Should You Work with an Agency as an Intended Parent?
If you’ve chosen surrogacy as your path to parenthood, you’ll next need to decide whether or not you want to work with an agency. Here are some of the pros and cons, so you can decide if it’s right for you.
Whether you’re worried about the cost or the necessity of the services, you might be on the fence about using a surrogacy agency to complete your family. However, most intended parents find that, given the complexities of the process, having an experienced professional in their corner is invaluable.
Below, we’ve answered some common questions — which may help you decide whether or not going through a surrogacy agency is right for you:
What are Surrogacy Agencies?
You may have also heard them referred to as surrogacy groups, centers, programs or companies. Whatever you call them, they’re the same type of professional. They coordinate all the services that intended parents and surrogates need to complete the process, so they’re valued as a “one-stop shop” and one of the safest and least stressful ways to navigate a complex journey.
What Services Do Surrogacy Agencies Provide?
While every agency will offer different services, most will offer:
- Matching services, to help you connect with the surrogate that’s right for you
- Screening services, so you know the surrogate that you’re partnering with is safe, healthy and prepared
- Counseling services, for parents and surrogates to support you through the emotions you’ll encounter and to help you mediate your surrogacy partnership, if needed
- Referrals to necessary third-party professionals like attorneys and fertility clinics
- Coordination services with those professionals, so you don’t have to keep track of every detail
- And more
Be sure to reach out to agencies you’re interested in directly and go over the services they offer intended parents in detail. A good agency will cover your needs and then some, so if a candidate doesn’t offer these basic services, don’t hesitate to find a different agency.
If I Already Know Someone Who Wants to Be My Surrogate, Do I Need an Agency?
Matching intended parents and surrogates isn’t the only service that agencies provide. The most important thing they do is guide the partners through the process.
So regardless of whether or not you’ve already found your surrogacy partner, you may still benefit from the protection of working with an agency.
That being said, you don’t have to work with an agency. Intended parents who are already partnered with their future surrogate and jointly decide to D.I.Y. the process can complete what’s called an “independent surrogacy.” For this, you’ll still need to work with attorneys and a fertility clinic, at a minimum.
This is only recommended if you’re confident handling the surrogacy process on your own, because without an agency, you will be responsible for:
- Finding a surrogacy attorney and negotiating your contract in accordance with state laws
- Finding a fertility clinic
- Coordinating with those professionals, as well as with the hospital where your surrogate plans to deliver
- Managing your relationship with your surrogate, including talking about and handling finances
- Handling health insurance for yourself, your surrogate and your baby
- Finding appropriate counseling services for you and your surrogate
- And more
Regardless of whether or not you work with an agency, you need to have a legal contract through an attorney, no matter how much you may love and trust the person you’re partnering with.
If I’m Still Looking for a Surrogate, Do I Have to Work with an Agency to Find a Match?
No, although an agency is the safest way to find a match. Here’s why:
You can certainly find a surrogate on your own online or through personal networking, but you’d have to screen that woman yourself. Is she physically healthy enough for IVF and surrogacy? Is she mentally and emotionally prepared for this process? Is her family supportive of her decision?
One of the benefits of an agency is that it will screen potential surrogates for you, and it do so more thoroughly than other professionals.
Although the surrogate requirements for every agency will vary somewhat, they’re generally high standards, as the health and safety of everyone involved is the first priority. This way, when you search for a surrogate through an agency, you know that the women you connect with are safe and prepared for the journey ahead.
Agencies will also help you navigate that match relationship, which can be beneficial in getting to know one another, establishing trust and building a strong connection.
Where Can I Find a Surrogacy Agency?
When choosing an agency, you should consider what you want out of your surrogacy journey. For example, what kind of surrogate are you looking for? What types of services are most important to you? Different agencies will have their own specialties and ideologies, just like any professional. This is an important decision, so choose the agency that best aligns with your individual goals.
The best way to start is by calling reputable agencies and asking questions. We recommend:
Remember that choosing the cheapest agency, or trying to avoid using professionals to save money, is never wise. Surrogacy can be costly, to be sure. However, there are options to help make your family-building journey more affordable. Base your agency selection on their services, the opinion of families they’ve helped and other important factors, as well as price point.
To review, here are some of those basic pros and cons of working with an agency:
- They’ll walk you through each step of the process, including helping you handle health insurance, filing paperwork, managing finances and more.
- They’ll help find a surrogate for you, or they may have surrogates who are already waiting for a match.
- They screen all potential surrogates for you.
- They can help you complete the process even if you’re already matched with your future surrogate.
- They can refer you to trusted attorneys and clinics that you’ll need to handle the medical and legal steps.
- They’ll coordinate with those professionals, so that you only need to have one primary point of contact.
- They provide counseling to intended parents and surrogates, as well as match mediation.
- Surrogacy agencies are typically more costly than working with attorneys and clinics alone.
- You’ll need to meet the intended parent requirements of your agency.
- You’ll have less personal control over the screening and selection of surrogates.
So, should you work with a surrogacy agency? It’s a very personal choice, but we do often recommend using these professionals because the benefits tend to outweigh the drawbacks.
To get in touch with a surrogacy agency for more information, or to begin the process, fill out this contact form now.