Dear Savvy Surrogate: Intended Parent Extreme Requests

Dear Savvy Surrogate: I’m really worried my IPs are going to make extreme requests. I’ve heard some horror stories on some surrogate Facebook groups. Is there any way to avoid this? What can New England Surrogacy do for me if this happens? -No drama needed

Hi, No Drama,

Totally understandable! No one wants to deal with drama. Being pregnant, especially with a surrogate baby, is stressful enough. You don’t need to deal with crazy train requests. First, let’s just get on the same page about surrogate social media groups. They are amazing for  information and support, to ask questions and to know you aren’t alone; however, as with anything, keep in mind that it’s much more likely that someone will post the bad or scary stories than the boring ones that end up turning out great. No one is posting (generally) that their match is going well and is uneventful. You’re going to hear about the surrogate whose intended parents won’t let her eat gluten, dairy, peanuts, meat or anything that starts with the letter B (okay, I just threw that one in there). Or the dads who insist on hourly updates. Every. Single. Day. Or the intended mother who doesn’t want you to leave the house EVER for fear that something awful will happen to you and thus the baby. 

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about New England’s matching process. We really focus on personal matching. We don’t have a book you flip through or an online catalog of intended parents and gestational carriers. We present profiles and have match meetings only after we carefully review both the surrogate and intended parent(s) to see if we think it would be a good match. We really focus on personal matching, meaning making the right fit for you and the IPs; making sure that your morals, ideals, wants and requests are similar. We work hard to get to know you and the IPs before matching you. We want you to be comfortable with who you are matched with and be able to build that relationship with each other throughout the process. We discuss special requests or any preferences the IPs, or you, might have during the pregnancy during the match meeting. You always have a choice, we do not just match the next two in line. It’s not fewer choices, it’s better choices!

Now, maybe you are okay with eating totally organic and never leaving your house…and if so, we will match you with the perfect intended parents. Maybe you have four kids of your own and your main diet consists of the mac n cheese and chicken nuggets your kids left on their plates. If so, there’s a match for you, too. 

If there are special requests, besides being brought up at the match meeting, they get brought up in the legal process. Any specific preferences and requests are put into the contract (as they have to be agreed upon by all parties).  There should be no surprise special requests

We have heard some crazy stories as well and we are going to share them, just for fun. But be forewarned, these are EXTREME and NOT typical. 

    • Eating only organic – not a ridiculously extreme request but can be a costly one, you may want to discuss with your lawyer having a larger monthly or grocery stipend.

    • GPS Tracking the GC – Not sure who would agree to this, but you never know ;-).

    • No dying hair. No manicures or pedicures. These can be more typically depending on your OB and their approval.  

    • No doing any exercise except walking. No Yoga. No Marathons. For some of us this isn’t even an issue ;-). You definitely want to consult the clinic and your OB before exercise anyway. It may also vary and change throughout the process.

    • No using the microwave or being within 10 feet of a microwave. I would say this is a little out there, but remember there is probably a reason why the IPs see this as important.

    • No having your cell phone near your mid-section. No cell phone near stomach unless in airplane mode.

    • Travel restrictions can cause difficulties. What if something happens to an out-of-state loved one..? Each contract will have some travel restrictions because of the court order in place and where the child needs to be born, but we’ve heard of some pretty extreme requests, such as never being more than 20 miles from the hospital the GC was planning to give birth at.

    • No jumping on a pogo stick. 

    • No x-rays machine at airport—pat down only (I personally did do this one without being requested, just to be safe).

    • Milk – everything from no milk/dairy, to a specific amount and kind.

    • Fish – specific kinds, limitations or expectations to eat a certain kind.

    • No going to farms or petting the animals.

    • No eating pork.  

    • No high fructose corn syrup. 

    • Only olive oil for cooking.

As far as what to do if your intended parent(s) make a crazy request mid-pregnancy that you did not discuss ahead of time—this is the beauty of going with New England Surrogacy. We’re here to be in the middle and can help handle it for you with the intended parent(s) so that you can avoid any awkward conversations. And, if it wasn’t in the contract to begin with, you are not legally obligated to abide by the request. We will work hard to find the right match for you. Remember these are called extreme for a reason. Always feel free to talk with our team about your concerns and if you are nervous about any requests in particular.  

Ready to become a gestational carrier?