How to Choose the Best Surrogacy Agency: 3 Questions to Ask
It takes a big heart to help families’ dreams come true through surrogacy. Still, it’s a decision that can be intimidating to make on your own. The best surrogacy agencies will not only help you through the surrogacy process but make sure you are educated along the way so you can make the best decisions for you and your family. These agencies exceed all the qualifying criteria you’ll find below.
A positive surrogacy agency experience is critical to a safe, fulfilling journey. Your agency should be excellent support for you, compassionately guiding you every step of the way. It’s best to know the essential qualifications and questions to ask to ensure you know how to choose a surrogacy agency.
Know Your Options
One aspect of preparing for surrogacy is knowing the service options available. There’s a lot to juggle each step of the way, like the medical and legal logistics and emotional aspects. All this considered, both parents and surrogates decide how much support they will need. There are three primary options:
- Full-Service Agencies: American surrogacy agencies like IARC provide full support from the moment you apply. Their team of experienced surrogates and professionals is there to guide you through every step of the process.
- Independent Surrogacy Journey: “Indy” surrogacies don’t involve any agencies. You would do most of the legwork yourselves for many steps. You also would still need to meet all of the requirements of a surrogacy program, including having fertility clinic approval, completing a gestational carrier contract, and completing a psychological evaluation.
- Matching Agencies: Companies or individuals in this category serve only to match surrogates and intended parents. They lack in-house social workers, legal professionals, and other experts. You would do most of the legwork of the journey yourselves, just as you would with an independent journey.
3 Questions to Ask Prospective Surrogacy Agencies
Your chosen surrogacy agency can make or break your experience. It’s critical to ask the right questions before trusting them to guide you in your journey. Here are the most important things to go over with any agency you’re considering a partnership with.
- Do You Require an Exclusivity Agreement?
- What Is Your Agency’s History?
- How Do You Screen and Match Intended Parents and Prospective Surrogates?
Do You Require an Exclusivity Agreement?
IARC generally recommends that prospective surrogates be wary of exclusivity agreements, especially if you are being asked to sign before getting enough information on the agency itself or being able to do enough research on your own before being asked to do so.
These agreements often restrict the prospective surrogate’s autonomy, especially if they are asked to do this very early in the pre-screening process. These kinds of agreements are why it’s important to research and have as many questions answered before officially applying or getting far in the screening process.
If you are looking into multiple agencies and are at the beginning of your search, just be honest with each agency and update them if you choose to pursue another agency.
Although many reputable surrogacy agencies require exclusivity agreements, IARC does not. So all we ask is that you let us know upfront and decide fully by the time we get to the final stage of our screening process, the scheduling of the psychological evaluation.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you decide:
- Is this agency transparent about its policies and services? What does their communication look like both in the screening process and during the pregnancy?
- Is this agency’s matching process trustworthy? Do they have a waiting list of parents (typically a sign of a reputable agency is many parents on the waiting list and many agencies have a waiting list)?
- What are the compensation and expense figures associated with working with this agency? Be careful of agencies that have an all-inclusive amount. Sometimes they lump things together to make it appear as higher compensation to lure surrogates in but remember, things are not always what they seem. Learn more about surrogate compensation to get the whole story.
What Is Your Agency’s History?
The history and experience of an agency is crucial when considering who you want to work with. You don’t want to partner with a company full of people who have never completed the journey themselves or participated in actively facilitating journeys for others previously.
Instead, you want an agency founded on a first-hand understanding of the surrogate experience. That will help calm any anxieties or challenges that arise throughout the process. Knowing a company’s history is essential for identifying red flags in advance. For instance, reviews can clue you into how the agency communicates with surrogates and intended parents.
As you look through the agency’s history, consider questions like:
- Who is on the staff of the agency? What is their experience in surrogacy? Even if an agency has been around for a long time, it may work more like an inexperienced agency if it recently changed owners or has a high turnover.
- Are they communicative and transparent with their Surrogates and Parents?
- Are other Surrogates happy with their matches?
How Do You Screen and Match Intended Parents and Prospective Surrogates?
The matching process is among the most important parts of your surrogacy journey. Many happy surrogate journeys start with a strong relationship between the intended parents and the surrogate. This should be true for you, too.
You want to be sure that your chosen agency adheres to the highest standards but that they nurture personal connections in every aspect of their matching process. A few questions that will help you assess the agency’s matching include:
- How are matches facilitated? What does the matching process look like? Is it a mutual agreement between the Surrogate and Intended Parent(s)?
- Does the agency honor surrogates’ matching preferences?
- What kinds of parents do you have on the matching list? (hetero/same sex, location of IPs, other criteria important to you)
The surrogacy journey can be pretty overwhelming. There’s so much to consider and many moving parts to manage. So, you need to be sure that there will always be a helping hand, even beyond the agency employees.
For example, with IARC, we encourage you to speak with former surrogates before making any commitments. You will be invited to join our online community group to see for yourself the incredible IARC Surrogate Community and have your questions answered.
This will also allow you to maintain connections in a strong network that will carry you through this incredible experience. We also typically have had surrogate socials two times per year to try and nurture these connections with other surrogates.
What Makes a Surrogacy Agency Great?
As a prospective surrogate, you will rely on your agency for communication, facilitating many parts of the process, and for general support.
Below are some of the key traits that distinguish top surrogacy agencies like IARC from the rest:
- Experience in the industry: There is no more remarkable testament to a company’s trustworthiness than firsthand experience. As a prospective surrogate, you may want connections to experienced surrogates. IARC offers that, having been established in the 1980s.
We have an online community where past and present surrogates support one another. We have experienced surrogates on staff, comprising one-third of our team. They can give you firsthand knowledge of what it’s like to go through the process as an IARC Surrogate.
- Number of live births: How many births has the agency you looked into had? Having many live births shows that many families have successfully gone through the entire surrogacy process with that agency.
- Online reviews from experienced surrogates: Hearing about positive surrogate experiences with your chosen agency can relieve a lot of your anxiety. Trustworthy surrogate agencies should have glowing reviews like IARC.
Why IARC is One of the Top Surrogacy Agencies
IARC is a full-service surrogacy agency that aims to ensure a safe experience for all. We stay in contact with you regularly during your screening process and throughout your surrogacy journey. We consider you family and treat you as such.
Unfortunately, as you may find in various online groups where surrogates tell their stories, some surrogacy agencies will attract surrogates with money and later abandon them with no support during the process. IARC is committed to helping you every step of the way. At every stage, you’ll be surrounded by a community of people.
This starts with our Surrogate Coordinators, who work with you during the screening process. All of them have been surrogates before and have completed journeys through IARC. Each of them can address your questions and apprehensions.
From the countless glowing surrogate reviews to the extensive experience in surrogacy since the 1980s, rest assured that IARC is the best surrogacy agency for your journey.
Start Your Surrogacy Journey With IARC Today
Given the numerous factors, you must consider and manage, working with an agency is one of the most common avenues to surrogacy. Choosing a surrogacy agency can be challenging as there are so many companies out there. You want to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable journey with an agency that has experience and your best interests at heart.
Agencies should provide extensive support and hopefully have a connected surrogate community to help you through the highs and lows.
Ready to begin your journey toward helping intended parents in need? Get in touch with us by filling out our contact form or applying to be a surrogate today. We look forward to speaking with you soon!