Why should I work with a surrogacy agency?
Growing a family by having children with shared DNA used to be a dream for a lot of people. Gay couples, single people, or women who were unable to carry a pregnancy had limited options. Thankfully, amazing advances in the field of reproductive technology have helped to decrease the barriers that were once insurmountable. Gestational surrogacy has opened the door for so many deserving people to have their own biological children.
Some people are lucky. They have a family member, or a close friend, who has offered to help them have a child. Most people, however, need to find a surrogate elsewhere. Social media platforms have become the place to start the search for the perfect “surro-mom”. On Facebook, there are a number of chat groups where both potential surrogates and intended parents can share what they’re hoping to find. These matches occur without the assistance of a third party, such as a surrogacy agency, and are referred to as “independent” surrogacy.
There are a few reasons that independent surrogacy can be an attractive option for both intended parents (IP) and surrogates (GS). The primary reason, especially for IPs, is cost. Conceiving through surrogacy is an expensive undertaking, and IPs can experience a bit of sticker shock when reviewing the costs at an agency. Moreover, agencies require at least a portion of the money up front, and it may not be possible for IPs to gather the funds needed to start the process. IPs may end up believing that it will be less expensive to cut out the fees for the “middleman” agency and do all of the work themselves.
IPs may also opt for an independent surrogacy journey to have more control over the process, and to be able to form a closer bond with the GS that they have chosen to work with. By removing an agency from the equation, the IPs become the coordinators of every detail. From the initial screening of a potential surrogate all the way to the birth of the child, the IPs will oversee every step and be responsible for all associated costs. Depending on the relationship they’ve built with their surrogate, this can allow for a stronger bond with the GS and her family, which is something that IPs may not feel that they would get if there’s a third party working behind the scenes.
While there are very valid reasons that one would choose to take the surrogacy journey independently, having the help of an agency comes with some significant advantages. Here are a few of the ways that a surrogacy agency can be a better choice for intended parents.
- Cost. It is true that agencies will require IPs to have at least a portion of their listed fees paid up front prior to starting the matching process. And it’s also true that these fees seem like an exorbitant amount of money. But using a reputable agency means that the likelihood of hidden or “surprise” costs down the road is much smaller. Most agencies offer a “package” price that usually covers more than the anticipated fees for screening, contracts, and monitoring of a cycle. Many intended parents end up getting money back from their escrow account once the journey is complete!
- Screening. Agencies have already completed a large portion of screening prior to making surrogates available for matching. Both surrogates and intended parents fill out extensive applications. Surrogates have to submit their medical records – most notably their prenatal and delivery records – for review. The agency will have already weeded out ineligible surrogates at this point, before the profile is even made available to IPs to view. With an independent match, the determination for eligibility may be made later in the process, when a bond has already been established between the parties.
- Expertise. Reputable agencies have a wealth of connections and resources at their fingertips. They have a continually updated database of medical facilities and IVF clinics that are close to the surrogate, so that the surrogate doesn’t have to incur unnecessary travel expenses for medical screening or cycle monitoring. In many cases, the surrogate ends up traveling to the IPs IVF facility for the transfer only. Agencies also have access to attorneys with expertise in third party reproduction law in every state, and can therefore help both IPs and surrogates find the best representation possible to ensure that the legal agreement is to all parties’ satisfaction.
- Coordination. Once a match is confirmed, a surrogacy agency will handle the initial logistics of the match. If the surrogate is not in the same geographic area as the IP, the agency will locate the closest clinic available for screening and monitoring. The agency will also identify the attorneys that will take on the contract responsibilities for both the surrogate and the IPs, based on what state they’re located in. All of this information will then be communicated with the IPs IVF clinic in order to ensure that their third party coordinators have all the information needed to set up the screening and monitoring for the surrogate.
Vermont Surrogacy Network is dedicated to making the process of finding and screening a surrogate as transparent and stress free as possible. Intended parents and surrogates alike play integral roles in the journey, from setting up their initial phone call or face-to-face meeting, to deciding where to deliver. Everyone works together to create a memorable and wonderful surrogacy journey.