How to Evaluate Surrogacy Agencies
Surrogacy agencies are not regulated. This means that any one can start a surrogacy agency.
Most people find surrogacy agencies through Google; but keep in mind that agencies with more money have more money to advertise, increasing the likelihood that you will notice them.
Agencies with more money tend to charge intended parents more money.
Your search should include various search engines (different search engines have different algorithms), Facebook groups, and word of mouth.
It is important to create a list of things that are important to you during your journey. Keeping a list of your priorities will help you with your agency search.
Some key questions you should ask yourself:
What is your budget for an agency?
What do you need from an agency representative?
Do you need external emotional support or are you okay with the support you currently have in place?
Do you need on-going counseling sessions?
Do you need your hand held during each step? (Steps are covered in Chapter 1)
What do you need from a surrogate?
How important is it to you that she is close by?
What level of communication do you want?
What preferences will you ask of her (organic diet)?
How long are you willing to wait to match?
When evaluating agencies, keep the following in mind:
The average agency fee is $23,000, but the range is from $10,000 to $50,000. Typically, the higher the agency fee, the more selective the agency is in picking a surrogate, but this is not always the case! Any fee over $20,000 should include a thorough medical and psychological evaluation (including medical review and a psychological evaluation of some sort).
The most rigorous type of psychological evaluation is an at-home assessment, so it’s important to ask them what type of psychological evaluations were done to determine if that is enough for you.
Ask about refund policies. Typically, the agency fee is due at certain points of the journey in 3 parts (e.g., at signing, at matching and at delivery). Sometimes, once an IP is matched with a surrogate, things don’t work out with the surrogate for one reason or another (e.g., failed embryo transfer, surrogate didn’t clear medical clearance at clinic, etc).
Most agencies will not demand another re-matching fee, but some do. I would advise picking an agency that allows you to re-match at least twice without paying additional fees.
Ask for references. Talking to previous intended parents/surrogates will give you more or less confidence in the agency you are speaking to.
Ask for example surrogate/IP profiles. My favorite agencies were ones that had a search engine of either their previous or current surrogates. Profile should cover age, job status, and picture –the more information the better.
Don’t fall for meaningless services from agencies! So many agencies promise services that you don’t need or are done by either lawyers or the fertility clinic. You don’t need to pay for it twice! Here are some examples:
- “Legal strategy for specific state/court requirements and marital and embryo status” à your lawyer and clinic handle this for you.
- “Medical alignment on IVF clinic’s surrogate protocol and requirements” à your clinic does that for you.
- “Coordinate mock cycle” à done by your clinic!