Agency selection is a crucial aspect of the surrogacy journey, whether you are an intended parent or an inquiring surrogate. There are important facets to examine as either party begins to research, interview, and select an agency.
Here are seven things to consider when choosing a surrogacy agency.
7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Surrogacy Agency
1. Screening and Selection Process
It is important to understand the agency’s screening process in detail.
Screening and selection of a Gestational Carrier is a fairly involved process and it should be. It is of great benefit to the potential Gestational Carrier (GC) and the Intended Parents (IP) to find an agency that is thorough and follows the ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine) guidelines for surrogacy.Do they only review medical records before starting the matching process?Do they have the GC undergo other important screening criteria such as criminal background checks, psychological evaluation, health insurance review, and more before matching?
A thorough screening of the GC candidate means peace of mind, for IPs, as they move forward into the matching process. They can be confident that the carrier with whom they match will be cleared by their reproductive clinic. This saves time, expenses, and potential heartbreak.
This process is valuable for surrogate applicants as well. Many women believe they are fit to take part in surrogacy only to find out through the rigorous physical, mental, and emotional screening that they do not qualify. Additionally, most agencies use the screening process to educate their applicants on what they can expect along the surrogacy journey. This is vital to the potential surrogate’s ability to decide whether becoming a GC is the right fit for her life.
2. Fit and Support
When it comes to choosing an agency, there are some questions to consider as you analyze your options.
Are you comfortable speaking with your coordinators? Are they easily accessible? Is their response time adequate for your comfort? What resources are provided? Will you have access to others who’ve been along this journey before? Do you want help to connect with others who are also on the surrogacy journey? Would you prefer an agency that is more “hands-on” during your journey or an agency that handles the high-level details and leaves the rest to you? Do you want to meet with your agency in person? Help narrow down your options by answering these questions, as you move forward.
Choose an agency that values a quality match over a quick match.
The way in which an agency matches its IPs with a surrogate is one of the most important subjects to consider. Ask the agency about their matching process to be sure it aligns with your intentions. When you’re with an agency that values a quality match, you can expect them to provide questionnaires, matching forms, facilitate phone conversations, and encourage the parties involved to get to know one another. This way, an agency can start to identify strong matches and avoid the difficulties that ensue when a match is not compatible. A reputable agency should be very focused on matching preferences. They should give all parties the opportunity to discuss their criteria in detail prior to matching.
The United States is a great place to pursue your dream of a family through surrogacy.
However, there are not any universal ethical standards or licensing for agencies. It is the responsibility of the client to discover an agency’s ethical practices. How are they qualifying and matching their surrogates and IPs? Are they active members/participants of any ethics or standards organizations, such as SEEDS and/or Reproductive Alliance? Is their compensation plan communicated clearly? For more information on ethics and compensation, click here.
5. Experience and Expertise
Talk with your agency about their experience in the reproductive field.
A great many agencies are founded by former surrogates, intended parents, or people who have experience in this field, who have a true desire to help build families. Long-standing and new agencies, alike, should be able to explain their understanding of the process in great detail, explaining the steps clearly. They should be able to tell you how many clients they’ve served and if those were primarily surrogates, IPs, or both. Serving all parties gives them a full understanding of both sides of the process.
6. Agency Representation
The journey through surrogacy can be complicated.
It is imperative that both the surrogate and the intended parents acquire separate legal representation. Determine how your agency refers involved parties to legal representatives. Perhaps the agency has legal personnel on staff who can act as a mediator or who will be representing one of the parties. Find out how potential conflicts would be resolved, especially if this person is involved in other aspects of the journey such as matching, financial, etc.
7. Research and Reviews
It’s important to read reviews when considering surrogacy agencies.
In the same way that you check the reviews before you try a new restaurant or make a big purchase, read Google reviews. Look at the agency’s website, their social media reviews, and even consider contacting the agency directly. Ask to be connected with former/current surrogates and intended parents. Both parties should do this to be certain their agency will serve everyone well.
Why Choose Family Choice Surrogacy?
FCS believes in a personal approach.
All team members are easily accessible to all parties. Each of our team members has had a personal journey with infertility or prior surrogacy. We feel that our clients are like family and we take it very seriously that they have trusted our expertise to help navigate something so personal. One of our firm desires is that surrogacy will remain an option for family building for the foreseeable future. In order for this to happen, we believe all agencies need to operate under ethical practices and standards.
FCS is a member of SEEDS (Society for Ethics in Egg Donation and Surrogacy) in addition to supporting and seeking guidance from organizations like RESOLVE and ASRM.
Part of our duty is to educate about proper practices. At Family Choice Surrogacy we do not utilize in-house legal representation. We strongly believe that this can create a conflict of interest. It makes it difficult to manage both the IPs and the GCs when legally representing only one of the parties.
When it is time for legal, FCS will facilitate a list of reputable attorneys to both parties.
The IPs and GC can then research and interview the attorney and determine who they would like to have represent them
At FCS, matching is our specialty.
We take pride in making compatible matches. We invest significant time and energy into connecting people who will align, in both intentions and preferences, for the entirety of their journey.
FCS has reviews available on our business page, social media, and Google accounts.
We can connect you with prior and current clients at your request.
Whether you are an intended parent or an inquiring surrogate, agency selection is a crucial aspect of the surrogacy process. We hope that, with this list at your fingertips, you’ll have an easier time navigating the first steps into your surrogacy journey.