If you’re considering surrogacy to grow your family, you have some options. You can opt to do an independent surrogacy journey. Or, you can choose to do a surrogacy journey through an agency, incurring an agency fee.
Circle Surrogacy often urges intended parents who are just starting out to do some research. This research helps them find the best surrogacy agencies to fit their specific needs. It can also help them discover what they hope to get out of their journeys.
What do surrogacy agencies do?
Parents who choose to work with a surrogacy agency to become a parent do so because they want the security and confidence knowing that experienced professionals are managing their journey for them. Surrogacy can be a complicated process with many moving pieces, including fertility clinic coordination, legal contracts and finding a surrogate.
Some intended parents choose to do independent surrogacy because they are familiar with the surrogacy process (maybe they’ve gone through it before) – or they know someone who is willing to be a surrogate for them – and the costs can be less.
Why work with a surrogacy agency?
While it can cost a little bit more, intended parents may choose to work with a surrogacy agency for a few reasons:
- An agency has the experience and knowledge of the surrogacy process to manage all aspects of the journey and all coordination.
- Managing a surrogacy journey can be time consuming, and many intended parents are not able to dedicate the time necessary to oversee the process and coordinate travel, appointments and schedules during normal business hours.
- Confidence that your journey is being managed by the experts, when things are going well, as well as if you hit a bump in the road.
- It allows them to focus less on managing the details and more on preparing for the arrival of their baby(ies).
What is an ‘agency fee’ for a surrogacy agency?
Choosing to work with a surrogacy agency also means that part of your surrogacy costs will be an “agency fee.” This agency fee varies by agency, as well as what is included.
When you’re comparing agency costs, it’s important to know exactly what is covered in the agency fees. Some agencies – like Circle Surrogacy – have agency fees that are inclusive of many surrogacy fees, to help eliminate surprise costs along the way. This makes it easier for intended parents to plan financially to cover the costs of surrogacy. Just comparing the agency fee number between agencies can be deceiving; be sure to review exactly what is included.
Below, we break down our agency fee and explain what it covers and why. This helps intended parents fully understand the surrogacy process.
What is included in the agency fee?
The Full Coordination of Your Journey
There are many moving parts in a surrogacy journey, including egg donor and surrogate schedules and travel, paperwork with clinics and hospitals, and more. Included in the coordination of your journey is:
- A dedicated team, consisting of a senior program manager, a program coordinator, an attorney, and an accountant to oversee your entire journey.
- This team knows your history and your journey and is there to answer any of your questions along the way.
- Assistance in choosing an IVF clinic.
- Circle has established relationships with the country’s top fertility clinics, and should you need to select an IVF clinic, Circle can help you find the clinic that best works for you.
- Management of the IVF schedule.
- Assistance with egg donor and surrogate travel and your surrogate’s local monitoring appointments.
Screening & Matching for the Surrogate and Egg Donor
These costs cover the screening of, and matching with, your surrogate (and your egg donor, if needed). It also covers these same costs should you need to be REMATCHED – you will not pay these costs twice:
- Surrogate match with a gestational carrier who meets the requirements of the intended parents, as well as the legal needs of intended parents
- In-depth social work screening of the surrogate
- In-depth social work screening of the surrogate’s partner
- In-depth social work screening of your selected egg donor (if needed)
- Criminal and background checks of surrogate and her partner, as well as for your egg donor
Surrogacy Journey Support
Surrogacy is an emotional journey, and it’s important to have support outside family and friends – for both you AND your surrogate. The agency fee covers:
- Surrogate support program
- Monthly calls with social worker (or more)
- Intended parents’ support program
- At least monthly calls with social worker
Surrogacy Trust Account Management
You are investing financially in surrogacy. It’s important to ensure that your money is safely kept and your payments are made in a timely manner.
Part of your agency fees at Circle include your Trust Account Management through an Attorney’s Trust Account (IOLTA). These funds are held outside of the agency’s operating account, safely and securely, during your journey. As the managers of your Trust Account, Circle will:
- Create and maintain an IOLTA or bonded escrow account for intended parents to keep their payments safely with a third party
- Oversee the disbursement of expenses (to the surrogate, donor, etc) and send periodic statements to intended parents (including any payments that need to be made on weekends or after hours, when most third-party establishments are closed)
Surrogacy Legal Work
There are many legal aspects to surrogacy, and it’s important to work with lawyers who are experienced in reproductive law. The legal costs in the agency fee cover:
- Representation for drafting and negotiating your Surrogate Agreement
- Assistance with legal proceedings to establish Intended Parents’ Rights
- Assistance with establishing US citizenship, obtaining baby’s passport and returning home (for international Intended Parents)
- The drafting of parent wills, health care proxies and powers of attorney for US intended parents
Your surrogate must be insured, whether by her own insurance or a policy that intended parents purchase for her.
- Circle attorneys will review a surrogate’s insurance policy
- We’ll help obtain complications, life and medical insurance for your surrogate
- Oversight of all medical bills
- Insurance management and defense
As you can see, your agency fee covers the oversight and management of many parts of your surrogacy journey. Many intended parents want the security of knowing that the experts are handling their journey so they can focus on preparing for the arrival of their baby.