A Surrogacy Agency Can Not Only Find You a Surrogate but Also Assure a Smooth Surrogacy Process
While the majority of people who use the services of surrogate mothers identify them using a surrogacy agency, there are three main ways to find a surrogate mother. All have their advantages and disadvantages:
- Family Member or Friend: When you use a family member or friend who has volunteered you can start the surrogacy process knowing that the person really cares about you and your future child(ren). If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have volunteered. Another advantage of using someone close to you is knowing their dietary and health habits, if they smoke or drink to excess are probably already aware of the habit and have taken that into account in your decision. The disadvantages are that you won’t know if the person is suitable to be a surrogate until they’ve been examined by a fertility specialist and undergone a mental health evaluation. After arranging the screenings for your surrogate, and they pass, you will also need to do all the legal paperwork involved, coordinate all medical procedures with the fertility clinic, organize help if the surrogate needs to be off her feet and can’t manage her own children and household, and arrange counseling and support for both you and the surrogate. If you miss any steps, especially legal steps, you could end up with a lot of problems so it’s paramount to work with a lawyer who specializes in surrogacy cases.
- Independent Surrogate: There are several ways to go about finding an independent surrogate, these include:
- Personal connections, tell everybody you know you are looking
- Social networks, spread the word on all your social networks, possibly even set up a small website highlighting yourselves to prospective surrogates
- Surrogate finder websites
- “Surrogate wanted” ads in online and print publications
- Attorney or medical professional referrals
The positive part of finding a surrogate through one of these methods is that you save money on the agency fee and you will be able to communicate with the surrogate directly from the beginning, there will be no agency personnel assisting with communications. The negatives are similar to those you encounter using a friend or family member, basically you have to arrange and run the whole surrogacy process yourself. Before you even start the process, you should familiarize yourself with the surrogacy laws in your state since they vary dramatically from state to state. An example is New York doesn’t allow paid surrogacy at all but California is a very surrogacy friendly state where surrogacy compensation is legal and surrogacy contracts enforceable.
- Surrogacy Agency: The easiest and most comprehensive way to find a surrogate mother to work with is through a surrogacy agency. Most agencies have lists of surrogates who have already gone through the vetting process (medical and fertility exams, background checks, mental health evaluation, citizenship verified, residence verified and familiarization with the surrogacy process) and are available quickly to start a surrogacy journey.
A good surrogacy agency can not only find a surrogate for you quickly but they also have a complete legal and medical system set up. With the system in place, both the surrogate and intended parents know exactly what the process is, when each step is paid for and how much each step is going to amount to. They work with lawyers who specialize in surrogacy law in their state, most agencies insist that the intended parents and surrogate have their own lawyers so there is no chance of conflict of interest. A well-written and enforceable contract is one of the best ways to insure the interests of both parties.
Surrogacy agencies typically screen potential surrogates very carefully using criteria developed specifically for surrogacy. Along with standard medical screening and fertility checks, the agencies also screen for mental health issues, run background checks, verify citizenship or legal immigration status, corroborate residency and make sure the potential surrogate is completely familiar with the steps in the surrogacy process.One of the most important services offered by a surrogacy agency is counseling and support, for both the surrogate and intended parents. Building a family through surrogacy is a very intense experience, the intended parents are putting the future of their family in the hands of someone they don’t know well and the surrogate is responsible for carrying a baby that belongs to another family. Having a support system in place really helps. Most people don’t know enough people who have been intended parents in a surrogacy relationship to pull together a support system. This is where a surrogacy agency can be very helpful, they have people who have gone through the process already and are very happy to help those currently in the process. Same story on the surrogate side of the equation, many agencies have organized support group meetings for surrogates plus 24/7 access to a variety of support services.
As you can see, there’s a lot more to surrogacy than just finding a woman willing to be a surrogate for you. With all the legalities, medical and emotional issues involved, a surrogacy agency is your best option for a legal, fast and smooth surrogacy process.