surrogacy is already a very tough process. You don’t want to complicate the issue and trap yourself with an agency that doesn’t have your best interests at heart. If you’re looking for the right surrogacy agency to help you start or expand your family, consider these tips when doing your research.
Choosing the right surrogacy agency
Screening ProcessLearn as much as you can about the agency’s screening process for surrogates. While some nationwide requirements and guidelines can help guarantee a surrogate’s mental and physical health, you want an agency that conducts additional testing, background checks, interviews, and psychological screenings to confirm candidate qualifications. Candidate Pool Size You want your agency to be selective, but you don’t want to work with a fertility clinic with a limited number of surrogates for you to choose from. You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of finding the right surrogate match, and a wide pool of candidates increases the chances that you’ll find someone with compatible personality, beliefs, and boundary preferences. Included Services Some surrogate agencies only take responsibility for finding you a surrogate — they won’t help you with coordinating doctor appointments, surrogate check-ins, or facilitating legal procedures. Choose an agency that offers comprehensive services for every aspect of the surrogacy process. Agency Reviews With access to the internet making it easier than ever to comment on a business, do your due diligence and find reviews from former and current agency clients. Their experience can help you decide if an agency is right for you. Agency History & Experience Many agencies want to make you feel like family, so they are very open about their history and experience. Explore agency About Us pages and reach out to speak with their head doctors and administrators about their level of expertise and the team that supports their work. Legal Coordination One of the most important parts of the surrogacy process, legal paperwork helps protect everyone involved. If an agency doesn’t have a list of lawyers they typically work with or referrals to reproductive attorneys in your area, that is a big red flag! Agency Costs For some people, budget is a very important factor in choosing an agency. While some clinics ensure their exclusivity with exorbitant rates, other agencies offer several different payment plans and even promote reduced fees to help everyone who wants to grow their family achieve their dreams. Support for Surrogates & Parents The surrogacy process can be a magical journey, but it is not without complications or difficulties. Look for a surrogacy agency that identifies and supports the obstacles you may be facing. These agencies will offer additional resources to ensure the mental and physical health of both the surrogate and the intended parents. Ask for Referrals A good place to start is asking for a referral from your OB/GYN. They’ve seen it all before and heard tons of stories from their patients about their experiences. Healthcare professionals also attend continuing education conferences where they are exposed to various vendors and exhibitors from all sorts of companies that give information about their products and services, from pharmaceuticals to new technologies. Word gets around in the medical community, so your OB/GYN will likely know the best surrogate agencies in your area. You should also talk to people who have been through the process personally. Social media groups are a great resource. You should be able to do a Google search and find relevant groups, both local and national. Are They a One-Stop-Shop? You don’t want the surrogacy process to be any more complicated than it has to be. You can compare it to getting married. You have the option to choose a fairly hands-off wedding planner, in which case you will be doing a lot of the leg work to pull the wedding together, or you can hire an all-encompassing wedding planner who will take care of all the details you never even thought of. When it comes to surrogacy agencies, you want one that will provide you the legal support you need to cover your bases for your particular state/region, as surrogacy laws vary widely across the country. You also want them to assist every step of the way, from matching you with a good surrogate/intended parents to helping you make all of the necessary doctor’s appointments. A good agency will also provide you with supportive counseling services. Is the Agency Upfront About Details? Reputable surrogacy agencies will be able to give you all the details and fees upfront. They should be transparent about everything in the initial conversation. They should also be able to connect you with couples and surrogates who have had success with the organization and would be happy to share their experiences with you. Ask about their success rate as well. And, always find out if the surrogacy agency has been sued in the past, as this is a major red flag.