Whether you’re a prospective gestational surrogate or an aspiring intended parent, finding a surrogacy agency that you can trust is a top priority. There’s a good reason why surrogacy is so often referred to as a journey – there’s a great deal involved in the process regardless of which side of the arrangement you’re coming from. Working with an agency that provides compassionate support and ample guidance from day one is essential.
However, finding the right agency for you isn’t always as easy as simply going a quick search on the internet. Becoming a surrogate or choosing to work with one is a major undertaking in and of itself. The last thing you need is to face additional stress by struggling to decide which agency is the best fit for you. While it takes a little work to find the right agency, the search doesn’t have to be stressful if you know what to look for. As you narrow down your surrogacy agency choices, here are a few things to consider.
The Surrogacy Agency’s Origin
A surrogacy agency’s origin is important. Understanding the story of how a surrogacy agency was founded helps to provide insight into the agency’s leadership philosophy as well as its approach to third-party reproduction. Many surrogates and intended parents find comfort working with surrogacy agencies that were founded or are managed by individuals who have been personally involved in surrogacy themselves, either as an intended parent or a surrogate. It makes sense that surrogacy agencies that are founded by those who have “been there, done that” would have a greater understanding of the process in general. These agencies are also more to have a deeper sense of compassion for their intended parents as surrogates, as they know what it’s like to be on the other side of the table.
Surrogacy Agency Years of Experience
Surrogacy is an ever-evolving area and, even with experienced staff, newer agencies can sometimes struggle to get their footing. For the best surrogacy agency experience, it’s best to work with a team that’s established and has a demonstrated history of coordinating surrogacy arrangements. The more established an agency is, the more comfortable they will be navigating each stage of the process.
Surrogacy Agency Reviews
Learning about what it’s actually like to work with a specific agency is essential. While you can gather a lot of information about a surrogacy agency from their website, getting a feel for what it would be like as a program’s gestational surrogate or intended parent is invaluable. Reading reviews and testimonials for a surrogacy agency can give you an idea of what your experience will be like.
Experience With Surrogacy in Your State
Surrogacy law varies from state to state. You may live in a state that is friendly to surrogacy arrangements, with no or few legal hurdles, or you may live in a state that makes surrogacy contracts very challenging to complete. Your agency should be able to help guide you and connect you with appropriate and experienced legal representation. This ensures that everyone’s rights are protected.
Surrogacy Case Manager Accessibility
A surrogacy journey can quickly turn sour when working with a case manager that is unresponsive or slow to get back to you. Your case manager should be as responsive as reasonably possible, especially during normal business hours. You want to work with a surrogacy agency that is committed to making sure you feel supported and heard throughout each step of the journey. When narrowing down your search for a surrogacy agency, how the case manager relationship communication expectations are set within a program.
Adherence to Surrogacy Recommendations
Recommendations for gestational surrogacy are set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). The ASRM’s recommendations are designed to guide intended parents, surrogates, healthcare providers, and agencies towards achieving a healthy and safe surrogacy experience for all involved parties, including any child that is conceived and born through surrogacy. These recommendations cover topics such as surrogate qualifications and requirements, screening measures, and intended parent criteria. It’s important to work with a surrogacy agency that has clear protocols in place and a commitment to compliance with ASRM’s guidelines.
Transparency About Surrogacy Costs and Compensation
Generally, intended parents learn early on in their research about the potential costs that surrogacy can entail. They are already prepared to invest in achieving their dreams of having a family. When finding a surrogacy agency, it’s best to find one that is fully transparent about surrogacy costs from the beginning. This information should be prominently displayed on their website and ideally include an explanation and estimate for every line item.
Similarly, aspiring gestational surrogates should look for an agency that is transparent about its surrogate compensation, including all pay and benefits. Although many surrogacy agencies will advertise high compensation packages, many surrogates involved in these programs are surprised when they end up earning far less than the advertised pay. A surrogacy agency should explain exactly what surrogates will earn on their website, providing a line-by-line explanation of each benefit.
Taking the time to find the right agency for your needs as a surrogate or intended parent is essential. Getting started is exciting, but working with a surrogacy agency that you trust can elevate the entire experience.