Finding the right surrogacy agency as an intended parent or surrogate can seem like a big task when you are first starting out. We’re here to provide a guide on how you can find the best surrogacy agencies, then narrow your choice down to the single best option for YOUR surrogacy journey.
Surrogacy is a complex process, so when you are first starting out—and while you’re using the tips below—doing a lot of research is the best first step. Google is your friend! Start by looking at:
- The different types of agencies (big, small, in between!)
- What they offer (their types of programs)
- What their philosophy about surrogacy is (Does it match what you imagine for your own journey?)
If you’re ready to find an agency, that means that you have decided to use a surrogacy agency for your journey. You understand what a surrogacy agency does and the importance of using a surrogacy agency to manage your journey to parenthood.
We’ve put together this list of 10 tips to help you as you navigate your research.
1. Write down what you imagine for your surrogacy journey.
As you’re doing research, you’ll read a lot about what surrogacy is, what surrogacy agencies offer, and what an agency’s overall philosophy about surrogacy might be. The more you read, you will likely start to imagine what your surrogacy journey—and your surrogate—might look like. You may start to have an idea of how much contact you want with her, and you may start to prioritize what is most important to you in a surrogacy agency: their experience, matching time, screening criteria for surrogates, etc. Making a list of what you imagine in your journey and in your agency will help you focus.
2. Join groups with others who are researching or doing surrogacy to ask questions and get advice.
The good news is, you are not the first person to explore surrogacy to grow your family! Hearing from those who have experienced the process from a variety of agencies (such as the mentors at Gays With Kids) can help you narrow down your search. Joining social groups will enable you to ask questions and get a sense of how an agency “really” is versus how they say they are. There are no better people to speak with than those with personal experience.
3. Read surrogacy agency websites.
You can learn a lot about a surrogacy agency from its website. From the language they use to how user-friendly it is, you can get a feel for an agency’s essence. Is the site warm and welcoming? Does it provide information that helps you understand surrogacy, or does it leave you with questions? Reading through an agency’s website can help you establish a list of questions, as well as eliminate any agencies that don’t “feel” right. Can you imagine yourself working with the agency based on how they present themselves online? Remember: Their website is your first impression of who they are as an organization. It should feel positive! Trust your gut!
4. Make a list of surrogacy agencies that meet your criteria.
You’ve already made a list of what you hope for in your surrogacy journey, now it’s time to match your list to what you have learned about agencies in your research. Which agencies meet your criteria and have similar approaches to surrogacy that you imagine for your own journey? You can list agencies that are very different from each other—some may be big and some may be small—or that vary in cost. Start with a list that you will eventually narrow down.
5. Contact surrogacy agencies and ask questions.
This is such an important tip! You will learn so much about an agency when you reach out to them. Most agencies have clear ways to reach them via email or phone on their websites. Speaking directly with an agency will give you a better sense if they are a good fit for you. Plus, you can ask all of your questions! Things to keep in mind: Once you reach out, how long does it take to hear back from them? This could be an indication of how responsive they will be during your journey. Is the person who reaches out to you open and honest and friendly? Are they able to answer questions or direct you to someone who can? Do you “vibe” with them? (Sounds silly, but this is important!)
6. Speak with parents who used the surrogacy agency.
Any agency you speak with should be able to give you references from experienced parents (or even surrogates!) through their program. Other parents who have used the agency should be able to answer questions about responsiveness, how their journey was managed, any challenges they faced, etc. In other words, all the questions the agency can’t answer.
7. Ask 3 important questions about surrogacy.
You likely have a million questions to ask a surrogacy agency, but there are 3 key questions you should be sure to ask:
- What are the agency’s experience and success rates?
- How does the agency screen its surrogates?
- What are the actual costs (not an estimate!) I will have to pay for surrogacy?
The agency should be able to answer all 3 of these questions with full transparency. How many years has the agency been in business? Can the agency share success rates for their intended parents bringing home a baby? Are they able to tell you how much surrogacy will cost with their program? For some agencies, costs can be variable; however, Circle Surrogacy provides a fixed-cost program so intended parents will know exactly how much their surrogacy journey will cost from day one, with no surprise costs along the way.
8. Make a pros and cons list.
Now that you’ve researched and spoken to agencies (and potentially experienced parents through their programs), it’s time to make a good old-fashioned Pros/Cons list for each agency. You may choose to make the list based on a set of criteria, such as: costs, match time, feel of agency, responsiveness, experience, or success. Be honest with yourself, and if you feel you are missing information from an agency in order to make an accurate list, reach out and ask more questions!
9. Narrow down your list.
With so many agencies out there, you couldn’t possibly meet with all of them. Take this time to review your notes and your Pros/Cons list and narrow down your agency selections to your top choices. Your preferences for your top agencies are unique to you and what you hope for in your journey. Which agencies do you want to hear more about? What agencies feel like the best fit based on your research? You can have as many on your “short list” as you wish, but we advise starting out with 3 to 4 to keep it manageable.
10. Meet with your top surrogacy agency choices.
Many surrogacy agencies offer complimentary consultations and meetings with the team. They may not call them consultations, but this is generally your first, in-depth meeting with the surrogacy agency. While it may feel like a big time commitment, spending time with each agency will help you to better make an informed decision. Ask as many questions as you have, and there are no silly questions. Surrogacy is complicated and involves many moving parts and professionals, and if you don’t work in surrogacy every day, you’ll likely have a million questions! The agency should be informative and patient and provide you with all the answers you need.
I’ve met with a few agencies … now what?
Once you’ve gone through the process of researching and finding a surrogacy agency, what do you do after you’ve spoken to them? Hopefully, after a consultation, you are able to identify one agency that stood out above the rest. This could be because their philosophy on surrogacy and the relationship between parent and surrogate matched yours; it could be that their costs align with your budget; or perhaps they have a program that best fits your needs. Whatever the reason is, it should be the agency that feels right to you, not someone else. A surrogacy journey can last 18 months to 2 years (or more), so you want to be sure the people you are working with are people that you respect and, well, like. The people in a surrogacy journey can have a huge impact on your overall experience.
Circle Surrogacy has been helping intended parents since 1995. Circle has the highest success rate of 99.3%, an all-inclusive fixed-cost program, and many different program options to help you achieve your dreams of parenthood.
Our experienced team is happy to answer any questions—reach out today! You can fill out a parent form or email us directly at: [email protected]. You can also find us on social media @circlesurrogacy.