There are two main ways people usually enter into a surrogacy arrangement. Many Intended Parents and Surrogates choose to work with an agency. Others decide to go “Indy”, or independent, meaning everything is agreed upon and managed between the Surrogate and Intended Parents themselves. While an independent journey can save Intended Parents money in the beginning, it is not the safest choice. Here are the reasons why working with an agency would be beneficial to you as a Gestational Carrier.
Increasing Your Understanding of the Surrogacy Process
An agency will have handled many surrogacy journeys and know the ins and outs of the whole process, including things like how different clinics have different protocols and requirements. They will make sure you have a clear understanding of all the steps involved, and what to expect next along each step of the journey.
Finding and Matching with IPs
If you’re working with an agency, chances are they will already have intended parents ready to start who are looking for a surrogate JUST LIKE YOU! An agency utilizes many skills to help match surrogates and intended parents who are the best fit for each other. This minimizes the risk of any friction or disagreements down the road.
Agency professionals are well-versed in all aspects of the surrogacy journey and industry; many have been surrogates or intended parents themselves and can offer a perspective from first-hand experience. They also understand what needs to be done along the way and can support and advise you to make sure things are taken care of in a timely and accurate manner.
One of the steps many surrogates find most confusing is the legal phase; that is, the drafting and review of the gestational carrier agreement. The agency will work alongside your attorney to assist you in deciding on any changes you want to make, and also help you understand the agreement as a whole prior to signing.
The agency serves as a “middleman” between surrogates and intended parents to help diffuse any disagreements that may arise or to assist in broaching subjects that may be too uncomfortable, difficult, or emotional to bring up one-on-one.
Minimize Financial Risk
Working with an agency means your escrow payments will be professionally managed. The agency will not allow your escrow account to fall below the “minimum balance” at any time, ensuring your escrow payments will be made in full and on time. This also allows for unexpected costs should they arise, such as emergency room visits or lost wages/childcare/housekeeping due to physician-ordered bedrest.
From day one your agency will guide you through each step, making sure you feel comfortable and understand the process as you go. Many surrogates become great friends with their case managers following their surrogacy journeys, as they are the people you will interact with most frequently as a surrogate. They may even be present for the delivery of the baby! Your agency will take care of almost everything from application to delivery and beyond, so you can relax and enjoy your surrogacy. Your case manager and the rest of the agency team will provide you will professional, personalized support throughout your surrogacy journey. There will usually be other additional support available to you, such as qualified counselors, psychological support groups, agency-specific Facebook groups where you can interact with other surrogates, and more. This is especially important for surrogates who are single parents or do not have much family around and need additional emotional support.
Insurance is very important to have in place during a surrogacy cycle. If you already have insurance, your agency will pay to have it evaluated to find out whether or not your policy will cover surrogacy. If not, they will be able to enroll you into an additional policy that will cover your surrogacy costs without any issues arising down the road. Many policies will cover surrogacy appointments; however, some put a lien on the surrogate’s compensation which will be in her own name, not the intended parents’. If IPs are not aware of this situation and your insurance is not appropriately evaluated, you could be stuck with an enormous bill at the end of your journey! Working with an agency will eliminate that risk entirely.
All intended parents are screened prior to matching. This not only means they have been medically screened to make sure the embryos they will be transferring are healthy, but they will also submit to financial checks, background checks and psychological screening to make sure they are 100% ready for this commitment mentally, physically and financially.
Agencies also have a large network of other reproductive professionals such as clinics, attorneys, psychologists and others whom who will need to interact with as part of your surrogacy journey which means you won’t have to do the research yourself to find them, saving you time.
Navigating the surrogacy world without the knowledge and expertise of a team of professionals to guide your way can be extremely daunting, confusing and leaves a lot of room for error. An agency provides that safety net, so both surrogates and intended parents can rest assured that all the complicated details are handled correctly.