You probably really like your intended parents. We certainly hope so, anyway! You’re rooting for them. You know the surrogacy process can be expensive and — because you’re becoming a surrogate, we know you’re an empathetic and generous person — so you likely want to help the intended parents out in whatever way you can.
But will skipping the surrogacy agency route to save your intended parents money help or hurt you both? Here’s an honest look:
The Pros of Going Independent with Your Intended Parents
Pursuing surrogacy independently means that you’re not working with an agency. This is also sometimes called “private surrogacy.” You would still work with attorneys and medical professionals, so you’re not truly independent, but you’d be cutting out the agency that usually coordinates with those professionals on your behalf. In that sense, going independent is sort of like DIY-ing your wedding versus working with a wedding planner. Is it the right route for you?
Here are some of the benefits of going independent:
- It may save your intended parents money, because they won’t have to pay any agency fees, although there will still be costs associated with medical and legal expenses and the professionals who handle those procedures.
- It can give intended parents greater control over the process, as they’ll be responsible for overseeing and planning everything.
- If you and your intended parents already have experience with surrogacy, you might not need guidance from a professional.
Who should pursue surrogacy independently?
- Intended parent-surrogate partnerships that are already matched, know and trust each other
- People who have extensive experience with the surrogacy process in their state
- People who are prepared to coordinate all of the necessary services with the required professionals and who fully understand the risks and responsibilities of doing so on their own
The Cons of Going Independent with Your Intended Parents
Wanting to save your intended parents some money is a noble thought, but going independent may not actually be helpful to either of you. Not only would you both be missing out on important services, but everyone involved could be put at risk without the protection of an agency. Ultimately, what agencies do is protect intended parents and surrogates.
Here are some of the drawbacks of going independent:
- You and the intended parents would be responsible for: coordinating with lawyers, fertility clinics; talking about tough topics like finances and potential pregnancy situations such selective reduction or termination; and more.
- Screening, counseling and case management services that agencies provide might seem less important than the bare-bones legal and medical services, but surrogacy situations that didn’t have those safety measures are where surrogacy horror stories like unenforced contracts or the intended parents not accepting the baby come from. Counseling and case management ensures that both parties are communicating well, adhering to the agreement and considering both sides of situation.
- Agencies have experience partnering with reputable legal and medical professionals, as well as navigating the surrogacy processes of various states. If you pursue surrogacy independently, you can’t take advantage of an agency’s connection to high-quality attorneys and fertility clinics and their ability to coordinate easily with those providers to get you through your surrogacy process smoothly, safely and quickly.
Who should pursue surrogacy with an agency?
- People who don’t already have a match and want to find a surrogate or intended parent(s) who is safe and who shares their goals for a surrogacy experience
- People who don’t have much experience with surrogacy and who want the guidance and protection of a professional
- People who would feel more comfortable having an experienced professional coordinate the necessary processes on their behalf, facilitate communication with other professionals and provide all the services needed to complete the surrogacy process in full
When you go interdependent, there is no guarantee the intended parents will actually be saving money, and you could all be put at an increased amount of risk. Your relationship with the intended parents could be jeopardized without proper counseling throughout the process and you could all be legally endangered if you don’t understand the complex surrogacy processes of your state from the very start.
Remember that skipping an agency doesn’t mean that surrogacy is free, either. There are still legal and medical expenses that’ll need to be paid, but without an agency, there’s no one to advise your intended parents about ways to minimize those costs or about how to avoid working with fraudulent legal and medical professionals. You would be cutting out the fees paid to an agency, but the other costs can add up for your intended parents. Remember: Even if you work with a surrogacy agency, you, as a surrogate, will never be expected to pay for any of your surrogacy journey.
In most situations, surrogates and intended parents are advised to work with an experienced surrogacy agency for everyone’s protection. This is even true (and sometimes especially so) in identified surrogacy situations where you’re very close to the intended parents, such as when you’re becoming a surrogate for close friends or family members. An agency will provide you both with the counseling necessary to make sure your relationship with the intended parents will be just as good, if not closer, than before you started your surrogacy journey together.
If you’re interested in learning more about working with a surrogacy agency, contact American Surrogacy now at 1-800-875-2229 for free information. You and the intended parents can ask questions and decide if going through an agency is what’s safest for you.