There are some important things you should know about surrogacy agencies before you select the one that’s right for you.
(This original post can be seen on Surrogate.com HERE.)
As you prepare for your surrogacy journey, it’s important that you find a surrogacy professional that you’re comfortable working with. Choosing the right surrogacy professional will be instrumental to having a positive surrogacy journey that meets all of your surrogacy goals.
There are several different kinds of surrogacy professionals you’ll work with during your surrogacy process but, in this article, we’ll focus on surrogacy agencies, which a majority of intended parents and surrogates choose to work closely with during their process.
Is a surrogacy agency the right kind of surrogacy professional for you? To help you decide, we’ve answered some of the most common questions both intended parents and prospective surrogates ask about surrogacy agencies below:
1. What is a surrogacy agency?
A surrogacy agency is commonly known as a one-stop shop for those entering the surrogacy process. This is because this kind of professional typically provides all or most of the services that you need as you complete your surrogacy experience.
Surrogacy agencies help coordinate your surrogacy journey to make it as stress-free and easy as possible for you, allowing you to focus on what’s most important — building your family or helping to bring a child into the world. Usually, an intended parent or surrogate agency has many different kinds of trained professionals who can offer not only case management services but counseling and support that you may not find with other surrogacy professionals. It’s important to know that surrogacy agencies, surrogacy programs and surrogacy centers usually offer the same services; some professionals just choose to avoid the term “agency” because there are currently no entities to license surrogacy professionals as approved “agencies.
2. What services does a surrogacy agency provide?
So, if a surrogacy agency offers so many services, what exactly are they?
Perhaps the most important thing that surrogacy agencies do to help intended parents and surrogates is to manage their entire surrogacy case for them. That means coordinating between all the other surrogacy professionals involved in the process — like clinics and surrogacy attorneys — and mediating contact and conversations between the intended parents and the surrogate. Surrogacy is a complicated process, but surrogacy agencies make it easy by taking their expertise, breaking down the process and helping intended parents and surrogates every step of the way.
Each surrogacy agency’s services are different, but here are some services you may expect:
- Matching services to find a surrogate or an intended parent
- Screening services to ensure every party is mentally, physically and emotionally ready for the surrogacy process
- Coordination of information and services between clinics and surrogacy attorneys to make sure every step is completed
- Counseling services to provide support through the ups and downs of surrogacy
- And more
When you’re deciding on a surrogacy agency, it’s important to discuss these services in detail to make sure that your needs are met and you’re comfortable with the level of services provided.
It’s also important to know that most agencies are gestational carrier agencies, not traditional surrogacy agencies. Because of the complications involved with traditional surrogacies, many surrogacy agencies decide to exclude those from their services — instead only completing gestational surrogacies to prevent any legal or emotional difficulties and allowing for a surrogacy journey to remain professional on both sides for the whole process.
3. How are surrogacy agencies licensed?
With other family-building processes like adoption, professionals are licensed by an organization if they meet certain standards. However, with surrogacy, there is no such licensing entity as of yet.
This is mainly because the surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology industry is so new; because laws are constantly changing, it’s difficult to establish a set of standards. However, there are some standards you can and should ask about when you’re considering a certain surrogacy agency.
ART professionals should always comply with the standards set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and psychological counselors should be licensed and certified by their state licensing agency. Another good way to determine if a surrogacy agency is trustworthy and completes surrogacies professionally is to ask them questions about how many surrogacies they complete and how long they’ve been around. If they have a history of professional, successful surrogacies, that is a sign that they hold themselves and their staff to a certain standard.
Because there is no way that surrogacy agencies can be licensed as of now, some surrogacy professionals that fulfill the role of an agency call themselves by other names, like surrogacy groups, surrogacy centres and surrogacy companies. As long as they provide the same extensive services as a surrogacy agency, though, you can know they play the same role. Calling themselves something other than an agency is just a way to prevent their clients from assuming they are licensed — which is impossible for any surrogacy professional to claim at this time.
4. Why should I work with a surrogacy agency?
When there are plenty of surrogacy clinics and attorneys to help complete the surrogacy journey, you may wonder why a surrogacy agency is even necessary.
As mentioned before, surrogacy is a complex process, with many moving legal, medical and emotional aspects. Intended parents and surrogates who decide to complete a surrogacy without an agency are responsible for coordinating all the information and communication necessary to make that process happen. It can be complicated enough for someone who’s experienced with the surrogacy process, but for those who have no idea what to expect, it will be overwhelming (not to mention costly).
That’s why surrogacy agencies exist — to do that work for you. That way, rather than focusing on the paperwork, medical information, legalities and other aspects, intended parents and surrogates can be confident that their surrogacy process is being completed and every necessary step is being taken care of. Because of the expertise that surrogacy agencies offer, this is usually a no-brainer decision for those looking to complete the process. If you’re considering surrogacy, it’s usually a good idea to consult with a surrogacy agency first to know exactly what the process entails — and what responsibilities you’d have to handle yourself without professional case management.
5. How do I find a surrogacy agency?
Whether you’re looking for a gestational carrier agency, a traditional surrogacy agency or other kinds of private surrogacy agencies, the internet can be a wealth of resource for you. You can find surrogacy agencies that are local to your state or even work across the entire U.S.
Always do your research when choosing a surrogacy agency that’s right for you. Determine what your surrogacy goals are ahead of time, and thoroughly interview potential surrogacy agencies to decide whether they can meet their goals. After all, this is the professional you’ll work with for a year or more in creating a family; it should be someone that you’re comfortable with and completely trust.
Here is a list of surrogate agencies to get you started:
The choice of surrogacy professional is always up to you, whether you’re an intended parent or prospective surrogate. This will be the organization you work with throughout the process, so take the time to make sure that your surrogacy agency is one that makes you happy and confident as you move forward in the process.
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