As you can imagine, the parent-surrogate relationship is not one that most people would ever think about unless they find themselves smack in the middle of one. It’s not something they teach you at home or in school, and until very recently it was not one that was featured in pop culture or the movies. There are things about it that are unique to any other relationship, and we thought it might be helpful to list ten tips for a great parent-surrogate relationship. Got something to add? Let us know!

1)Go to the transfer! This is the ultimate bonding moment between you and your surrogate. Believe us, you want to be there if you can.

2)Stay consistently in touch with your surrogate. Remember, your surrogate wants you to be involved. She is doing this to change your life. Stay in contact with her. If you think about her during the day, shoot her a text and tell her so.A kind word can really make her day.

3)Set aside some time each week to chat by phone or Skype. We find that a regularly designated time works best. Sundayevenings are often a convenient time. Let this take a position of priority in your schedule – it’s good for everyone!

4)When talking with your surrogate, make sure to ask about more than just the pregnancy.  For instance, how is she liking that (prenatal) fitness class? Are her kids having fun at soccer? How is her partner’s job going? Finding ways to connect about your lives outside of the pregnancy will forge a stronger bond, and will make it clear that you are interested in her as a person. It’s also important to make her partner feel included.

5) When you do talk about the pregnancy, give her ways to connect with you beyond asking how she is feeling physically. Tell her how you are preparing for the baby that she is carrying for you. Show her photos of that nursery you are working on, or let her know that you bought a crib. She enjoys seeing how excited  you are about this baby!

6)Try not to micro-manage. Remember, she’s been pregnant before, and she has been through a rigorous screening process before being matched as a surrogate. Unless you think that you have a valid reason to be worried, don’t sweat the small stuff! No one wants to be asked for a full accounting of everything they ate on a given day.

7) If you do have a valid reason to be concerned about something – bring it to us here at Shared Conception, and let us be the “bad cop.” We will broach the issue with your surrogate so that you don’t have to have an uncomfortable conversation. We want you to be able to focus on the positives, and let us handle any negatives.

8)Try to be involved in the big pregnancy appointments, such as the gender ultrasound. If you are an international IP, this is a bit more challenging – but think about Skyping into the appointment, or doing a FaceTime chat during the sonogram.

9)Leave the money issues to us. Our surrogacy agency, Shared Conception, is here to handle the financial process, and to keep you from having to have financial conversations with your surrogate. Should you have questions about your funds, we are always happy to provide an accounting.

10)Be mindful of social media. Both the IPs and the surrogate should maintain an appropriate level of confidentiality and respect. As fascinating as it was, your surrogate probably doesn’t want every nitty gritty personal detail of her obstetric appointments posted on your Facebook page – and vice versa! Sometimes less is more.

Remember that if you are open to letting the relationship develop organically and cultivatean  open and regular communication, this can be an amazing time of sharing and bonding with someone who is doing this because she wants to help you realize a dream. Embrace it!