Once you’ve decided to have a surrogate carry your child, you have a choice between using a surrogacy agency or finding an independent surrogate. It’s possible to have a successful journey through either route, but there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to each path. Consider the pros and cons of each option. Then, apply them to your unique situation to determine the best choice for you.
Advantages of using surrogacy agencies
One of the most significant advantages of finding a surrogate through an agency is the screening process. Agencies know the essential questions to ask potential surrogates and the necessary qualifications. In the United States, reputable agencies typically only accept 2% to 6% of surrogate candidates. This is due to the high standards they uphold.
Agencies ensure the surrogate you’re paired with is physically and emotionally prepared for her surrogacy journey. They have an extensive database of surrogates. Therefore, agencies can match you with someone who has the criteria you seek and beliefs that align with yours.
Working with a surrogate is a worthwhile process, but that doesn’t mean it’s stress-free. Agencies offer ongoing support and counseling during the entire process. They can also give you recommendations for attorneys knowledgeable about surrogacy, fertility doctors, and insurance agencies. Finding the best professionals can be challenging to do on your own. For both the intended parents and the surrogate, the surrogacy journey can be emotionally challenging. Agencies make sure everybody is healthy, happy, and in continuous communication.
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Disadvantages of using surrogacy agencies
As with any intermediary agency, surrogacy agencies tend to be more expensive than paying an independent surrogate directly. If you’re working within a tight budget, a surrogacy agency may be a financial challenge. You might also enjoy finding surrogate matches on your own rather than having agencies match you with potential surrogates. This is especially true if you personally know somebody who has the qualifications to be a surrogate. Not all agencies provide the same level of help and choosing a surrogacy agency requires you to conduct careful research.
Advantages of using an independent surrogate
Most of the time when intended parents choose to have an independent surrogate, they already have a family member or friend who has agreed to act as their surrogate. If you have a close relationship with a woman who has had successful pregnancies in the past, and she’s willing to carry a child for you, this can be a good option because you already have a high level of trust in your relationship. It’s less common, but still possible, to find an independent surrogate who you don’t already know.
The biggest advantage of using an independent surrogate is that you don’t have to pay fees to a surrogacy agency and can possibly save money. You would still need the assistance of legal and medical professionals, but overall, independent surrogacy might be the cheaper option if everything goes according to your plan. This route can also allow you to feel more in control of the surrogacy process. If you interview potential surrogates who have gone through the surrogacy process before, you can be more confident in their abilities to help you understand the proper legal and medical processes.
Disadvantages of using an independent surrogate
It can be very challenging to find a qualified surrogate on your own. You may deal with untruthful candidates and don’t have the thorough screening capabilities of agencies. Sometimes independent surrogates have chosen that route because they don’t have the necessary qualifications to become a surrogate at a reputable agency.
The overall surrogacy timeline tends to be longer with independent surrogacy. In your free time, you have to interview potential surrogates, negotiate financial terms for every birthing scenario, choose a lawyer familiar with surrogacy laws, find a fertility clinic, manage medical appointments, seek emotional support from others, and arrange the delivery. While all of these tasks are standard for a surrogacy agent to handle, they can be tricky and stressful for inexperienced intended parents, and usually take much longer than anticipated.
Independent surrogacy arrangements miss out on the emotional support agencies provide as well as mediation services. Surrogacy is a lengthy process involving several parties. When conflicts inevitably arise between the surrogate and intended parents, agencies are prepared to help. Meanwhile, independent surrogacy arrangements can remain at a standstill during disagreements.
Surrogacy agencies predict and prevent conflicts before they arise and understand your concerns. Any emotional or logistical issues you are facing have been handled by agencies before. You don’t have the same level of support as independent surrogacy arrangements.
Should I choose an agency or independent surrogate?
Your choice of whether to use a surrogacy agency or independent surrogate can make a significant difference in your entire surrogacy process, so make sure to choose what is better for your personal situation. If you have a close friend or family member who is willing to be your surrogate, or if your working within a strict surrogacy budget, using an independent surrogate might be a good option for you. If you want assistance with finding the best-fitting surrogate, emotional support, valuable recommendations, and mediation services, you’ll want to look into surrogacy agencies. No matter which path you take, the journey of finding your surrogate will be worth it.