How do I choose a US surrogacy agency?
For most intended parents who are hoping to complete their family through surrogacy, the biggest decision for them is not whether they want to pursue surrogacy, but how. Many intended parents have waited to have a family for many years before considering surrogacy, and with the lack of surrogates in the UK, destinations abroad are more and more the best option for intended parents.
How does surrogacy work in the US?
The USA is by far the most tried and tested route for surrogacy, and there are a number of clinics, surrogacy agencies and attorneys that are used to working together, and as importantly with international intended parents. Additionally the timescales for intended parents are predictable, and US law on surrogacy allows for certainty for both intended parents and surrogates. Of these organisations, your surrogacy agency will usually be the first you make contact with, and they will also be integral to your journey throughout. The question remains, how do I choose which one to work with?
Is the location of my US surrogacy agency important?
Whilst location plays a part, this isn’t the most important factor that you should consider. Many agencies have offices in multiple locations, and even if they are based in one location, the surrogates they recruit may be from much further afield. It is true to say that a lot of the time you spend in the US will be in the lead up to, and after your baby’s birth. It is therefore more important to consider if there is a location you would prefer your surrogate to be based, as this is where your baby will be born. Things like friends and family that you may have in parts of the US would certainly help with reducing the costs of any visits, and may also offer an extra level of support for you too. It is important therefore to establish where an agency has, and recruits their surrogates from, rather than where that agency actually is.
What are the costs of a US surrogacy agency?
Costs and timescales are also important to consider. A large chunk of your costs will be on your surrogacy agency and your surrogate’s compensation. It is crucial therefore that you know up front what these are (and both can vary between $25,000 to over $60,000). Costs vary significantly for both agency and surrogate between, but also within states, and it is not always the speed of the match that determine the agency’s costs. Aside from finding you a surrogate, it is crucial that you know what the agency offers both to you and a surrogate throughout the process. Many offer additional services that are attractive to both (such as Doulas and dieticians), but these generally come at a cost.
What about the style of my US surrogacy agency?
It is also true to say that agencies vary significantly in their style and approach. Some feel more business-like and transactional, others more boutique and down-to-earth. Whilst neither approach is wrong, it is important to find an agency that feels right to you. The way that your agency communicates with you should be putting you at ease, and feel natural to you, and not something that is a cause for frustration or anxiety.
Do all US surrogacy agencies work with UK intended parents?
There are hundreds of surrogacy agencies in the US, and many offer an excellent level of service, but fall down when it comes to their experience of working with international intended parents. Your involvement with your agency is going to be significant, and you want this to be as seamless and effortless as it can be. You want to enjoy this journey! You definitely want to be asking and establishing with your agency, their experience of working with intended parents from abroad, and equally as important from the UK.
Do US surrogacy agencies offer free initial calls?
Once you feel you may have a preferred agency, it is going to be really useful to have a call, preferably a skype/video call with someone and most usually at no cost to you. In this you will be able to get a feel for what they do, and ask any questions you may have. A good agency should make you feel at ease, and be happy to answer even the most difficult questions without any problem.
How can Brilliant Beginnings help me choose?
At Brilliant Beginnings we can help you to navigate the important decisions over which organisations are going to work best for you. We have a history of working with a whole spectrum of agencies and can help you pick through the hundreds of choices to ensure you get the right agency with the right experience and reputation to fit your budget and preferences. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch with a member of the team, or have a look through our website.