Episode 9 – Education – How do I find a surrogate in Australia?
🤷🏻♀️ This is the million dollar question isn’t it?
As Intended Parents (IPs) you will find a surrogate who is either known or unknown to you. Which one are you more likely to find? How many surrogate births are there in Australia each year?
Facebook group Australian Surrogacy Community (ASC)
Anna’s presentation: How to find a surrogate
Anna’s post: How to find a surrogate #101
Rebecca’s post: Spreading the Word
This page is part of a series of surrogacy education episodes from Anna. On the main podcast page you will find recent episodes and links to other categories: surrogates, gay dads, straight mums and guest / theme.
Join Anna McKie in conversation with surrogates and parents who have navigated Australian altruistic surrogacy. Anna is a gestational surrogate, high school Math teacher and surrogacy educator working with Surrogacy Australia and running SASS (Surrogacy Australia’s Support Service).
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How do I find a surrogate in Australia? In Australia we do altruistic surrogacy, which means we’re not paid as surrogates, and maybe that’s why less women consider stepping forward to be surrogates. As IPs, intended parents, you would find a known or an unknown surrogate. A known surrogate I would class as someone through an existing connection, perhaps a family member or a friend, or a friend of a friend.
An unknown surrogate will initially be a stranger, but will become a friend for life. Which one are you more likely to find? A known surrogate, be that a family member or perhaps through some friendship connection. There’s actually no national database, but a few of us within the community have collected data over the years. For some context, this is recorded in August, 2023, and there are approximately 100 to 120 births in Australia each year, but that is a growing number.
Three out of four teams are known to each other before surrogacy, so that’s about 75%, with the other 25% being made from unknown connections, meaning they found each other mainly through Facebook groups or perhaps one of the few introductions through SASS. SASS, which I run, is like an agency for surrogacy in Australia, but with support and friendship as its main goal. We do make some introductions through SASS.
But our primary aim is about offering mentoring and support, as well as education to empower IPs to find their own surrogate. So how do you find a known surrogate? You need to spread the word. You need to let your friends and family know, either in person or through an email or a Facebook post, that to be able to have a family, you need to find a generous woman to be your surrogate. I would advise to not ever ask a woman directly to be your surrogate, please. Don’t ever ask someone in an online group.
because that’s the etiquette that could get you kicked out. Being a surrogate or an egg donor is a gift and gifts need to be given, not asked for. So when you share with your friends and family that you have a need for a surrogate, don’t appear desperate, but give them the opportunity to do some research themselves. For example, you could direct them to this podcast series or the free webinars that I run. I’ll put a link in the show notes to a post written by my friend Rebecca titled, How to Write Your Family Update.
I wonder if any of you have had women offer in the past and say, oh, I could be your surrogate or donor, you’d make great parents. But their offers turned out not to be genuine or they weren’t able to help due to medical or family reasons. That can be really hard and deflating. So although you might get offers, they won’t all come to fruition. Friends might not have finished having their own family or even started. And it’s not for everyone. Just because you have a sister or a close female friend, not every woman feels called to be a surrogate. And that’s OK.
Those of us that have been surrogates and egg donors do feel like it’s a calling. We just know that it’s something that we can do. If you’re trying to find an unknown surrogate or an egg donor from online groups, then you need to be active. We say a surrogate can’t find you if she can’t see you. The two main Facebook groups are ASC, Australian Surrogacy Community, and EDA, Egg Donation Australia. The number of surrogates to IPs, nobody knows. It could be one to four, maybe even one to 100. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.
but how do you stand out and how do you get picked? Because in reality, it’s not how do you find a surrogate if it’s an unknown surrogate, it’s how does she find you? Active can mean doing your own posts in these Facebook groups, but I would advise to not do that as often as commenting on other posts and supporting other IPs. Don’t just say hello to new surrogates when they come along. By supporting IPs, a potential surrogate can see how you treat other people and that might draw her to you. Also be prepared to attend real life catch-ups.
Now each state-based Facebook group lists their catch-ups in person once every few months. I’m passionate about engaging with the community and finding a surrogate without being on Facebook, though. As a surrogate, I had to rejoin Facebook to find that community seven years ago. That’s one of the reasons why I started the webinars that I run and the Zoom catch-ups so that you can find community outside of Facebook. Surrogacy Australia hosts catch-ups through Zoom one Friday of each month.
They’re hosted by an experienced surrogate, so do please consider coming along one month. They’re attended by people at all stages of their journey. So it is IPs at the beginning, those who are pregnant, and then those who are parents through surrogacy, they come back and share their stories. And then surrogates who are new attend, those who are looking for IPs, those who are pregnant, and then those like myself who are experienced. There’s only one first time at these sessions, so do consider coming along. Back to what it means to be active as IPs.
The amount of time needed to invest in the Facebook groups can almost feel like an extra job, like an extra part-time job. It can be hard to keep track of everyone, where people are up to, what discussions are happening, what dramas are going on. So if you don’t feel like you’ve got the capacity or energy for this sort of self-promotion, or you don’t use Facebook much, or you’re more private people, perhaps joining SaaS is a better option for you, or certainly trying to spread the word about needing a surrogate among your own family and friends.
because as I said before, you are statistically more likely to find a surrogate through a known connection. Consider leaning on your family and friends and asking them to tell their connections because sometimes that’s how you find a surrogate through a friend of a friend. I hope that has helped to give you some ideas about how to find a known or an unknown surrogate, or perhaps it’s actually more about how she finds you as intended parents.
I’ll link to a presentation that I gave at a growing families conference a few years ago, which explains that you’re not trying to find a surrogate, you’re trying to find a friend. So think about how you would make new friends. And when you’ve done that in the past, when you’ve joined a new workplace or a new sporting group, how did you make friends? What did you share about yourself and what interest did you show in other people? Those principles are the same in the surrogacy community as well. Come in with the idea of making friends, not so much finding a surrogate and you’ll…
develop a community around you and a village of supporters. If you’re looking for more support from me one-on-one, register for SASS at surrogacyaustralia.org and think of me as your Siri for surrogacy. Until next time, welcome to the village.
Looking to find a surrogate in Australia? Consider joining SASS.
Looking for an overview of surrogacy? Join us in a free, fortnightly Wednesday night webinar.
Looking to chat with other IPs and surrogates in a casual setting? Join us for a monthly Zoom catch up, one Friday of each month.