11 Questions to Ask a Surrogacy Agency
When you’re working with an agency, you should have a list of questions to ask a surrogacy agency ready. That way, you’ll know whether or not that professional is the right fit for you.
When you’re looking at a prospective surrogacy agency, you’re likely a little unsure about where to start. How do you know which one to choose? What should you take into consideration when thinking of questions to ask surrogacy agency prospects? What answers should you be looking for when asking those surrogacy interview questions?
We’ve got you covered. Here are 11 questions to ask during surrogacy interviews and what you should look for in their responses:
1. What requirements do I need to meet in order to join your program?
There are also often state-mandated requirements that an individual may need to meet in addition to the agency and/or the fertility clinic’s requirements. A good agency should be able to walk you through all of this and discuss whether or not you’re a good candidate for the program based on your individual situation.
They should emphasize the importance of those requirements and why they exist — primarily to keep everyone safe.
2. How do you ensure that potential surrogacy matches are safe for me to work with?
What is the agency’s screening process like for prospective surrogates and intended parents? How do their requirements for potential surrogates and parents work to keep you safe? How does this work to protect the children who are at the heart of the surrogacy process?
One of the questions to ask surrogacy agency prospects is how they work to minimize the physical, legal, financial and emotional risks of surrogacy for you and your partner. If an agency says there are no risks, or to not worry about it, that’s a bad sign. Instead, an agency professional should talk to you about how they work to reduce risks, and what their thorough screening practices and pre-surrogacy counseling is like.
3. What services do you provide to intended parents and surrogates?
Agencies, like any professional, will provide different services. But a good agency should be able to at least provide:
- Screening services
- Matching services
- Coordination of information and services between fertility clinics and surrogacy attorneys to make sure the process is completed correctly, and so that surrogates/intended parents don’t have to keep track of so much information
- Counseling services
- And more
Whether you’re an intended parent or a surrogate, ask about the services that this agency provides for your future surrogacy partner, as well. It’s important to know that everyone is taken care of in this process — physically, legally, emotionally and financially.
Does this agency provide services before, during and after the process, or just during the time in which they’re being paid? The services an agency provides, and the compassion and thoroughness behind those services, will say a lot about a surrogacy provider.
This is also a good time to ask questions that ensure you and your surrogacy partner are protected in every way. A good agency will be able to explain to you why each of its services is important for the safety and wellbeing of those involved. If you feel like an agency is cutting corners, move on and keep looking!
4. How do you match surrogates and intended parents?
What you look for in this answer will likely depend somewhat on your personal preferences and what you’re looking for in a surrogacy partner. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that this agency thoroughly screens all their surrogates and intended parents to make sure everyone is physically, mentally and emotionally ready for surrogacy.
But, as for the matching process, you’ll generally want to know that an agency takes your preferences into account. You’ll want to know that they’ll listen to your needs and goals and then look for a potential match that aligns with that.
When you choose surrogacy agency interview questions, ask how you’d get to know a potential match, and ask how involved the agency would be in mediating the relationship in those early days. Also, be sure to ask what would happen if you felt like it wasn’t the right fit.
Remember that it can take some time to find the right surrogacy partner. If an agency gives you a match time estimate that doesn’t match with your timeline, first ask how many surrogates and parents they are currently working with. How do those numbers line up, and does the wait estimate seem appropriate to you? Don’t be afraid to seek out another agency that may be able to provide a better surrogate-to-intended-parent ratio.
5. What kind of counseling do you have available? Do you offer post-surrogacy support?
Even if you don’t think you personally have much need for counseling or post-surrogacy support, would you really want to work with an agency that doesn’t offer those kinds of services to clients?
Counseling and support isn’t just important if something goes wrong; it’s important for all surrogates and intended parents before they even begin the surrogacy process. A good agency will always thoroughly counsel both parties during the screening process — their specialists will talk with them about the potential ups and downs of surrogacy and what to do should they occur. This way, everyone is 100 percent prepared for what’s ahead.
