So you've been doing your research and you are now more interested than ever in becoming a surrogate. You feel ready but how do you get started?
The first step in becoming a surrogate is to pick the right agency. Surrogates vary as much as agencies so picking an agency that you trust is essential. You will be working with this group of people for over a year so you want to feel supported and heard throughout the process. Some questions you should ask when picking an agency: How many cases has the agency handled? Can you speak to current surrogates or former surrogates that have worked with the agency? Is the agency a member of SEEDS (Society of Ethics in Egg Donation and Surrogacy). What are their hours of operation? Are you able to speak to someone even when the agency is closed? How long does their matching process take? Where do they find their Intended Parents? How much is the base compensation package? Do they work with domestic or international parents (or both)? What attorneys do they work with? Having a good relationship with your agency begins with trust so make sure you ask questions and feel completely comfortable when starting the process.
Secondly, connection with other surrogates from the agency you are working with can prove to be key in a successful journey. Your agency should be able to walk you through every part of the process but connecting with other surrogates can really add positivity to the experience. Ask if your agency has a Facebook group or support group that their surrogates participate in. Try to connect with other surrogates who are experiencing the same excitement and fears that you are. Often times agencies work with a handful of doctors so their surrogates may also have the same doctors and be able to shed light on supportive nurses or day of procedures from their own experience.
Lastly, use your profile as the best resume you can honestly provide. When your agency is matching you with an intended parent(s), the parents have very little to go off other than your profile before the face to face meeting or video conference. Use your profile to let your sparkle shine. Explain why you want to be a surrogate. Gush about your own children. Explain your drive to help another family who has been struggling to conceive. The more "you" that shines through in your profile, the easier it is for intended parents to choose you to be an incredible part of this amazing journey.
Becoming a surrogate is not a decision that anyone takes lightly and it is essential that you consider all the factors that go into surrogacy before setting off on your journey. Picking the right agency and group of surrogates who are there to support and guide you can make an incredible difference on your surrogate path. Remember that your profile is the first introduction you get to make to your potential intended parent so put on the glitter and let your sparkle shine. Your journey may be right around the next corner so choose your agency wisely and follow your heart. Trust and support are two of the key components in surrogacy and they need to start with you and your agency.