One of the biggest challenges intended parents face, having made the decision to build their family with the help of a surrogate, is choosing the right surrogacy program or agency to assist them. Choosing a program you can fully trust can mean the difference between a professional, enjoyable, smooth process and one that is not only stressful, but possibly lengthy and unsuccessful.

Know What Services Are Included

When engaging your chosen surrogacy agency, make sure you clearly understand exactly what services are included in their program and what services they can not help you with, as well as how much those additional services may cost that you will need from other essential service providers. If the surrogacy agency does not handle every step of the process, will they assist you in locating and connecting with all the outside services you will need — from beginning to end? Or are you expected to rely on your own devices to find the right lawyer, the right escrow manager, and take the right steps to obtain legal recognition as the parent(s)?

Some surrogacy agencies charge a premium for their matching services, yet provide no other support or services at all — and may not make that clear to you at the outset. Do your research!

Does the agency have a reputation for following best practices?

A critical question is: Are the surrogates fully pre-screened prior to matching? There are surrogacy agencies that do not properly screen surrogates before matching them with intended parents. Without proper and adequate screening, matches frequently fall apart, leading to heartache for all involved, as well as lost time and money. Similarly, there are agencies that may do all the pre-screening, but will not be available when you or your surrogate needs them throughout the process. You want to be able to rely on your chosen agency to assist you in a timely manner no matter what may arise. Ideally, you should work with an agency that offers a comprehensive surrogacy program with a staff that is not only experienced and sensitive, but is truly caring, and hands-on — one that will serve as your trusted guide through every step on the way to parenthood.

Transparency is vital

Financial transparency is a critical issue when working with a surrogacy agency. If you find yourself confused by an agency's pricing structure, you are not alone. Trying to sort out exactly what each agency offers and what they will charge over the course of a surrogacy is often confusing for intended parents. It is critical that you get accurate information in order to make an educated decision and, in the long run, to feel well represented. If you dig into the pricing by asking for specific details about what is included in the anticipated expenses and fees for the surrogate, you should be able to uncover and compare the true amounts for each agency. If it is hard to get this information that is a warning sign that you should not consider working with a particular agency.

Are they open about their surrogate screening process?

What do they look for in potential surrogates? Do they do background / criminal checks? How selective are they? Do they recruit their own surrogates or use an outside source? A respectable, legitimate surrogacy agency will share these details with intended parents, and most important of all — they will be clear about the process.

Before you are able to move forward, you need to feel comfortable that the agency you’ve chosen is a good one. One that can answer all of your questions and guide you every step of the way, from beginning to baby. At Shared Conception, we stress the importance of choosing a top-notch agency, whether you elect to work with us or one of our colleagues, to ensure the smoothest, most enjoyable journey possible.