A good agency will also be available to support surrogates and parents throughout the process and beyond, should they ever need emotional support or post-surrogacy resources. Be on the lookout for an agency that stresses the importance of this!
6. What happens if something unexpected happens?
Medical complications, issues within the relationship, embryo transfer failures and more — like in any pregnancy, sometimes something unexpected will happen in your surrogacy. If an agency tries to tell you that everything will go according to plan, and that nothing unusual will happen, that’s a red flag.
Instead, an agency should have prepared plans of action. How does this agency plan to protect you in the event of these unexpected circumstances? A good agency will know that surprises in surrogacy are rare, but that the best way to handle them is to be prepared to protect everyone involved in advance — just in case.
Pay attention to how a professional responds to these surrogacy interview questions. Do they seem prepared for these “what-if” situations, or do they struggle to come up with an appropriate response?
7. How do you ensure our legal protection?
Some agencies have an in-house surrogacy attorney, but all agencies should be able to refer you to experienced attorneys that meet the criteria of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys. The agency should be able to walk you through its relationship with the attorney it refers you to, what parts of the legal process its team will handle with the attorney on and what will be your responsibility, what (if any) legal fees are included in the agency costs, and more.
Even though the legal steps won’t be the responsibility of the agency, your agency should still have a thorough understanding of the laws you’ll need to meet, and the specialists should be able to confidently explain to you how they’ll coordinate the process with you and your attorneys.
Your agency should also recommend that intended parents and surrogates work with separate attorneys to ensure fair and equal representation of both parties. If an agency encourages you to use one attorney to save money, this is a warning sign.
8. Can you break down the agency’s costs and compensations for me?
Ask them to get detailed about finances. This will likely help answer a lot of surrogacy interview questions you have.
Hopeful parents: Make sure they explain exactly where your money is going. Even if they can’t give you an exact dollar amount (there are a lot of cost variables that can change in surrogacy) they should be able to outline everything in detail so there are no surprises.
Prospective surrogates: Make sure an agency explains its compensation structure, including how and when you would be paid. The specialists should be able to outline the process for the reimbursement of pregnancy- and surrogacy-related expenses, talk to you about escrow accounts, and more.
The more transparent and honest an agency is with you about finances, the better. Remember: They probably won’t be able to give you too many exact quotes, because there will be unknowns in the early stages of every surrogacy.
9. How many staff members do you have, and how available will they be for us?
You’ll want to know if there’s going to be someone available to help you and provide personal attention. If an agency of any size is understaffed, they specialists will be too overwhelmed with their cases to really devote enough attention to all of them.
What’s the agency’s after-hours policy? What happens if a surrogate goes into labor suddenly at 2 a.m.? How frequently will the agency be in touch with updates for you throughout the process?
A good agency should emphasize its availability to personally help you and your surrogacy partner. This claim will hopefully be backed up by former clients.
10. How long have you been in business, and in that time, how many successful surrogacies have you completed?
Working with the oldest or most popular agency isn’t necessary the answer, but it is important that your agency has a consistent track record of success. Otherwise, how do you actually know that this agency will be able to help you?
An agency should be well-established over several years and should have plenty of former surrogates and families that speak well of it. Make sure your agency is equipped to handle the different laws across states and has plenty of trusted connections to other surrogacy professionals like attorneys and fertility clinics.
A good agency should be upfront with you about statistics and its history. Be sure to do your own research about this agency, as well, to make sure its former clients have been happy with them.
11. Why should I work with your surrogacy agency?
Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not you and this agency are a good fit for one another. After an agency has (or hasn’t) met all the standard criteria, you’ll need to factor in your own philosophies, needs and goals for the surrogacy process — and decide whether or not this agency fits in with that. The agency will likely need to make the same decision about you, because, like your relationship with a surrogate or intended parent, this is a very personal journey together.
An agency should emphasize the aspects about its program that are the most meaningful to its team. Remember that you can always call with follow-up questions after your initial discussion.
If you’d like to speak with an agency now and begin asking these surrogacy agency questions, you can fill out a contact form here.