What it’s like to be matched as a surrogate with Brilliant Beginnings
Being a surrogate can be a lengthy process, and a highly rewarding one, but before you go on the journey there are parts that feel mysterious simply because you haven’t been through them before. Having seen the process from both sides (as a BB surrogate and now as a BB Case Manager doing the matching), I can say that it is an in-depth, personal and unique process which involves a lot of thought and care from real people who know everyone involved really well.
To help demystify the Brilliant Beginnings matching process for surrogates, I wanted to share my experience, from screening and preparation to meeting my intended parents.
Being guided through the matching process
While going through my own surrogacy screening and preparation with Brilliant Beginnings, I was naturally curious about how I would be matched with intended parents. I had fantasies about computer programs being used and data being entered about both teams to identify the perfect match. It turned out to be a much more personal matching process.
I was guided through the match process so seamlessly by both my Surrogate Manager Teresa and Client Manager Laura, with each step naturally leading into the next. A big part of it was helping me to explore what I wanted out of my journey as a surrogate, listening to me and making me really think about it.
Quickly into my application process I realised that I envisaged my journey to be with a same-sex couple. In my life before BB, same-sex relationships were something that I encountered on a daily basis. That is what felt right to me, but everyone is uniquely different, which means their match must also be uniquely right for them.
Throughout my screening, the team was getting to know everything about me – my values, what made me tick, my communication style – and so I knew that all of this went into a carefully made decision about who would be suggested to me as a good match.
The nerves and excitement of a potential match
The first stage of the structured match took place shortly after my screening and preparation when Teresa, Laura and I had a chat about my potential match. Towards the end of the call, Laura told me that they had a couple in mind and asked if I would like to know more about them! This is when I started to think that this was actually happening, and thought, ‘I’m really doing this’. Excitement and a bit of nervousness started to kick in. The BB team were also speaking with my prospective intended parents and being asked if they would like to know more about me too.
Once everyone had given the go ahead to find out more about each other, I received the intended parents’ profile pack (and they received mine). This was my first look at the intended parents I had already heard so much about.
The intended parents’ profile pack
Within the profile pack was some basic information about them, their ‘Dear Surrogate’ letter, photographs of them and references written by their friends. Wow! These people were real! They had received a profile pack about me too and I couldn’t wait to know: What did they think of me? Would they want me to be their surrogate? After reading through all of their information I decided to take the plunge and tell BB that I wanted to ‘meet’ them. They did too. So a match call was arranged.
Meeting for the first time
I felt nervous before the match call (via Zoom). I was meeting people who were putting so much faith into me to help them achieve their family. Having their ‘Dear surrogate’ letter and photographs beforehand helped me to get a better sense of them, but the prospect of actually ‘seeing’ them and speaking to them for the first time was nerve-wracking. The BB Team were great throughout, helping us through that first conversation and guiding us to get through it all as easily as possible.
Then after this initial call, I had to make the big decision. Did I want to form a team with them? And then agonizing over whether they liked me and would want to move forward with me too. I didn’t have to wait long.
I received a call from BB soon after to say that the intended parents wanted to work with me! I confirmed that I did too. Well, the agonizing was over and the excitement kicked in. A match had been made and our journey together had begun.
We received contact details for one another, and were encouraged to get to know each other better and build our relationship. Since then we have had zoom calls, lots of messages and even been able to meet up a few times, getting to know each other more fully. I am happy to report that I couldn’t have been matched with a better couple. We all have busy lives, but have the right balance to be able to continue our journey together. BB got it right, and since starting at BB as a case manager, I have heard this a lot from other surrogates and intended parents.
Since being matched we have been able to focus our efforts on getting to know one another and not be concerned about discussing expenses, or having awkward conversations about our views around termination because this had already been noted and shared in our Profile documents, before we’d even met and meant that we didn’t have to worry too much about not agreeing on major aspects. The pressure really was off and we could concentrate on the lighter side of things, building a friendship and developing a good solid relationship, knowing that the important stuff had already been dealt with.
Matching from the other side (as a surrogate case manager)
In my role as a BB case manager, identifying potential matches of surrogates and intended parents is still just as nerve-wracking as when I was learning more about my own intended parents. The BB team takes a lot of time and effort getting to know you, finding out what makes you tick and knowing what could suit you and what would not, and the whole team takes enormous care to get the matches right. It is all done very personally, and the importance of making it perfect so that the matched teams can continue their journeys together seamlessly cannot be underestimated.
My advice to anyone having help from BB, whether you are a surrogate or intended parent, is to be as open and honest as possible. How do you visualize your journey? What kind(s) of people do you get on with? The more information about you and your likes and dislikes they have, the easier it is for BB to know who is the best match for you. There are no wrong or right answers, and there will be questions the BB team ask you that you hadn’t considered before. It is ok (and commonplace) to take time to think, and to change your mind before settling your thoughts!
The team at BB definitely live all of these moments with every team they support. Now in my role as a Case Manager, I feel as if I’m going through the emotions of becoming a surrogate all over again. For us here at BB, we try to make everything as easy as possible. We want to give you all the best and most rewarding journey, just like my own journey right now. I could not be happier to give you the same opportunities I had, and with the rest of the team we will all do everything we can to make your match unique and perfect.
By Nicky Reid, Case Manager & Brilliant Surrogate