What is Independent/Private Surrogacy?

Independent surrogacy (otherwise known as private surrogacy) is completed without a surrogacy agency — usually only with a lawyer and fertility clinic.

Because surrogacy can be a long and complicated process, most intended parents work with a surrogacy professional to help coordinate the process and provide the services and support they need. Others choose to pursue independent surrogacy, where there is far less guidance, and the intended parents are tasked with carrying out most of the surrogacy process on their own.

Read on to learn more about independent surrogacy and the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing surrogacy without an agency.

What is Independent Surrogacy?

Independent surrogacy, sometimes also called private surrogacy, is any surrogacy arrangement in which the intended parents and surrogate mother do not work with a surrogacy agency.

Full-service surrogacy agencies are essentially one-stop shops for intended parents and surrogates. These professionals provide all of the necessary surrogacy services, including advertising, matching, screening, counseling, surrogacy planning and case management, and coordination of the necessary legal and medical processes. In independent surrogacy, it is up to the intended parents to outsource these services to the necessary professionals.

Because it is often challenging to find a surrogate without the assistance of an agency’s matching services, most intended parents who choose private surrogacy already know their surrogate personally and are pursuing an identified surrogacy. In these situations, intended parents and surrogates may be able to work directly with an attorney to complete the surrogacy process.

While the technical aspects of the surrogacy can be completed using only legal and medical professionals, many independent surrogacy arrangements overlook the importance of having third-party support throughout the process — a service that is usually only provided by surrogacy agencies.

Agency vs. Independent Surrogacy

When intended parents decide to add to their families through independent surrogacy, they essentially lose three main types of services provided by surrogacy agencies: matching and screening, case management and counseling. In independent surrogacy, intended parents will either have to independently oversee these services or forego them altogether.

To fully understand the difference between agency and independent surrogacy, it’s important to understand the services that are only offered by surrogacy agencies:

While these services are more difficult to obtain in independent surrogacy, there are intended parents who are willing to do the extra work or forego these services. If you have a solid understanding of the surrogacy process and feel confident that you can navigate it without the help of an experienced surrogacy professional, independent surrogacy may still be an option for you.

Pros and Cons of Independent Surrogacy

While there are many challenges with independent surrogacy, there are also some benefits for intended parents who are able to complete the process successfully. It is up to each intended parent to weigh the pros and cons of private surrogacy before determining whether it is the right fit for them.

Here is an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of independent surrogacy.


Final Thoughts

Pursuing surrogacy without an agency is generally more challenging, but it can be done. Intended parents must consider their comfort level with the surrogacy process, their relationship with their surrogate and the services and support they will need throughout the process before deciding whether to work with an agency or complete a private surrogacy.

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