Are you considering surrogacy, but unsure of whether or not you want to work with a surrogacy agency? Some intended parents do choose to “go it alone,” but it’s important to be aware of the potential pitfalls you might encounter without agency representation. The best surrogacy agencies will guide you through the process, help you find the right surrogate faster, assist you in navigating legal hurdles, and make it easier to address sensitive issues.
In this blog, we’ll cover the top benefits of working with a surrogacy agency:
State-Specific Legal Help
Surrogacy laws vary from state to state, and can have very specific requirements for both the surrogate and the intended parents. Factors such as whether or not a couple is legally married, is using an egg or sperm donor, or will be genetically tied to the future offspring, can make a difference in the legality of the future surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy also has specific requirements that differ from state to state. Intended parents must be very cognizant of the state their surrogate resides in, to meet legal requirements and ensure both parents’ names will be listed on the birth certificate.
Understanding legal issues is especially important in ensuring successful surrogacy for gay couples. Gay surrogacy candidates will find the process much smoother and simpler if they work with a surrogacy agency that has specific experience navigating gay surrogacy issues.
The best way to ensure legal issues are addressed correctly is to work with a team of professionals, including your surrogacy agency.
Professionalism and Experience
Speaking of professionalism, it’s also important to work with a surrogacy agency you can trust. Mindy Berkson, Founder and Surrogacy Consultant at Newborn Advantage, cautions intended parents to be careful about unrepresented surrogates they may see online.
“Sometimes surrogates make themselves available online because they didn’t meet the requirements of an agency,” Berkson said. “An agency may have rejected the surrogate for medical reasons, such as a high BMI. Or, she may not meet their standard requirements to be a surrogate. There is a reason she is out there on her own.”
Surrogates don’t pay surrogacy agencies for representation, so you should ask, “Why wouldn’t she want the representation and protection of an agency?” Whatever the reason may be, there is a chance it is not in the best interest of the intended parents.
High Quality Surrogacy Candidates
Newborn Advantage focuses on providing the highest quality surrogacy candidates. Using a proven recruitment process developed over Berkson’s 20-year history in the industry, we are able to provide matches from a large pool of available surrogates, for a more ideal match. Our match times are also much shorter than most surrogacy agencies. In most cases, we can find a surrogate within two weeks.
Exceptional Support, Advice and Referrals
The best surrogacy agencies give intended parents a support network they would not have access to on their own, and connect them with other industry professionals who can assist with all aspects of the surrogacy journey. Newborn Advantage provides concierge-level services to clients from beginning to birth, and with a specialty in surrogacy for gay couples. Berkson brings an insider’s approach to the surrogacy industry, and will provide top-notch referrals to attorneys and fertility centers with above-national-average success rates.
Greater Surrogacy Success
There are many costs associated with surrogacy, so it’s easy to understand why many intended parents may feel tempted to forego working with a surrogacy agency. However, it’s important to understand the legal nuances and potential issues that may arise, before you jump in. While you may feel like you’re saving money by not using a surrogacy agency, is it really worth your time and effort to research all the issues on your own—not to mention taking the risk of not getting things done correctly?
“There are certain industries you just don’t know, and may not feel comfortable navigating alone,” Berkson says. “You hire attorneys because you can’t navigate the legal system on your own. You trust medical professionals to provide the safest pregnancy and birth experience. And you work with a surrogacy agency to navigate what could be treacherous waters. It may cost more upfront, but you will have a smoother experience and meet your end goal sooner.”
Assistance with Pregnancy and Hospital Arrangements
A surrogacy agency can help guide you and your surrogate through the process, and give you a voice—as well as professional representation from a third party. Newborn Advantage works closely with intended parents and surrogates during the entire process, checking in with the surrogates regularly and sharing important information with intended parents. Midway through the pregnancy, we will reach out to you to discuss the delivery plan, arrange a visit to the maternity ward, and make other hospital arrangements deemed necessary.
Negotiating Sensitive Issues
There are some issues an intended parent or surrogate may not feel comfortable directly addressing with the other party. Your surrogacy agency representative can act as a go-between, navigating sensitive issues with tact and concern.
Negotiating Payments and Contracts
Bringing discussions about payments and contracts into the conversation may feel awkward, but it’s critical. A surrogacy agency can protect your interests and remove the tension from negotiating surrogacy agreements and payments.
“It’s a tenuous relationship. You’re trusting a stranger to carry your most prized possession, so you don’t want to blur the boundaries,” Berkson says. “It’s easy to do that if you don’t have a third party in place.”
At Newborn Advantage, we create an escrow account for clients, to make payments and protect the intended parents. Clients provide funds, which are held in escrow, and Newborn Advantage draws from the account pay the surrogate monthly over the course of the pregnancy. This is a more professional way of handling payments, and avoids issues such as a surrogate approaching an intended parent to ask for an advance, creating what Berkson calls a “hostage situation.”
Achieve your goals of growing your family
Without an agency, intended parents may feel lost, concerned, and confused about where to start and what to do next. Working with a surrogacy agency can help make the process much smoother and more pleasant—helping you complete the journey sooner and with fewer hurdles.
“The pathway to parenthood is not linear,” says Berkson. “If it was, you wouldn’t be considering surrogacy. A lot can go right and a lot can go wrong, but it’s nice to have someone there to guide the course for you.”
The Right Surrogacy Agency for Your Family
Ready to start your surrogacy journey?
Call Mindy Berkson for your complimentary consultation with our surrogacy agency.