Selecting a surrogacy agency to partner with on your journey can be overwhelming. You may consider factors like location, experience, and costs before deciding which agency is right for you. Below we break down some other important factors to consider when choosing the right agency.
- Experience and expertise – Many agencies are founded out of a true desire to help build families. Some are founded by a former surrogate or intended parent, or hopefully, they have worked in the industry for some period of time. We recommend that you talk with your agency about their experience in the surrogacy and reproductive field. Even new agencies should detail their experience in the industry, have a very detailed understanding of the process, and be able to explain all of the steps clearly. Have they served both gestational carriers and intended parents, allowing them to see all aspects of the journey? How many clients have they served?
- Ethics – The United States, in general, is a perfect place for clients to pursue their dream of a family through surrogacy, however, there are no universal ethical standards or licensing for agencies. This means that you must talk to your agency about their practices. How are they matching surrogates and intended parents? What are the qualifications for their surrogates and their intended parents? How are they qualifying their surrogates?
- Representation – There are many legal aspects to the surrogacy journey. The process requires separate legal representation for both the surrogate and the intended parents. Talk to your agency about how they refer parties to legal representation. Is there someone at the agency who can remain a neutral guide for all parties? Is there someone from the agency that is an attorney who will be representing one of the parties? If so, how do they manage potential conflicts if that attorney is handling other aspects of the journey (matching, financial etc.)?
- Matching – A key component to a successful match between an intended parent and surrogate is ensuring their values and goals are aligned PRIOR to starting the medical process. It is important that your agency uses a matching system that truly identifies these preferences up front to avoid potentially heartbreaking issues later through the process. Ask your agency what process they use for matching and if you can view areas in which there may be misaligned goals prior to being matched.
- Fit and Support– There are many reputable agencies in the United States. However, many times it comes down to a personal “fit” that makes you feel you will have the support you need during this life-changing journey. It is important that your agency gives you a point of contact with whom you feel absolutely comfortable. Do you work well with the staff? Do you feel comfortable with them? Do they respond quickly to you? Are you able to ask questions and get answers as often as needed?
You should feel comfortable that your agency is, not only, reputable, but provides the outstanding support you need as you give the gift of family or are building your family through surrogacy.