end when you are holding your baby for the first time.
“Turning to surrogacy often means you’ve had a rough journey thus far trying to have a baby. When you decide to change paths and pursue surrogacy to grow your family, you might be tired, angry, or discouraged. It can be hard to stay positive when you’ve previously faced challenges. For me, it was hard to get excited during our journey, even while our surrogate was pregnant. I kept waiting for something to go wrong. If I could go back and talk to myself during my surrogacy journey, I would tell myself to enjoy the process and the planning, and to have hope that all would turn out well!”
Remaining hopeful is important at many points throughout a surrogacy journey, especially when matching with a surrogate. The Matching Team at Circle Surrogacy specializes in finding the perfect match based on criteria such as personality fit, legal fit, and views on specific medical procedures.
The intended parents work directly with their Program Coordination Team to identify the best surrogate match. When presented with a potential surrogate profile, Circle schedules an introductory video call. After the video call, if all parties are interested, an official match is made. The matching stage can be very exciting, but also overwhelming, so it’s great advice to remain hopeful because your perfect surrogate match is out there waiting for you!
There is a lot of trust involved in a surrogacy journey: it requires not only trusting yourself but also your surrogate and your surrogacy agency.
“ I have learned through my experience of having children through surrogacy that one of the key factors of a successful journey is developing a good relationship with your carrier. To have an open and honest relationship with your carrier, you must be able to relinquish control and trust that she is going to do everything in her power to help you have a child. Being able to trust another person with such an enormous responsibility will not be easy, but I genuinely believe that if you can focus on trusting your carrier, it will ultimately lead to a smoother journey.”
“It is difficult to open yourself up to an unknown person and trust that they will have you and your baby’s best interest at heart. It is important to be open to the process and trust your team to introduce you to someone who is a good fit for a match. It is also important to believe that your surrogate is well-intentioned and wants to take care of your little one. This can be challenging, especially when first meeting. However, your regular contact with her and your team will foster the relationship and help build a trusting connection.”
Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation is a “relationship-based” agency. This can be defined in two ways:
1. Circle develops a strong relationship with each of its intended parents. When 40% of the staff has a personal connection to surrogacy, you can be sure they will be passionate about your journey!
2. Circle promotes developing a deep connection with your gestational carrier. The stronger your relationship with your surrogate, the easier it will be to trust her and the process. Some intended parents bond immediately with their surrogates, while others take a little bit more time. The pregnancy stage is a wonderful time to get to know your surrogate: ask her to share updates on her appointments, be open about how she’s feeling, and tell you about any movement with your baby. This helps not only the relationship with the surrogate but also helps the intended parents feel more connected to the pregnancy. Women become surrogates because they want to share this wonderful gift with you, so try to remember that!
4. The ability to relinquish control
“The biggest challenge for me (a self-proclaimed Type-A personality) was giving up control. As someone who likes to be in charge of every aspect of her life, this was difficult. Surrogacy is an amazing adventure, but you must be willing to let others navigate the journey. You must trust in your doctor, your agency, and your gestational carrier. If you can step back and be a part of the process rather than try to control the process, you will be able to relax and focus on the end goal: holding a baby in your arms!”
If there’s one thing facing infertility will teach you is that you are not in control of your body; this can be very difficult to accept. Giving up control can feel scary at first, but it’s a necessary step in order to begin a surrogacy journey. Some intended parents find it helpful to work with a surrogacy agency, who will manage all aspects of the journey alongside them. They are essentially a team of professionals ensuring everything goes as smoothly as possible. Be kind to yourself during your journey, and be sure to ask for help or support when you need it.
Whether it is simply deciding to become a parent, deciding to have a child through surrogacy, or the moment when the child is born, one quality all of the intended parents we surveyed felt is that it is important is to be brave throughout the process.
“Every step of the surrogacy journey requires bravery: making the decision to become a parent, choosing an agency, and stepping into the unknown so as not to unnerve your surrogate or family. Even being handed a newborn and realizing you are now responsible for this little one for the rest of your life requires a level of bravery.”
If you have ever experienced infertility and challenges in becoming pregnant, you have already exuded bravery. Looking your infertility in the face and changing paths in order to become a parent is brave. Even just researching other options when you haven’t found success is an act of bravery. You are making brave choices each and every day, and during a surrogacy journey, it is no different. It takes bravery to accept a new path to parenthood, to embark on the unknown, and to put your trust in someone else to carry your child.
Each and every surrogacy journey is unique, and everyone is on their own timeline. There is no right or wrong; there is simply the best solution for you and your family.
To learn more about becoming a parent through surrogacy, you can visit the Circle Surrogacy website or fill out the Intended Parent form, and someone from the Circle Surrogacy team will reach out to schedule a complimentary consultation. Circle Surrogacy has experienced parents through surrogacy on staff who are always open to sharing their stories and answering any of your questions. You can also email us to be connected with a parent through surrogacy.
Kristin Marsoli is the Director of Marketing for Boston-based Circle Surrogacy, making parenthood possible for intended parents (IPs) worldwide. Kristin joined Circle in 2017 after surviving cancer and welcoming her son via surrogate. Kristin holds degrees from Stonehill College and the Harvard Extension School. She spends her spare time playing with her son, cooking up dinner for at-home date nights with her husband, and sneaking off to Target.