It is often said that when looking for a surrogate, that one should start by putting feelers out among family and friends, or by doing a little networking in your wider social circle. There may just be a cousin, someone you went to school with, or a friend of a friend whose interest you’ll pique… One “low pressure” way of doing this is by composing a family update which can then be shared. It’s also a great opportunity to inform people of your intentions to pursue surrogacy and fill them in on the basics, as well as strengthen your support network…
Below is a guide as to how you can structure your update. It’s by no means the be all and end all, but can be used as a starting point.
Composing your family update
You can open your update by summarising what you and your partner, or family, have been up to in recent times including work, holidays, special events etc.
You can then move on to sharing where you’re up to in starting or extending your family. You can share as much or as little as you feel comfortable, but given that you’re about to bring up surrogacy/egg donation, the need for taking that step should be obvious (if you’re not gay). “Our fertility specialist has suggested we seek… “ or “ Carrying a baby will endanger my life as well as theirs” makes it pretty clear. You can then go on to inform everybody that you have begun investigating surrogacy/egg donation.
Anticipate what questions or comments would arise from telling people that you intend on pursuing surrogacy/egg donation. You may like to include the legalities of altruistic and commercial surrogacy in Australia including the inability to advertise, the difference between traditional and gestational surrogacy, whether you have already created embryos and whose gametes you’ve used, the fact that there’s no set criteria for potential surrogates except for a broad age range, and your desired level of involvement in your surrogate’s life/family, the pregnancy, and afterwards.
Next, outline what you’d like to achieve from having shared your update. Support? Help in educating others? Spreading the word in hope that you’ll connect with somebody who can help? Where can people go if they show any interest or if somebody they know asks for further information?
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your family dream?
End on a positive note.
Points to Consider:
- Try to make your update predominantly positive. That doesn’t mean glossing over any trauma you’ve experienced, but acknowledging it and keep your update moving.
- Do not directly ask anybody to be your surrogate/donor. Your update puts the ball in the court of anybody who may be interested in helping you – let them approach you in their own time.
- Use your update as an opportunity to educate and inform. This is your chance to garner support as well as share the facts. Many of your update recipients won’t even be aware of the basics of surrogacy.
- If you follow this guide as gospel, it could be very easy to end up with an update which is formulaic and lacking personality or feeling. Make it your own.
- Have somebody proofread your update. It certainly doesn’t have to be university standard, but it’s always good to have someone spot any obvious mistakes and ensure it makes sense.
- How do you plan on sending out your update? Who are you sharing it with? Does it cross the “advertising” line?
Hoping this is of some help to people wondering how to put it out there. It can be a daunting prospect, but you just never know what may happen as a result. Worst case scenario it’ll reinforce the love and support of your nearest and dearest.
Best of luck to you all! Here’s hoping your family update is the start of an exciting chapter in your family’s life…
[[ A Guide to Writing a Family Update, also known as “Spreading the Word” // Rebecca, ASC member ]]