When Intended Parents approach Surrogacy they have already been through so much and have exhausted an incredible amount time, energy, and finances on their journey to build a family. The thought of another step, time, and more money can seem daunting. So, is the additional cost of an agency worth it?
Do you need a Surrogacy Agency?
To be honest, you don’t. There are many couples who venture on this road independently, and have successful outcomes. There are no laws or regulations from Fertility Clinics or State Goverment that mandate you engage an Agency.
What are the Different Types of Surrogacy Journeys?
Surrogacy using an Agency
A typical relationship with an agency is approximately 14-18 months. From the time time you initiate the engagement of the agency, they coordinate and counsel you throughout the entire surrogacy process. From introducing you to a qualified Surrogate and establishing a relationship, to opening an escrow account, to identifying attorneys with expertise in the field, to maintaining and tracking the progress of each pregnancy milestone, and until the day you bring your baby home, an agency guides you and your partner through this exciting time in your life.
Intended Parents locate their own Surrogate and flow through the process independently of additional help and resources. This method can definitely save money, however it can also be extremely time consuming and delay the process. Interviewing and screening potential Surrogates is time consuming and can lead to someone scamming you out of your hard saved money.
Why would I want to use an agency?
An Agency is there to provide you guidance, education, expertise, and resources throughout the entire journey - for both you and your surrogate. They not only match you with a prescreened surrogate, therefore saving you time, but they are also there to break any communication barriers and hurdles between you and your surrogate.
A surrogacy agency matches you with a surrogate that meets not only your specific criteria but also passes the prescreening process. Weeding through potential surrogates is a very time intensive and exhaustive process.
A high quality surrogacy agency should not only match you with a prescreened surrogate, but also understand exactly where you are in your journey and pregnancy and be able to provide you with constant updates about your surrogate to keep you informed.
In addition to the resources, education and expertise that they offer to Intended Parents, they also have a close relationship with the surrogates and guide them through the entire process as well. Surrogates choose to work with an Agency instead of going independent because it minimizes the stress of managing the process and relationship themselves.
So what exactly does a Surrogacy Agency do?
Not all Agencies are Created Equal
There are many agencies out there, but not all of them are created equal. They do not offer the same services or the same pricing packages. Some offer all inclusive packages, while others charge a base fee and then have additional fees for background checks and psychological screenings. Research as much as you can and ask tough questions when interviewing different agencies.
Guided Family Solutions is an Intended Parent owned Surrogacy Agency and we know that without our Intended Parents, Surrogacy wouldn't be possible. We've been through all of the feelings, emotions, and worries that you have about becoming parents. We created Guided Family Solutions because there was no one out there who had created a thoughtful, caring, organized, and personal approach for our own surrogacy journey.
A surrogacy agency should do all of the leg work for you so don't have to spend hours upon hours researching and coordinating every step of the surrogacy process and therefore allow you to focus on the enjoying the pregnancy.
Agencies present you with potential Gestational Carriers who have met the basic agency requirements, but have also passed additional testing such as Medical History Review for past complications, criminal background check for both the carrier and her partner, as well as a psychological screening.
Wether it's an additional insurance plan, setting up an escrow account, or obtaining qualified attorneys for both you and your surrogate, an agency helps to provide you with the additional resources that will ensure your surrogacy journey goes smoothly.
Managing the Process
There is no one size fits all surrogacy journey. Each journey is unique and has it's own difficulties and challenges to overcome. Even a seasoned Surrogate and Intended Parent will not have two journeys that are identical. While there are very predictable parts of each journey, such as milestones and appointments, an agency manages both the predictable aspects and help you to overcome the unexpected hurdles.
How Do I Decide between an Agency and Going Independent?
The best thing to do is to start interviewing different agencies and ask them thorough questions about what they offer, who will be working with you throughout the entire process (will you be handed off to multiple people) and a breakdown of their pricing packages. Only you can choose for yourself what is option is best.