Surrogacy offers the incredible gift of parenthood, making a significant difference in the lives of both the intended parents (IPs) and the surrogate or gestational carrier (GC). It’s essential to keep in mind that communication and building a connection can have a profound impact on your surrogacy experience. Navigating surrogacy often requires an understanding of the emotional dynamics involved. Here are some guidelines for communicating with your IPs, GC, and family members during your surrogacy journey.
Set a Positive Tone
It’s essential to speak positively and maintain open lines of communication. This doesn’t mean you will always have a happy-go-lucky experience during your surrogacy as every pregnancy has its challenges. But if you start on a positive note, any challenges you later need to discuss will go smoother. If you speak from the heart with gratitude and hope at the forefront, your interactions will lend themselves to a solid relationship between you.
Engage in Honest Communication
There are several principles involved in honest communication, including:
- Transparency – communicate openly your expectations, concerns, and feelings throughout the process
- Open Dialogue – prevents misunderstandings and helps to manage expectations
- Active Listening – includes being fully present during conversations, maintaining good eye contact, asking open-ended questions, deep listening, and withholding judgment or advice
- Having Empathy – essential for understanding others’ emotions and viewpoints
- Flexibility – important for being open to discussing uncertainties and giving reassurance whenever possible
Surrogacy can be a personal and private matter for both the intended parents and the surrogate. Find out if those who you are working with have concerns about what information is being shared with whom. While many surrogates may feel comfortable posting on social media, this should only be done with respect for the privacy of IPs and only share information after receiving their consent. Establish clear boundaries for sharing information.
Employ Sensitivity and Empathy
Remember that surrogacy is often a complex and emotional process for the intended parents. Recognize their emotions without judgment and empathize with their concerns and hopes.
Provide Ongoing Updates
It is so important for surrogates to provide pregnancy updates to the IPs and to set up a regular communication schedule. As a result, the intended parents can be reassured and kept involved throughout the process. Updates and concerns regarding your health should be communicated promptly and clearly. Intended Parents should also show their interest in the health and family life of their surrogate and be responsive to any communication from their surrogate. Timely and accurate information is essential for everyone’s well-being during the surrogacy journey.
Keep Communication Open
Following up regularly via email or phone helps keep the lines of communication open. When appropriate, following up demonstrates your genuine concern for those you are working with, the baby being carried, and an overall commitment to your surrogate experience. Examples of effective follow-up messages include:
- Sending a thank you email, text, or voicemail message (e.g., thanking IPs for attending doctor’s appointments or acknowledging milestones)
- Forwarding a message to remind IPs of upcoming medical appointments they will attend, such as ultrasound exams
- Providing feedback to let IPs know you acknowledge their concerns and preferences
Use Respectful Language
When you discuss surrogacy, use respectful and sensitive language. Whenever possible, avoid unintentionally offensive or uncomfortable language. Refer to the surrogacy contract or talk to your surrogate case manager if you are unsure about preferred terms and language relating to the surrogacy journey.
Communicating with Loved Ones
Effective communication and understanding are crucial for maintaining personal relationships during the surrogacy process. It’s important to educate your loved ones about the process, including explaining common misconceptions. Open communication will foster your ability to seek emotional support from your family and friends during the surrogacy process. A support network of understanding and compassionate people can be fostered during the challenges faced by being open, educating your loved ones, and seeking support.
A genuine connection and understanding between a surrogate and the IPs can provide a more rewarding experience for many surrogates and intended families. Contact Reproductive Possibilities today if you have questions about the surrogate process or have decided to become a surrogate. Our team is here to help you every step of the way!