Pros and cons of self matching

Self matching can be completely overwhelming. I know from experience, I am on my second independently matched surrogacy journey. When you self match, everything is in your hands. If you forget a step, things can go very badly. You need to know how to navigate the very complex process of surrogacy. It’s not easy and it tends to not go as smoothly as when you use an agency.

Several years ago I applied to an agency for egg donation. I didn’t know anything about agencies, I just picked the first one that came up when I googled agencies in my area. I went to that agency to start the initial paperwork. After I passed the initial steps, the agency informed me that they had a high demand for gestational surrogates and said I was the perfect candidate for it. Surrogacy was something I planned on doing after I donated eggs but since the demand was high it got me thinking about skipping egg donation and becoming a surrogate sooner than planned.

I completed all of the steps within a week and was cleared to be a surrogate. Then I waited…and waited. Four months later I got a call that a local couple wanted to meet me. My husband and I met with them. They were a sweet couple but the agency ignored everything that I requested out of the process, it was all about the intended parent’s wants. I had informed the agency that I will only work with a couple who will get my breastmilk for 6 months to a year after the birth and I would like to birth out of the hospital in a free-standing birth center. This couple was never told about the possibility of breastmilk and they wanted the birth to be in a hospital with a level 4 NICU. The agency was terrible to me when I confronted them about my concern that they hadn’t listened to me. They told me I would never find IPs who would allow me to birth out of the hospital. I felt ignored and taken advantage of, I was just a dollar sign to them. So, I fired the agency and started the independent search.

Within a week, a friend introduced me to another couple. We met a few times for coffee. We thought we were all aligned until they let it slip that they weren’t going to tell the baby that he/she was carried by a surrogate. When we first met they said they would be honest with their child, but a few weeks later, that changed. I didn’t feel comfortable with the dishonesty and told them it wasn’t a good fit.

Finally, while perusing facebook, a post on a birth page caught my eye. A local midwife was asking if anyone knew of a surrogate for her brother and his partner. I immediately messaged her and was up front about my wants and needs for the process. I figured since she was a midwife, maybe her brother would be educated about out of hospital births. She got me in touch with her brother and bro-in-law and we had a nice facetime session. The IPs then flew out to meet me and see where I lived. We were all on board with each other’s requests. After that meeting we all decided to work with each other. A year and a half from that meeting, I gave birth to their son.

My second journey has started out much easier. We are long time friends with the IPs this time. We were all willing to move fast and we did the entire process, probably in record time! We facetimed on Mother’s Day to discuss doing this together and by August I was pregnant with their son. This time I had to self match because I gave birth to the last surro-babe at 34 weeks, so that disqualifies me from working with an agency. Since that baby was 6lbs and the pediatrician said if she didn’t know better, she would have thought he was full term, my current IPs were comfortable working with me even with that history.

I would have loved to work with an agency this time. With an agency there is always someone there to mediate if needed. Someone is always looking out for you. You don’t have to know anything about the surrogacy process because the agency will walk you through every step and make sure everything is done correctly. As a surrogate, I do not like asking my IPs to reimburse me, it’s awkward and uncomfortable. With an agency, it is all done through them so you don’t need to talk about money with your IPs after contracts are signed. It’s a huge weight off of everyone’s shoulders.

A really great thing about Montana Surrogacy is we ask a lot of questions so we can make great matches. We won’t match you with someone who has completely different views than you. We want this process so go as smooth as possible for everyone and the best way to do that is to have everyone on the same page.

Amber Campanelli ~ The Honest Surrogate