The mediator’s primary role is to act as a neutral third party who facilitates discussions between those involved. A mediator is a person with patience, persistence, and common sense. They are not a “judge” who decides the terms of the resolution, but rather a facilitator who uses their skills to fashion a solution. As he/she moves the parties through a process of effective listening and constructive communication, it permits the articulation of each party’s point of view while providing a neutral evaluation of the evidence of the dispute. Through a predefined step-by-step process, the mediator will nudge the parties towards a compromise that all parties are willing to recognize.
An important element of mediation is that it is often held in private, outside of the domain of the general public. Confidentiality is often an important element in the field of third-party reproduction.
Each mediator will have their own step-by-step process. However, for the most part, they will typically follow this formula:
- Mediator will ask for a written report from both sides and will host a private conversation with each party (or their attorney) to fully understand the dispute in question.
- They will then communicate through a joint call or send a document to both parties, giving a general statement about what she/he sees as the issue(s) involved. In essence, the mediator will objectively lay out what he/she feels are the main issue(s) of the dispute. This process permits both sides to gain a more realistic view of the opposing party’s perspective, which until this time may not have been clearly understood by those involved.
- They will ask for any documentation that will assist in the understanding of the case.
- The mediator will then request a session in which all parties are available either in the same location (but often separate rooms), or available by phone or Zoom for a prescribed amount of time. They will often start the resolution process by proposing a solution and asking each party to comment, critique and add to that proposal if needed. Every discussion that the mediator has is confidential and each side agrees what part of that discussion can be revealed to the other.
- The mediator has no power to enforce a resolution. Their role is to assist the parties in their negotiations by identifying the obstacles to settlement and offering strategies to overcome those concerns.
- Unlike attorneys or lawyers who may typically indulge in ‘posturing’, a mediator will continue to work with each party to try and move them towards a mutually agreeable resolution – not take sides.
- The mediation process is designed to foster compromise and a better understanding of the situation from the other party’s perspective. Since all sides participate in the solution, this often leads to mutual satisfaction with the outcome, leaving all parties in a better state of mind.
- Preservation of the relationship is key in the field of third-party reproduction, especially if a pregnancy is ongoing. The advantage of the process is that it encourages everyone to focus on effective communication of the issues as opposed to attacking each other – while providing a non-emotive, objective third party evaluation of their respective positions.
Mediation is a process that is fair and impartial – where each party has an equal say in the resolution of the dispute. There is no determination of guilt or innocence, or of one party being right or wrong. The final resolution is typically due to the combined efforts of everyone and often requires all parties to compromise, all of which can save this important relationship. Finally, mediation offers faster outcomes that a lengthy trial.
If there is a dispute or misunderstanding between an intended parent and their pregnant surrogate, a mental health mediator could be instrumental in getting the relationship back on track so all parties can participate in the remainder of the pregnancy and delivery. If there is a dispute with a medical facility, rather than resorting to legal action that can take years and be costly, a mediator may be able to resolve the situation to the satisfaction of all parties. When a dispute arises between an agency and the intended parents, instead of heated arguments that often result in unkind works and poor reviews on online forums, a mediator can uncover the true issues and offer a solution. Participating in mediation does not preclude the party’s rights to legal action. However, a good mediator can resolve a situation professionally, quickly and to everyone’s mutual satisfaction.
If you ever find yourself in a dispute, we encourage you to give mediation a chance of resolving the issue, permitting everyone to move ahead with creating a family your choice.