Whether you’re hoping to have a relationship with a surrogate or gestational carrier that will last for years to come, or just hoping to work together happily through the pregnancy before going your separate ways, the relationship your family has with your surrogate or gestational carrier is going to be one of the defining features of the pregnancy.
Finding the right gestational carrier
Make sure you find someone you click with – finding the right surrogate or gestational carrier is a little bit like dating, and if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Another analogy that comes up a lot is that surrogacy isn’t that different from a very extreme version of babysitting – and you know how careful parents can be about vetting babysitters. Unlike when asking the sixteen-year-old down the street to babysit, you may not have the option of sitting down with your gestational carrier’s mother and getting a sense of where she gets her sense of accountability from, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take your time getting to know her.
It takes all sides of a relationship to make that relationship run smoothly, but you’re the only person who has control over your own actions. This means it’s very important that you and your partner talk through all of your hopes and expectations for the surrogacy process, to make sure you’re on the same page before you get started. It also means that making sure you end up working with a gestational carrier you feel comfortable communicating with, and who you agree with on the big issues, is a key part of making sure that relationship has the potential to be strong before it even begins.
Making your surrogate or gestational carrier a part of your life – and vice versa
If your surrogate or gestational carrier has a romantic partner, make sure to take some time to try to connect with them. Not only are they going to be right there for every step of the pregnancy, but your surrogate or gestational carrier is going to have a huge impact on your family, and understanding how making that choice is affecting her family will help you to understand what she’s thinking and feeling throughout the surrogacy process. If you’re hoping to have a relationship with your surrogate or gestational carrier after delivery, understanding and getting along with her family will be a huge part of that. Surrogacy can be a complex issue for the partners of surrogates or gestational carriers, too, and giving your surrogate or gestational carrier’s partner the chance to really get to know the people their partners are having such an impact on can help them feel better about the whole process.
Getting to know your surrogate or gestational carrier’s own children can also be a great way to get to know the family as a whole – and maybe even to get some practice babysitting in!
Find your common ground
There’s a good chance that you, your partner, your surrogate or gestational carrier, and her partner all have some things in common besides wanting to make sure your family includes a new baby in the near future. Figuring out what those shared interests might be can help to give both of your families a strong foundation to build this relationship off of. Even if it seems like something small – like a love for Disney movies with animals for main characters, or a passion for roller coasters – the fact that you’ve reached the point where you know about these similarities is important in and of itself.
Let the relationship evolve
This might sound opposite to the advice of talking everything out and then talking it out again before your family and your surrogate or gestational carrier even get started, but know that, no matter how well you plan what your relationship with your gestational carrier will look like, there’s a chance it will change. This is because relationships are alive, and they grow, and once you know someone better, it’s inevitable that you’ll know how to relate to them better than when you were first starting out. For some families who have had long, hard journeys toward parenthood, sometimes this might look like knowing when to step back, but it can also look like becoming closer than you expected. In any case, being open to the way your relationship with your gestational carrier grows, and continuing to be open in your communication about that growth, can be a beautiful part of your surrogate or gestational carrier’s pregnancy and your family’s journey.