The Beginning – Matching Phase
Written by Chantale Chevalier
When I decided to become a surrogate, I had so many questions. This was all so new to me. One of my biggest concerns was not being able to match with a couple that was in my area. It was important to me to find someone I could physically meet and be a part of the journey with. I wasn’t sure I would find everything I was looking for when it came to Intended Parents (IPs). I’m the type that likes to have all the options available and then narrow it down from there.
Where to start?! Which agency am I going to work with?! Who has IPs that are close to me?! Honestly, this was the most important thing to me at the time. I wanted a couple that was close to me, because I wanted to see the little nugget and family grow up together. I had something so specific in mind and thought this was exactly what I wanted – zero compromising.
So how do you choose an agency? There are so many of them! Some agencies are bigger and have more IPs to choose from, while others already know who they want to match you with, and then there are those that run a surrogacy agency as a side gig. So many things to consider! So I sent in applications to a bunch of them. One agency was so eager and persistent to get me to sign a contract to be exclusively tied to them, even after I told them I’d hold off a bit. Another agency answered a month later, by which I had already been medically screened, cleared and also matched. Other agencies aren’t even worth mentioning because of the bad vibe they give off. And then there’s Angela and her community. I have no idea how her agency came into my hands, but she popped up and to be perfectly honest, I’m happy she did. She reached out through private message immediately and things just felt right. She was genuinely interested in getting to know me, where I was from and ready to answer any and all questions I had. She was real and I could feel it. So of course I signed up with Canadian Surrogacy Community. Their program is different and it’s one of the many reasons why I chose them. They focus is on connection and communication which is amazing! I wasn’t sure what to expect when signing up with a surrogacy program like hers, but I definitely didn’t expect such a great and supportive community of women!
So once the decision was made to sign up with Angela’s program, she gave me the list of things I would need to get cleared medically first. Before that medical clearance, I only had access to ID cards (small snippet of each IP’s story). The short paragraph is designed to pull you in to read their full profile. Of all the ID cards I read, there was ONE that I found more intriguing and thought, “Hmmm, if there’s a chance that I’d match here, it would probably be with them.”
With Canadian Surrogacy Community, you get access to the profiles only after you’re screened and know you qualify to be a surrogate. I loved this idea because why get IPs excited about finding a surrogate, only to have their surrogate not pass the screening part. It’s a lot less stressful when you already know that you passed the preliminary tests and have less of a chance of crushing a set of IPs hearts after matching.
Once I was cleared by Angela at CSC, I got access to all IP profiles and started reading away. Wow! So many touching stories and it makes you want to help each and every one of them. For someone who had something specific in mind, I had no problems with falling in love with all their profiles. This was exciting, but at the same time a little overwhelming. I was constantly going over every profile and wondering how I will choose just one? It was recommended to take your time reading the profiles carefully and only choose about 3 to 5 IPs to speak with. Being a surrogate with zero knowledge coming into this, I definitely appreciate the guidance I got from Angela with all of this. I couldn’t imagine people jumping into this process without support? I’m extremely glad I found Angela.
Once I read their profiles, I couldn’t wait to talk with them and get to know them all better. So I chose five couples. Angela had worked with her team to build a great profile for myself. So after I chose the five couples I wanted to engage with, she emailed them my pdf profile for them to read. It’s so weird being on showcase like that. I kept thinking, “Omg, are they going to like me?” “What are they going to think?!” “What if my main couples choose not to speak with me?!” “What if they only like me for my uterus?!” Let’s be honest, that is exactly why they like you, for your beautiful uterus – at first anyways!
Let the dating begin! I heard from each of them within two days and met with them all within a week. I tend to follow my gut and I already knew at that point I wasn’t going to match with a few of them, but I also wanted to give everyone a fair chance. Some people are always shy at first and need time to come out of their bubble, so I wanted to give them that time. After that first chaotic week of getting to know everyone all at once, I was able to narrow it down to two couples.
Regardless, if the IPs weren’t on my top list, it was still hard to “break up” with them. How do you tell someone, “Sorry, I’m not carrying your baby” nicely? As nice as you say it, the reality is you have to disappoint four couples. You know that every surrogate they talk to makes them feel hopeful, and they think, “Maybe this is the one!” Crushing their dreams really sucks. Yes, they do understand that you can only have one pregnancy at a time and can’t choose everyone, but it’s still a tough decision to make. A lot of people want answers as to why they didn’t get chosen and if there’s any advice I could give them moving forward. I’m an open book so I talked to each of them about it.
After each breakup, I cried like a big baby. Breakups are hard. These ones hit even harder than breaking up from a relationship. You just have to keep telling yourself that you can only carry for one person/couple and you are helping someone with their dream – one baby at a time.
For couple A, I had a great time talking to them and everything flowed easily. I got myself thinking, yes, I could really see myself carrying for them! But then I video chatted with couple B for the first time and it was game over. It felt like I had known them forever and everything was just right. When it clicks, it just clicks. I’ve never even had a relationship that clicked like this did. Call me cheesy, but I knew it was meant to be. And yes, if you are wondering, that was the couple from the ID card I pointed out in the beginning.
Now to tell the IPs the exciting news that I will carry their baby! My kids wanted in on the fun too so we decided to share a “bun in the oven” style of announcement. They were so happy that I matched with them – it felt so good to be able to share this (and my uterus) with them.