The first choice you’ll make as a surrogate is whether or not you want to work with a surrogacy agency or go the independent route. We see many first time surrogates choose to enlist the help of an agency, wanting that extra support from those who’ve been through the process many times before.
There are a lot of perks to this choice, including access to industry professionals, and a guided experience. But a quick Google Search will show you that there are a lot of agencies out there. So, how do you know which surrogacy agency is right for you? Here’s are a few things to consider:
How to Choose Your Surrogacy Agency
History of the Surrogacy Agency
In a nutshell, how long as this company been around? While a long standing history isn’t necessarily an indicator of good business practices or success, it in a no fail sign of experience. An agency with several years’ experience has likely, “seen it all” and is prepared to help you overcome any obstacle you may experience as part of your journey. A proven, established agency will also have a proven track record of success (or failure) and a rich community of peers for you to seek out for opinions. You can also inquire about any potential past lawsuits when an agency has been around for a long time.
Young agencies can still be great, and often offer more one on one attention for you, but there are a lot of unknowns to consider when working with an agency that is just establishing themselves. To learn more about younger agencies, ask if the founder has other agency or surrogacy experience. We often find that a person might leave an agency they are working for, and start their own. So while the agency itself is still new, the people behind the agency will still have that history and experience as mentioned above.
What kind of time frame are you looking at? This is a question we probably don’t need to remind you to ask. More likely it’s the first question on your mind when talking to multiple agencies. What’s important to bear in mind is that all time frame offerings are only rough estimates.
An agency cannot promise that you’ll be matched inside of a week, because they can’t control if you accept a profile that is sent to you, or if those intended parents will ultimately accept you. Your preferences in an intended parent also go into the time frame, and those are often unknown at the time you’re interviewing agencies. They also can’t promise you’ll be pregnant for your intended parents inside of a year, because transfers can fail and women miscarry every day.
Be wary of agencies that do make sweeping timeframe promises; especially if they tend to sound, “Too good to be true.”
Instead, ask them what their average time frame tends to be from the time you are matched until the time you experience a transfer. Look for realistic answers that are honest, not just hopeful.
Ask a lot of questions about the matching process. It’s important to know how this process works at each agency that you’re considering. You’ll want to know when in your process you receive profiles, when your profile is sent out to the intended parents, and what happens once you’re matched.
One major benefit to working with any agency is their access to industry professionals. Before signing a contract with any one agency, be sure you know exactly what they’re able to offer you. Surrogacy agencies that have been around awhile will have regularly used legal, mental health, and support services. These agencies will be able to put you in contact with these professionals with no additional effort on your part.
Other agencies may be able to refer you to professionals, but do not incorporate their services into your agencies fees. This means your intended parents are responsible for arranging your appointments and paying the professional directly. This can add stress and additional time to your journey.
Finally, some agencies serve as little more than a matching facilitator, leaving you on your own to find, secure, and pay for professional services on your own. No way is right or wrong, but it’s important for you to know what you want, and what you’re getting, at each agency you consider.
Compensation & Fees
No one becomes a surrogate to get rich fast, we know that. But it is important to compare the compensation rates between agencies. You’ll quickly learn that they are far from “apples to apples” and likely require a bit more investigation than you expected.
Look deeper into the compensation packages and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You may find that, while agency A has a lower base compensation, they also offer reimbursement for a wide variety of incidentals like childcare, food, missed work and travel. Meanwhile, Agency B may offer a higher base compensation, but you could be expected to fund all of your incidentals out of that higher base compensation.
Trust Your Instincts
Perhaps most importantly, it is important to find the agency that just feels “right” for you. The biggest and oldest agency may not feel right for you. Or maybe it does. So much of surrogacy is guided by that “gut” feeling that just tells you when something is right.
It’s important to speak with several agencies, and to seek out other women who have worked with the agencies you’re considering. Facebook has many groups filled with women who have worked with a multitude of agencies. Talk with these women, but remember, for every 5 star experience you find, you’re likely to find a 1 star rating to counterbalance it. Put your stock in the women who are willing to give you a subjective review of their agency, pinpointing both things that they liked and things that they feel could be improved upon. This exposure allows you to find the fit that just feels right for you and the experience you want to have.
Ready to Get Started?
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