With so many surrogacy professionals available, how do you choose a surrogacy agency that’s right for you?
There are several factors that go into finding the right surrogacy agency to meet your surrogacy goals, but one of the most important steps is getting to know a prospective agency with an in-person or phone interview. This provides a great opportunity to determine whether they can really provide the surrogacy experience you want.
But, when you’re speaking with a surrogacy professional, how do you know what questions to ask a surrogacy agency to get the answers you need?
As you’re deciding whether to choose a surrogacy agency, you’ll want to ask that professional questions that reveal whether or not they can help you meet your personal needs and goals during your surrogacy journey. Here are few important questions to ask a surrogacy agency that every prospective surrogate should bring up:
1. How long have you been in business, and how many successful surrogacies have you completed?
Before anything else, you should make sure that you work with a surrogacy agency that can help you achieve your dream of becoming a surrogate. This means that when you choose a surrogacy agency, it should be one that has a proven record of success with helping both intended parents and surrogates. A surrogacy agency should be able to provide statistics of successful surrogacies, as well as a detailed explanation of what they define as “success.”
Look for surrogacy agencies that have existed for many years and can prove their experience with this family-building process. Surrogacy can be complicated, so you’ll want to work with a professional that understands and completes the many different aspects of this journey.
2. What are the requirements for joining your surrogacy program?
You’ll obviously need to make sure that you meet an agency’s requirements to determine whether you are the right fit for their program, but this is also an important question to ask because it reveals what kind of standards a professional sets for both intended parents and prospective surrogates.
You should choose a surrogacy agency that fully screens its intended parents and surrogates before accepting them and matching them. A full medical and psychological screening (not to mention criminal and background checks) will ensure that both parties are ready for the challenges of the surrogacy process and it will be a safe partnership for all involved. While lengthy requirements to be a surrogate can seem overwhelming, they prove that a surrogacy agency only works with the best candidates and sets high standards to protect those they work with.
3. How many staff do you have, and what kind of services do you provide surrogates and intended parents?
Surrogacy is an involved process, with legal, medical and management professionals all working together toward a common goal. If you want to choose a surrogacy agency for your surrogacy journey, you probably want all of the necessary details taken care of by your professional.
The number of staff members an agency has will give you a better idea of what kind of personal attention they can provide, as well as how effectively they’ll be able to administer services. A surrogacy agency should be committed to providing you the best services, and they should be clear from the beginning about exactly what those are. Remember, you and your intended parents should be able to focus on building your relationship and your healthy pregnancy, instead of having to focus on the minute details of the surrogacy process.
4. What is your compensation package?
It’s important that your surrogacy professional and your intended parents are able to properly handle the financial responsibilities of your surrogacy journey. As a surrogate, you should never be responsible for the expenses of your pregnancy and surrogacy.
While many surrogates are not solely financially motivated, they often choose a surrogacy agency partly because of the financial compensation it provides. A surrogacy agency should be transparent about surrogate compensation during your initial interview and be able to detail exactly what finances are covered at what time during your surrogacy process. It’s also a good idea to ask questions about the intended parents’ side of this issue — Do they pay all in a lump sum? How does a professional ensure they are financially prepared for the extra demands of surrogacy? After all, as their surrogate, you want to make sure your intended parents can afford surrogacy without undue stress.
5. How do you ensure your surrogates and intended parents have the best legal protection?
Every surrogate and intended parent needs to have their own surrogacy attorney to protect their legal interests. This includes the drafting of a surrogacy contract, negotiating of surrogate compensation and establishing of the intended parents’ parental rights. You should never proceed with a surrogacy unless you are working with an attorney.
Most surrogacy agencies do not have the capability to provide their own surrogacy attorney to intended parents and surrogates, which means that you will likely be working with an outside surrogacy attorney. The best surrogacy agencies usually provide referrals to surrogacy lawyers they constantly work with and trust, and they will take initiative to connect their clients with the best legal protection. If a professional requires you to find your own surrogacy attorney, it’s probably wise to consider another surrogacy agency instead.
6. What kind of post-surrogacy support do you offer?
One of the things that set great surrogacy agencies apart from good ones is the availability of counseling and support after the surrogacy process is complete. As a surrogate, you will likely face some physical and emotional challenges after you give birth and begin to adjust back to your life before surrogacy. A surrogacy professional can be instrumental in helping you understand that what you’re feeling is normal, and they can often provide the services you need to get back to your everyday life.
7. How do you protect your clients in case of an unexpected development?
Surrogacy is a complicated process, which means that surprises and delays can and often do occur in a surrogacy journey. Your surrogacy agency should be ready to help you and your intended parents resolve any unexpected developments that arise in a professional and efficient manner.
This is one of the most telling questions to ask a surrogacy agency. If a professional tries to assure you that everything will work out perfectly, rather than explain in detail how they will respond if certain events occur, that surrogacy agency likely cannot provide the support you will need — whether or not an unexpected delay occurs.
These are just a few of the questions to ask a surrogacy agency before committing to a program that works for you. Before you have an initial conversation with a surrogacy agency, make sure to write down a list of important questions that will help you determine whether a professional can meet your personal surrogacy goals and needs.
Choosing a surrogacy agency is a big decision, especially because your surrogacy professional will dictate how the rest of your surrogacy journey proceeds. Make sure you take all the time you need to be 100 percent confident in a professional before moving forward with this life-changing journey.