So I’m Meeting With a Possible IP…Now What?

So I totally swear that I did an entry back in 2018 during my first journey about what to ask when meeting your IP(s) but I guess I was wrong. If you know me sometimes I tend to be all over the place and knowing me, I wrote it down on a piece of paper at work and never typed it up! What prompted me to do this list is because someone I know has decided to pursue surrogacy and I’ve been helping her with the ins and outs of the world of gestational surrogacy. She was given a profile and was waiting to set up a time to meet and she asked me: what should I ask ? After I couldn’t find those questions that I swore I had written down (probably at my old desk back in San Diego knowing me!) I decided that I should definitely do an entry on questions to ask potential intended parents! So below you’ll find some of the questions/topics that I feel are important that should be communicated during that whole meeting or as I like I call it, blind date. To ensure that after all is said and done and you both swipe right, check out the top questions below:

  1. What type of communication would you like us to have?
    • Now I know with Surrogate Alternatives that is something that is included in both the surrogate profile as well as as the IP’s profile. However, I am sure that not all profiles are made equal across all surrogate agencies. But just because it may be included does not mean that it is something that should not be discussed. Do your IP’s want to know every single detail at soon as it happens? Or would they prefer key details as they come such as, if you are feeling well after transfer, if milestone appointments were successful (heartbeat confirmation, second trimester screening, anatomy scan, etc)? Or do they want to know nothing until baby is Earth side? These are things you both should have an idea about during this time.
  2. Do you have any dietary preferences? Lifestyle preferences?
    • Again, another thing that may come up in profiles but it’s still something that should be discussed. Some IP’s prefer their surrogate eat an all organic diet, some would rather she not partake in any type of physical activity outside of getting to point A and B. Others are like you’ve been pregnant before, I trust your judgement just be safe! 
  3. Would you like pictures of my belly as it grows?
    • It may sound silly but for some, pictures every month may be good, it may be bad. It doesn’t hurt to ask and know ahead of time. I think this question is huge especially if you are caring for a mother who may not be able to carry on her own due to infertility or other health complications. For intended mothers to pursue surrogacy it is huge for them to take such a leap. As women, when we cannot do what we were “made” to do, we sometimes take that to heart and internalize it. So for one to not be able to carry a child and have to reach out to another woman to do so, that can sometimes be a touchy point. She may not want random belly pictures as it can be a sensitive area, she may want all of the pictures. Be sure to casually ask if she would like those and if so, when. 
  4. Would you like to be there for the delivery? Would you be fine if I prefer I have my own support person instead?
    • This question deals with the ultimate outcome both parties want: The process of bringing the babies Earthside! This is something that should definitely be discussed so the birthing events can go seamlessly without any feelings hurt. For me, with my first journey I didn’t mind my intended parent there in the room. I was a prenatal educator at the time, so I knew the ins and outs of all things pregnancy! I wanted the parent to get those very first moments of their child being born! So for me, I was completely fine. I was lucky enough to have both my husband, mom, my oldest son, my intended parent and the intended grandparent all in the room with me (you can read about that here). If I were to have a Cesarean I  preferred my mother or my husband depending on who was available to be there with me because that is a major surgery. This is probably one of the most important questions that should be discussed just to get those feelers out now and also once you are all officially matched as you get further into the pregnancy this topic and others will end up being a part of a birth plan. 
  5. What are your thoughts on induction?
    • According to The Mayo Clinic, to induce labor “ is the stimulation of uterine contractions during pregnancy before labor begins on its own to achieve a vaginal birth”. This is done for various reasons, especially when the health of baby and pregnant woman may be at risk. To read more about the induction process check out the complete article from The Mayo Clinic here. I don’t want to sway anyone either way therefore I don’t want to give my personal preference here but you’re more than welcome to reach out to me in the comments or go check out my Instagram page so we can have a more one on one conversation! 
  6. Would you like me to provide breastmilk? Will you be okay if I choose not to pump?
    • Now this here is something that is ultimately up to the surrogate especially because well she brought baby Earthside safe and sound and it’s her body and time that is now putting in extra work. Pumping is easy for some, yet hard for others so this should be something that should definitely be discussed. If you as a surrogate do not plan to pump the intended parents need to start researching different types of formula or even looking into donated breastmilk so it is definitely courteous to have this conversation before birth if possible. 

There are so many questions that could be asked, however I feel these to be some key questions to ask during your initial meeting. Now while this meeting phase is for both parties to get to know each other, it’s also vital that both parties know each other’s expectations up front. This allows for a better understanding of how you both expect things to be going forward. Later down the line if one of those questions comes up and you both are in a disagreement, things can become a bit uncomfortable and the only thing we want uncomfortable is the surrogate when she’s trying to sleep at night but baby won’t stop jumping on her bladder! And if you both don’t agree on some of the things to the point where you are both in a constant state of disagreement during this meeting phase, then maybe it’s safe to say that you both should swipe left and move on to meeting with someone else. Do not force yourself to match with IP’s just for the sake of wanting to rush the journey…these things don’t happen overnight. Believe me, there are more than enough Intended Parents out there that you will find your match! Honestly, I’ve talked to some girls and they are like “our views don’t align, I should have waited but I wanted to hurry up and start for XYZ reason” and while they were happy to be helping, they didn’t truly enjoy their journey. 

When you match, you aren’t with IPs for just 9 months and that’s it….you match and you still have to go through your psych screening, medical screening, legal contracts, starting IVF meds, transfer…and that’s hoping there aren’t any bumps in the road. My first journey (which you can read about from the beginning here) we matched April 2018, transfer was July 2018, baby was born March 2019, I pumped and supplied breastmilk through the end of April 2019….that’s a whole year. My second journey, we matched around October 2019, transfer was January 2020, ended in loss February 2020, April 2020 it ended in a failed transfer, we remained in contracts until my IPs decided it was best to go our separate ways June 2021…so that’s 20 months! Imagine being matched and working with a family for 20 months and you all not getting along or things are just…weird (FYI just speaking generally, I didn’t feel this way with them!). As the kids say, that ain’t it fam. You want to make sure you match with like minded IPs and people you wouldn’t mind going on a journey with for a year or more. They truly do not call it a journey for nothing!

I hope this here post helps those in that matching phase, so that they’re prepared and ready for that initial meeting. And don’t worry, I used these myself both times, and plan to at my upcoming matching meeting! I would not talk about anything I haven’t tried myself…it’s just not in me! I try my best to be as transparent as possible. Hope y’all enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

XOXO, Chelsea


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