Baden and I are currently in the ‘matching’ phase of our surrogacy journey. For those unfamiliar with the term, it means we are currently trying to match with a surrogate but have not yet found ‘the one’. This is an exciting but nerve-wracking part of the surrogacy journey and one that is incredibly important. Having a solid surrogate/IP relationship is the core of ensuring a smooth journey for all.
Many people have told us that matching is a lot like dating. So far, this seems pretty true. Trying to find a match is much more involved than just determining mutual availability and timelines – we’d love to find someone to laugh with, cry with, and make lifelong memories with. Since the last time I began dating someone I knocked it out of the park and met my perfect person, I have decided to reapply the same dating principles in surrogacy matching (with less emphasis on my killer dance moves and even fewer sprays of cologne) as I did back then. Lucky for you, I’m happy to share.
Allow me to introduce you to the concept of IEP Dating and how Baden and I plan to utilize it in our surrogacy journey.
In IEP dating, we consider three major attributes of a potential partner. These are Intellectual (I), Emotional (E), and Physical (P). Physical attributes are obvious and speak to whether you find your partner physically attractive. Emotional attributes are qualities that evoke a common emotion (i.e. things you have in common). Baden and I both love similar music (Billy Joel), food (juicy burgers), and travel, for instance. We also have a mutual love for Georgian Bay where we both have family cottages.
Intellectual attributes, often the most overlooked, are certainly the most important. These are your core values: What religion do you practice? How do you plan on practicing it when you raise your family? How do you vote? What is your parenting style? What makes a good role model?
People are often afraid to discuss such heavy topics on a first date and I don’t blame them! However, these are important values that are non-negotiables in how you plan to live your life. If they aren’t settled right out of the gate, I can almost guarantee your relationship will end in heartbreak.
A relationship that shares I/E attributes is that of a friend. This is someone you have a lot in common with, but you never really found them attractive.
A relationship that shares E/P attributes, is that of a short-term boyfriend or girlfriend. You may have a lot in common with them and find them attractive, but eventually, your core values will not completely align.
A relationship that shares I/P attributes, however, is that of a friend with benefits. You may be physically attracted, and intellectually stimulated, but eventually, you will run out of things you have in common.
Only a relationship that checks all three I-E-P boxes is a partner for life. I’m pretty confident I’ve found mine in Baden.
IEP Dating and Surrogacy
People often say you should avoid politics and religion on a date. Why? These are areas you’re likely to find conflict because they are core intellectual values. If you’re not in line with these, you’re probably wasting your time. If you aren’t using the IEP approach, it could be easy to avoid such topics until you’re emotionally invested. Only then do you realize that someone you’re crazy about has one of your deal-breakers. In this case, you both get hurt. In surrogacy ‘dating’, these difficult topic areas are things like genetic testing, termination, selective reduction, pumping breastmilk, how to resolve conflict, and expense management.
After some light get-to-know-you chit-chat (family, work, previous pregnancies, hobbies), Baden and I think it’s important to discuss the aforementioned tough topics. While they can be heavy for a ‘first date’, it’s worth being upfront and transparent. As IPs, this protects us from investing time in a relationship that can’t progress due to conflicting feelings on values. For example, many surrogates want a close relationship with the families they are helping that spans longer than the pregnancy. If that’s not what you’re looking for, that’s okay. Don’t betray her trust if that’s not what you want.
If it’s meant to be, it will be and we know our Ms. Right is right around the corner. Our journey has already led us to meet the most incredible couples and surrogates from around the world and we cant wait to have matches like theirs.
While their is no right way to ‘match,’ the IEP dating suggestion has worked for us so far. We would love to hear how you found your match and what you recommend too!
Have a great weekend!