You can’t put your finger on it. Something just doesn’t feel right. It’s nagging at you, distracting you. A little voice in the back of your mind is trying to tell you something. Frantically waving a red flag to get your attention. Have you ever experienced this? How did you respond? What was the result?
Two of the most important decisions you’ll make as a gestational carrier is choosing an agency and selecting the intended parents. With each match, you’ll want to make sure that you feel valued, appreciated and comfortable before entering into any kind of agreement with them. While there may be no such thing as an absolutely perfect match, there are definite red flags in surrogacy to watch out for.
1. Personality Conflict
Let’s face it. Not everyone gets along with each other. We all have our own views and opinions. Our own personalities and ways of doing things. It’s just part of being human. Similar with dating. There’s no one size fits all. So, when you’re searching for a surrogacy agency or pair of intended parents to work with, it’s important to see how you mesh. If there’s any tension, or any obvious red flags that stand out.
A personality conflict can cause more harm than good. Smaller ones can be solved through compromise. But, if fundamental values cannot be respected on either side, it’s best not to enter into an agreement with them.
2. Communication Lapses
When involving more than one person, maintaining regular contact is key. This ensures that everyone stays on the same page, and that no one is left in the dark. Before entering into a surrogacy agreement with intended parents or an agency, pay attention to how quickly they respond to you.
In our world of technology, the expectation is for this to happen almost instantly, but that’s not realistic. A day or two, however, would be in a more appropriate range. Not to mention polite and respectful. Unless specifically told otherwise, of course. So, being left in the dark for weeks, is not acceptable and raises a red flag.
3. Something Feels Off
After the first meeting or two with an agency, you should have a good feel for how they operate. What they stand for, and what kind of support they could offer you. Similar with intended parents, after having a couple conversations. Everything appears nice on the surface, but your inner voice is having a field day. It’s using an onslaught of negative emotions: anxiety, restlessness, apprehension -- perhaps even nausea.
Your instincts have caught red flags that your conscious mind hasn’t yet. Beneath the smiles and friendly demeanor, there are some things that don’t add up. The intended parents seem intent on keeping their agreement with you a secret, and the agency doesn’t want to fully cooperate. Don’t ignore this. Always make sure that your carefully observing everything happening, even if you can’t acknowledge it right away.
4. Not Welcoming / Friendly
In the beginning, we all want to make a good impression, so it’s not uncommon for us to put our best foot forward. However, when it comes to surrogacy, you’ll want to be as upfront, honest and authentic as possible. Pay attention to how the agency and intended parents present themselves when you meet them in person. Are they welcoming? Do you sense any fakeness? How friendly are they?
Agencies and intended parents that are both fully invested in working with you should greet you with excitement. They should be eager and willing to answer any questions, to address any concerns that you have. Anything less than this should raise a red flag, and you should be cautious before proceeding further.
Everyone needs to make a living somehow, right? But, with something like surrogacy, there’s a fine line between the personal and business side of things. As a gestational carrier, you are gifting a family with a baby. You are allowing them to use your body, which is huge. Agencies and intended parents who truly understand this will give you the respect and support you deserve.
However, if the focus seems more on the money, then that’s not ok. Their priorities are mixed up. Or if you feel rushed or pressured in any way -- red flag. This shouldn’t happen. Your womb is not a rental space, just as the baby you’re gifting isn’t for sale. The surrogacy journey should never be financially driven.
6. No Record Online
With the Internet a click away, it’s easy to find anything and everything we want to know about a given topic. Thorough research before signing a contract, or entering into an agreement as intimate as surrogacy, is highly recommended. Carefully search an agency’s website, and read any posted reviews. Explore an intended parents’ social media page -- like Facebook -- if available.
Nowadays, you should have no problem locating the background information you need. Coming up dry is very unusual. Especially if the agency has been around for awhile.
Red Flags in Surrogacy
Whenever you are trying to make a decision -- big or small -- trust your instinct. Research how to stay better attuned to it. Even if all you feel is a vague sense of unrest or discomfort when you meet with potential intended parents or an agency, trust that. Your instinct is there for a reason, and seeks to keep you safe, happy and healthy.
Choosing an agency and intended parents to work with is a huge deal. It’s not a decision that should be taken lightly. With so many options available, it can become overwhelming very quickly. But if you listen to your instinct, you’ll learn that it only has your best interests at heart. It will help you navigate through the matching process, and show you the best fit for you as a gestational carrier.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Virginia Frank.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.