Private Surrogacy vs. Agency Surrogacy: What's Best for You?

If you're considering a surrogacy without an agency, there are some important things you need to know. Here's what to expect from an independent surrogacy.

Many times, when intended parents and prospective surrogates choose to start their surrogacy process, they’ll work with a surrogacy agency or similar professional who can serve as a case manager throughout the complicated steps of surrogacy. Sometimes, however, they choose to complete a private surrogacy, or a surrogacy without an agency, instead.

While an independent surrogacy is certainly an option for all considering surrogacy, it is a huge commitment to make. It requires intended parents and surrogates to take on a great deal of responsibility, as the majority of the surrogacy process will need to be handled by them independently. This includes everything from finding the perfect match to creating a hospital plan to managing insurance payments — and more.

If you’re considering a private surrogacy arrangement, it’s important that you truly consider why you’re choosing to go this path. There are certainly valid reasons that people choose to complete an independent surrogacy and, as long as you’re prepared for the challenges ahead, you can move forward with a private surrogacy that’s just as successful as any agency-assisted surrogacy. However, if you’re looking to complete a private surrogacy in hopes of cutting your costs or the number of professionals required, you’ll need to seriously weigh the disadvantages of doing so before making the most important decision of your surrogacy journey.

Who Should Choose an Independent Surrogacy?

Many times, the people who choose to complete a private surrogacy do so because they already have an existing relationship with a surrogate or intended parent. Because surrogacy is such an intimate process, those who still need to find a match usually do so through a professional to make sure that match is properly screened and ready for the challenges of surrogacy. If intended parents already know someone who is willing to be a surrogate (usually a close friend or family member), they may consider moving forward with a surrogacy without an agency with that existing relationship.

In addition to having a strong, trusting relationship with a surrogate or intended parent they already know, the people who choose to complete a surrogacy without an agency should be prepared, either themselves or by outsourcing to a professional, to:

  • Advertise and match with a prospective surrogate or intended parent (if they don’t have a match already)

  • Screen the other party to the surrogacy to make sure they can pass psychiatric evaluations (as required by the clinic) and are prepared for the challenges of surrogacy

  • Provide emotional support and counseling to the intended parent or surrogate during the surrogacy ups and downs

  • Plan the entire surrogacy process and manage every step of the process, such as travel arrangements and medical records

  • Coordinate with the necessary legal and medical professionals

  • And more

Because the surrogacy process can be so complicated, it’s integral that any party to a private surrogacy is aware of these responsibilities that are usually handled by a third party like a surrogacy agency. If you don’t think you can adequately handle all of these aspects yourself, an independent surrogacy may not be the right choice for you.

Surrogacy with or without an Agency: What’s Best for You?

Ultimately, you are the only one who can decide what kind of surrogacy is best for you: agency-assisted or independent. Each is a valid option, but each also comes with its own advantages and disadvantages as well. Most people know right away that agency-assisted surrogacy is right for them, but if you’re also considering a surrogacy without an agency, consider these important aspects of each before making a decision:

Surrogacy without an Agency:

  • The services you’ll need may be more difficult to find and coordinate in a private surrogacy, especially when the process involves sensitive information about the intended parents and the surrogate, like personal medical history information and background checks. Being unfamiliar with the surrogacy process (which most first-time intended parents and surrogates are) will only make this more difficult and stressful.

  • Depending on your individual situation, it may be cheaper for you to complete an independent surrogacy. However, you will still have to pay for additional professionals (like your fertility clinic and a surrogacy attorney, at the minimum), which can be expensive and charge by the hour instead of through a flat fee that usually comes with a surrogacy agency partnership.

  • A private surrogacy gives a degree of control that intended parents and surrogates may not have with a surrogacy agency, as they’ll be in charge of every aspect of the surrogacy process. However, this can also be an overwhelming responsibility, and the right surrogacy agency may be able to give you the degree of control that you desire.

Surrogacy with an Agency:

  • Some intended parents are hesitant about the costs of agency-assisted surrogacy, and may believe that it would be less expensive to complete an independent surrogacy. However, many professionals charge a flat fee for their services and explain their costs in depth for intended parents (as well as the compensation for surrogates).This way, you’ll know what to expect from the beginning. With a private surrogacy, however, costs can quickly add up from outsourcing to other professionals — and you likely won’t be able to predict your costs as accurately from the start. Many surrogacy agencies will waive your matching fee if you already have a surrogate or intended parent identified for your surrogacy.

  • A surrogacy agency or program is known as a one-stop shop, as all of the professionals and services you need to have a successful surrogacy are usually included in your contract with the surrogacy agency. This way, you can be sure that you receive the assistance you need and that every step of your surrogacy process is efficiently taken care of — alleviating the stress and responsibility of completing a private surrogacy on your own. In addition, surrogacy agencies often provide emotional support from trained counselors to help you through a journey that may include many emotional ups and downs.

  • If you haven’t yet matched with an intended parent or surrogate, an agency-assisted surrogacy is usually the safest way to find a match that’s thoroughly screened and ready for the surrogacy process. With a surrogacy agency, you can be sure that the person you are partnering with for the next year or so is someone you can trust — not to mention that you’ll know your entire surrogacy process is being handled legally, safely and efficiently. Otherwise, finding a surrogate without an agency can be a stressful, even dangerous, process.

Completing the Process with American Surrogacy

No matter which kind of process you decide to pursue, it’s important to do as much research as possible to know what to expect from each surrogacy path. If you’re thinking about the possibility of a private surrogacy without an agency, we encourage you to contact a professional at American Surrogacy to learn more about all that our program offers. From matching you to a thoroughly screened surrogate or intended parent to providing you emotional and case management support every step of the way, we aim to make your surrogacy process as easy and smooth as possible. Even if you are already matched with a surrogate, we’re happy to help you complete every other step of the surrogacy process at a discount of our original agency fee.

Have questions about why you should choose an agency-assisted surrogacy through American Surrogacy? Feel free to call our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229 to discuss your individual situation in more detail.