Surrogacy is a complicated process — and not one you complete alone. In addition to the intended parents who you’ll partner with throughout your surrogacy journey, you’ll also interact with several types of surrogacy professionals.
Through their services, these professionals will make your surrogacy process much easier than if you and the intended parents were to complete it alone. In fact, you won’t be able to complete much of your surrogacy process without them, so it’s important to understand exactly what they will do and how they will be involved throughout the process.
So, who are the professionals you can expect to work with during your surrogacy? Typically, there are three: a surrogacy agency, a surrogacy attorney and a surrogacy clinic (also known as a fertility clinic).
Here’s what you need to know about these surrogacy professionals:
Whether or not you work with a surrogacy agency will depend on if you and the intended parents choose to pursue an independent surrogacy or an agency-assisted one. For many surrogates and intended parents who do not know each other prior to their match, they will need a surrogacy agency to start their surrogacy process.
Surrogacy agencies provide most, if not all of the necessary services for a successful surrogacy. Many agencies can work with intended parents and prospective surrogates from not only the United States but from all over the world. Surrogacy agencies are seen as “one-stop-shops” for those interested in surrogacy, as they can provide you:
- Screening and matching services
- Social workers who will mediate your early contact with the intended parents and be available to you throughout the process
- Surrogacy plan development
- Coordination of legal and medical services with your attorney and fertility clinic
- Counseling, education and support
- And more
If you’re not sure how to begin your surrogacy journey, it’s probably a good idea to contact different surrogacy programs to learn more about what they can offer you and how you can get started. Here are some of the best surrogacy agencies to speak to for more information:
There are many other surrogacy agencies for you to choose from, so it’s important you do your proper research to decide which one is best for your own surrogacy goals.
Because of the legal complications involved with surrogacy, it’s necessary that you and the intended parents you work with both have your own surrogacy lawyer representing you during this process. If you and the intended parents are pursuing an identified surrogacy, a surrogacy attorney may be the only professional (besides a fertility clinic) that you’ll need.
However, no matter what type of adoption you pursue, you will need the assistance of a surrogacy attorney. They’ll help you understand the legalities of the process you’re entering and make sure you’re prepared for all the potential legal repercussions.
As surrogacy has grown in popularity over the years, these lawyers have gained experience in all the legal aspects of a surrogacy journey, including:
- All the parts of a surrogacy contract
- The compensation and financial reimbursement that you’ll receive for being a surrogate
- The risks and liabilities associated with your surrogate pregnancy
- Sensitive issues like selective reduction and termination
- Your responsibilities as a surrogate and the intended parent’s responsibilities in their role
- The parties present at doctor’s appointments and other surrogacy meetings
- And more
- Establishing the intended parents’ parental rights, either with a pre-birth order, post-birth order or parental confirmation hearing
- Handling any other legal matters that arise during the surrogacy process
If you work with a surrogacy agency, you will likely be referred to experienced surrogacy attorneys in your area. If you are pursuing an independent surrogacy, you and the intended parents will need to find lawyers to separately represent you. As you would when finding a surrogacy agency, make sure you do extensive research and interviewing to make sure that a surrogacy attorney is right for you.
The last surrogacy professional you will need to work with is a surrogacy clinic, or a fertility clinic. This is the professional who will complete the medical screenings and IVF and embryo transfer processes involved in your surrogacy.
Most likely, once you are matched with intended parents, you will work with their surrogacy clinic. In many cases, parents will have already undergone in vitro fertilization with this fertility clinic and will have remaining embryos frozen at this clinic. They may have already worked with egg or sperm donors to create their embryos at this organization, as well.
If the intended parents’ clinic is located far from where you live, you will likely have to make a trip to the clinic to complete the embryo transfer cycle. Don’t worry — these costs will be covered by the intended parents.
These professionals will make sure that your health is protected and will help you understand exactly what to expect from the surrogacy medical process. After the embryos are prepared and your uterus is ready for implantation, they will complete the embryo transfer. Once a healthy pregnancy has been confirmed, your time with the surrogacy clinic will likely be complete; all further doctor’s visits are usually completed by a local obstetrician.
How to Find the Right Surrogacy Professional
Now that you know more about each surrogacy professional, how do you decide which one is right for you?
First off, do your research on each professional before you even contact them. Do they offer the services that you want and need?
Once you decide to interview that professional, here are some good questions to ask:
- How is your organization licensed and regulated?
- How long have you been offering surrogacy services?
- What services are included when I work with you? What services are outsourced to another professional?
- What requirements must your clients meet (location, type of surrogacy, etc.)?
You can also look here for more detailed questions to ask a surrogacy agency and a surrogacy lawyer.
Who you choose as your surrogacy professional will greatly impact how your surrogacy progresses, so make sure that you’ve found the perfect professional for you before moving forward. With the right professional, your surrogacy process will be more likely to go as smoothly and be as stress-free as possible.
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