Whether you’re an intended parent or a prospective surrogate or egg donor, make sure you’re in good hands when you’re choosing an agency. Keep in mind that, while the decision can be daunting, a few key factors can help you make an informed choice.
Remember, your final decision will affect you throughout your experience. So don’t be afraid to take some time when doing your initial research. Here are 5 important factors to help guide you in your search:
1. Agency experience. A surrogacy and egg donation agency’s history is one of the more important factors to consider. As more and more intended parents have turned to gestational surrogacy to create their families, new surrogate parenting agencies have appeared all over the world. Make sure your agency has a track record of successful journeys. Finding an agency with staff members who have personal connections to surrogacy and/or egg donation can provide a sense of comfort as they can identify with every step of the journey and help guide you through the process.
2. Legal team on staff. Along with knowledgeable staff members, you’ll need legal representation. In the United States, surrogacy is controlled at the state level, and the requirements for a given set of intended parents vary widely based on their state or country of residence. Making a proper match between intended parents and a surrogate and/or egg donor requires a thorough understanding of intersecting laws and policy. Make sure that your agency has a legal team on staff (this streamlines communication between your program coordinator and your legal representatives) that can guide you appropriately through the legal process.
3. Emphasis on communication. Often agencies with a larger staff can devote more attention to individual intended parents, surrogates, and egg donors. Regardless of the size of the agency, continuous communication is an important part of a successful experience. Be sure that your agency places emphasis on communication between you and your surrogate and/or egg donor.
4. Flexibility. There are a lot of variables involved in the surrogacy process making every surrogacy and egg donation experience different. Check that your agency has the flexibility to address your individual needs whether you are a surrogate, egg donor, an intended parent from the United States or abroad, whether you are gay or heterosexual.
5. Focus on relationships. Finally, make sure your agency places a significant emphasis on cultivating relationships. We have found that greater levels of contact and closer relationships between intended parents and their surrogates and/or egg donors make for a smoother process. Many of our parents, surrogates, and egg donors have developed lasting relationships with each other and stay in touch in the years after their journey.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June, 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.