Managing Expectations as An Intended Parent
July 21, 2023 by Frank Golden
I want every Intended Parent to have a positive and successful surrogacy experience, just like I did 10 years ago on my own journey. One of the key factors that contributes to a successful outcome is setting clear expectations from the beginning. I encourage all Intended Parents, or soon to be Intended Parents, to ask themselves these important questions before diving into a surrogacy journey with an agency. Every agency is different, and you want to ensure that you are partnering with the right one that will match your needs and desired outcomes. These questions will help you identify what your expectations might be and gauge whether they are unrealistic or not.
Question #1: How much does surrogacy cost?
The first question is about the financial aspect of your journey. Having a clear and proper understanding of what your surrogacy journey is going to cost with an agency is crucial. You do not want to reach the halfway point, or even the end of your surrogacy journey, and feel resentment towards your agency because the cost exceeded your expectations. Before starting your journey, seek out accurate information about the costs involved and partner with a reputable agency like Golden Surrogacy to ensure transparency. Check out Green and Red Flags in Surrogacy Agencies to get a better understanding of the importance of transparency when it comes to the financial aspects of your journey.
Here are three questions you can ask yourself regarding cost that will help you identify your expectations:
- What is my budget?
- Can I afford to spend 20% more than my budget for unexpected expenses?
- What third-party expenses will I need apart from an agency and a Surrogate (I.E., egg donor, IVF clinic, legal expenses)?
Question #2: How long does surrogacy take?
The second question is about the timeline of a surrogacy journey with an agency. The timeline can vary significantly from agency to agency, and it’s essential to have a realistic understanding of what to expect. Many Intended Parents make the mistake of choosing an agency solely based on the fastest quoted timeline, only to realize later that it was unrealistic. Do your research, understand the timeline, and ask the agency these three questions to help set realistic expectations.
- How long does it take to match with a potential Surrogate?
- How long does a surrogacy journey take to complete?
- What stage of the journey takes the longest?
Here at Golden, we are very transparent about our surrogacy journey timeline. You can find it here!
Question #3: What are my chances of success with surrogacy?
The third question revolves around the chances of success. While you may have a clear idea of the costs and timeline, it is equally important to understand that the first embryo transfer may not always be successful. Be prepared for the possibility of undergoing a second transfer and the associated costs that come with it. Surrogacy journeys are not always linear, and there may be obstacles along the way. Setting realistic expectations regarding success rates helps you maintain a positive outlook through the process.
While there are aspects of surrogacy journeys that even extensive planning cannot prevent, partnering with a reputable agency will ensure you steer clear of major obstacles and will provide you with an experienced guide. If you are trying to measure your chances of success with an agency, avoid asking them “How many babies are born through your program each year?” Or “How many couples or individuals walk away with a baby at the end of their journey?” These two questions are irrelevant because there are numerous factors involved that can impact embryo implantation and the occurrence of a live birth. The surrogacy agency does not have any influence over the selection of egg donors, the process of egg retrieval, the quality of eggs, the quality or genetic integrity of the embryos, the field of embryology, or the prescribed IVF protocol. These aspects are the direct responsibility of the fertility center and the reproductive endocrinologist. As an agency, we frequently work with Intended Parents who utilize high-quality genetically tested embryos from donor eggs for transfer, resulting in a high success rate for the first embryo transfer. However, we also assist couples who may have only one remaining embryo from a batch that was created during their own infertility journey. In many cases, these embryos are not genetically tested and may be of poor quality, which can reduce the chances of successful implantation and live birth.
All this to say that success or failure in surrogacy is highly individualized and dependent on the specific circumstances of each Intended Parent’s journey. At Golden, we evaluate our “success” based on factors that we can directly influence as an agency, such as Surrogate health and selection criteria, the quality of the match, the level of service and support provided, and our reputation. So, when considering a potential surrogacy agency to work with, ask these three questions to gain a better understanding of success metrics:
- How many of your Surrogates have vaginal deliveries?
- What percent of your Surrogates receive clinic approval?
- What is your matching success rate?
Question #4: How committed am I to the surrogacy journey?
Lastly, consider your personal commitment level to the surrogacy journey. As an Intended Parent, you have a responsibility to be actively involved and committed to the process. This includes being responsive to agency communication and maintaining good communication with your Surrogate. Building a trusted partnership with your Surrogate is vital for a successful pregnancy. Understand the time commitment required and establish a communication rhythm that suits your availability.
Ask yourself these three questions and answer them honestly. Remember that there are no wrong answers and being honest from the start is the best thing you can do for your surrogacy journey.
- How frequently do I want my Surrogate to contact me (I.E., once a day, once a week, only at milestones, etc.)?
- How frequently do I want my agency to contact me? (I.E., every week, every month, only when it’s an emergency, etc.)?
- What do I want my relationship with my Surrogate to look like after the journey is complete?
Understanding the costs, timeline, chances of success, and your commitment to the surrogacy journey are crucial for a positive experience. As an agency director and former Intended Parent, I want you to have a successful and fulfilling journey. Take the time to set these expectations at the beginning to ensure a smooth and rewarding surrogacy experience. Remember, Golden Surrogacy is here to provide the support and guidance you need.