Whether your reasons stem from health issues, fertility struggles, or a lifestyle choice, you have decided that gestational surrogacy is your best option to build your new family. Perhaps you already have an attorney to guide you through legal matters related to assisted reproduction. Now you have to decide whether to go through an agency to locate a surrogate or pursue an independent surrogate arrangement with a surrogate. Here are some factors to consider.
Agency fees alone can be quite expensive, running anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000. Some intended parents choose to go the independent route because they cannot afford the fees and costs associated with an agency. They feel that going with an independent arrangement will save them money.
When you pursue an independent surrogacy arrangement instead of going through an agency, you have a broader range of options when it comes to selecting a surrogate. You can select a friend, a family member, or an independent surrogate with whom you feel a close connection. However, keep in mind that whomever you select, she must pass medical and mental health screenings.
In addition, when you choose to work with an independent surrogate, you can avoid strict agency rules regarding surrogate compensation/fees, communication and other rules and regulations required by the agency. When working with an independent surrogate there is more room for negotiating compensation/fees and the ability to work out an arrangement that works for both of you.
On the other hand, an agency can provide support, guidance and structure to your journey, giving you fewer things to worry about. Further, reputable agencies use strict criteria when selecting surrogate mothers, including performing background checks, home visits, etc.
Without the structure that the agency can provide, an independent surrogacy arrangement can drag on and on for months without any progress. This compounds the stress that intended parents are already experiencing. With the help of an agency, couples have support and a clear timetable to work with. They have an entire team working with them to ensure that meetings, appointments, medical issues, and legal matters are dealt with in a timely manner.
On the other hand, some intended parents may prefer to set their own pace rather than pursuing an agency-directed timeline. Without the third-party agency in the middle, intended parents can communicate directly with the surrogate and possibly move things along more quickly, if necessary.
The Individual Choice
An agency offers a series of safeguards that may not always be available with an independent surrogate. However, there are many surrogates who work independently and provide many of the same guarantees that an agency would. If you want to go the independent route, simply do the research and ensure that your surrogacy candidate lives a clean, healthy lifestyle, parents her own kids, and lives in a financially stable and emotionally supportive environment. Whether you go independent or choose an agency, hire a qualified assisted reproduction lawyer help you through the legal issues and agreements.
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About Nicole K. White
As a mother via gestational surrogacy, Nicole is passionate about helping her clients experience the joy and fulfillment of starting or growing a family of their own through third party reproduction. Her knowledge and experience as an attorney and as an intended parent mean she knows firsthand what you will go through and what you will need – understanding, ongoing support, guidance and a smooth process.