Once you know that you’re ready to work with a surrogacy agency for your surrogacy journey, the next step is finding the best surrogacy agency for you. With so many options out there, how do you find out which one is perfect for you?
The best surrogacy agencies today are the ones that are happy to sit down with you, explain their services and answer any questions you might have. When you choose a surrogacy agency, you’re committing to a year or more with the same professional — so it’s immensely important that you are confident they’re the right choice from the start.
Before committing to a certain professional, all intended parents and prospective surrogates should take the time to speak with the prospective surrogacy agency and learn more about their services. When you do so, there are some important questions to ask this surrogacy agency.
1. What is your screening process for intended parents and prospective surrogates?
The best surrogate agencies make sure that all parties involved in the surrogacy process are prepared physically, mentally and emotionally for the challenges ahead of them. This means not only educating them about the responsibilities and risks of the surrogacy process, but also completing criminal background screenings, medical tests, psychological evaluations and more. Your surrogacy journey will be an intimate partnership for a year or more, which is why it’s so important that the person(s) involved with your surrogacy are just as committed and prepared for the process as you are. The top surrogacy agencies should be prepared to explain their screening processes in detail to alleviate any concerns you may have.
2. What are the services that you offer intended parents and surrogates?
Because there is no licensing agency that requires surrogacy agencies to offer the same kind of services, the extent of these services may vary from agency to agency. The best surrogacy agencies will serve as a one-stop shop for you, meaning they’ll take care of everything from case management to matching to connecting you with an attorney. Depending on your experience with surrogacy, you may have specific services you want taken care of during your surrogacy journey. Use this question to make sure that your surrogacy goals and preferences are met by a particular surrogacy agency.
3. What is your agency’s history?
While surrogacy is still a new and rapidly advancing industry, there are surrogacy agencies that have existed for decades. Therefore, they have more experience in the surrogacy process and know what works best for intended parents and prospective surrogates in terms of services provided. The top surrogacy agencies have long histories of matching and case management with family-building processes and should be happy to explain their company history in more detail. They should also be forthcoming with how many successful surrogacies they have completed (as well as how they define “successful”) and how they take steps to ensure their processes are continually up to date.
4. What kind of legal assistance do you provide?
While not all surrogacy agencies provide an in-house surrogacy attorney, your surrogacy professional should be able to provide you referrals to trusted lawyers who meet the standards of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys. They should also be able to explain exactly what their relationship is like with attorneys — do they help coordinate legal paperwork, or leave that up to the attorney and surrogacy participants? Are those fees separate or included in their agency costs? The legal process of surrogacy can be complicated, but the best surrogacy agencies will be experienced in the laws that apply to your surrogacy journey.
5. What are your agency costs for surrogacy?
Obviously, this is an important question to ask when you’re an intended parent considering a surrogacy agency (surrogates need not worry — the cost of surrogacy will always be covered for you). It’s important that you’re able to afford your surrogacy journey and, even with financing and budgeting, there’s likely a number that you don’t want to cross. The top surrogacy agencies will be completely upfront with their fees. If you’re speaking with a professional who is vague on exactly what you might pay to have a child through surrogacy, that’s a very bad sign.
Surrogacy agency costs can be expensive, but remember — the cost of a surrogacy program directly corresponds with the level of services they can offer you. Because surrogacy can be a complicated process, especially for newcomers, many prospective surrogates and intended parents find the best surrogacy agencies are those who offer a great deal of case management and additional services — which they discover end up being well worth the cost.
6. How involved will I be in the surrogacy process?
Top surrogacy agencies understand how important your surrogacy goals are to your upcoming journey. Whether you’re a prospective surrogate or intended parent, you likely have an idea of what your surrogacy will look like — and the best surrogacy agencies take your preferences into account and tailor your journey around them.
Before deciding on a surrogacy agency, it’s important that you discover exactly how involved you will be in the process. Are you able to choose your own surrogate or intended parent? Will the surrogacy agency make it possible for you to get to know each other? Will your surrogacy specialist always be there to field your questions and concerns along the way, or will you be left not knowing how things are progressing?
The degree of involvement that you want in your surrogacy journey is a personal decision you need to make, and it’s important that you find a surrogacy agency who allows you to meet what you desire.
7. What are your requirements for joining your agency?
Finally, one of the best ways to choose a surrogacy agency is by making sure that you fit the agency’s requirements for intended parents and prospective surrogates. The best surrogacy agencies have similar requirements for all their intended parents and all their surrogates, as they’ve discovered over the years which requirements indicate that someone is fully prepared to commit to the surrogacy process.
That being said, there may always be exceptions to the rule. If you don’t meet a certain agency’s requirements and wish to work with them, you may consider contacting them, explaining your situation and requesting an exception to the rule.
Deciding which surrogacy agency to use is a big choice to make, so it’s important that all intended parents and prospective surrogates do their research to determine which kind of surrogacy agency meets their personal surrogacy goals. There are many top surrogacy agencies out there to choose from; the final decision will always be up to you and what’s best for your family. Before you make any commitment, make sure you’re 100 percent confident in your surrogacy agency’s ability to provide you a safe, legal and positive surrogacy journey that will be something to remember.
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