Once you have decided that you want a surrogacy agency to assist you in your surrogacy journey, the next step is finding the best surrogacy program for you. With so many professionals and agencies available, how do you find the best agency for your family?
Choosing a surrogacy agency is probably one of the most important things you will do on this journey. Working with the right professional can mean the difference between a positive, smooth, and successful journey and one that is not only more stressful but also likely lengthy and failed. You need to make sure that you are comfortable with the agency you choose as they will be the ones that you will have the most contact with throughout this journey. Before committing to a certain agency or program there are some important things to consider and this five-step guide can help you.
1. Your Needs
The first thing you must do, before choosing an agency, is to decide what your wishes will be and what services you will require. When interviewing an agency (consultation) you will want to ask questions and let them know your wishes and requirements. Most agencies should be able to accommodate reasonable wishes, and you should know if your needs will be a priority to them.
Intended parents can often find many surrogacy agencies in one area to choose from, and some specialize in services for different types of surrogates or intended parents. You want to make sure that you are choosing an agency that specializes in your type of journey. For example, if you want an unconnected egg donor and surrogate, you need an agency that can comfortably coordinate the needs of all parties. If, on the other hand, you are planning to be the egg donor and your spouse will be the sperm donor, this gestational surrogacy process will have fewer people to coordinate and you will not need an agency to coordinate finding an egg donor as well. Some areas are limited in the number of available surrogacy agencies, so intended parents may have to seek an agency that is not in their state.
Consider checking websites, speaking to friends, and discussing agencies with your doctor to find out which agencies are available and serve your needs best.
Discussing options available and conducting independent research can help you get impressions from former clients so that you may make more informed decisions.
3. Prepare Yourself
Many agencies have requirements for intended parents. These are different from the requirements that they have for prospective surrogates. Intended parents will often need to meet psychological, emotional, financial, and other requirements. Not only is surrogacy a rewarding and miraculous journey to parenthood, but it is also a challenging and difficult one.
Just as you want to make sure that you are prepared, agencies will want to make sure that surrogates can handle the mental health challenges they will face during the process, and they are ready to carry a baby and provide a safe environment for bringing another human being into the world for the intended parents. Familiarizing yourself with their process can help you to understand what you need to be prepared for.
4. Schedule an appointment
Schedule a consultation for yourself and partner, if applicable. The consultation is the time that the agency will let you know if you are not only a good fit, but also if you are or are not comfortable with the agency. Ask many questions, but you should also expect to answer just as many questions for the agency. Agencies want to make sure that intended parents are ready for this journey. It is not an easy journey for anyone involved and intended parents who are not prepared are sometimes rejected by the agency. If you are a single parent, you might be asked to demonstrate that you have a strong support network in place before being allowed to proceed. If you are a couple, the agency may want to be sure that both parties are ready.
Like the agency wants to make sure that you are ready, you also need to make sure that they are prepared to assist you in the ways that best meet your needs.
5. Talk to Your Partner or Support System
If you are in a relationship and you are completing this journey together, leave the agency consultation to talk with your partner about what he or she liked about the agency. Begin by listening to your partner’s impressions and then, convey your opinions. Do this without interrupting each other. It may be helpful to make a list of your impressions and have your partner make a separate list. Then, you can see how your thoughts compare theirs. If you are not completely sure about an agency after having this discussion, consider meeting with another agency, or simply waiting a few days to make the decision. This is an immensely important decision, and it can be daunting to decide which agency is best for your family. Sometimes waiting a day to decide will help you see things more clearly.
If you are a single parent to be, meet a trusted friend or family member after your consultation, or consider bringing them with you. Do the same as above. Simply list the likes and dislikes before analyzing why you liked or did not like something. If your friend did not attend the agency, let them give you feedback based on the opinions you shared with them. While they may not be taking the journey with you, if they are a close friend or family member, they know you quite well and will likely be able to see things from another perspective, and they can tell you which agency policies or practices will make your journey easier or more difficult as you move forward. You have the ultimate decision, but they can help make you make the right decision.
Deciding on an agency can be difficult, but it is one of the most important decisions you will make on this journey. These are the people who will refer you to services, help you find a surrogate, and guide you through the journey. You want to make sure that they have your best interests at heart and that you can trust them with your unborn children. You will be trusting them to help you start the most important journey in your life—the journey into parenthood.