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Choosing an Agency
Choosing the agency that will help you find a carrier and facilitate your surrogacy is an important decision and requires diligent research. Some attorneys that specialize in third party reproduction also offer these services. It is recommended that you get a referral from a physician or other professional. You can also find information by doing online searches. Not all agencies are the same, and it is important to evaluate your family's needs when selecting one, especially if you have a unique situation. Once you contact an agency, collect as much information as you can about them and their surrogacy process.
Reputation and History
Many agencies come and go, and you don’t want to trust a process like this to just anyone. Make sure your agency has been in business for an acceptable amount of time and can offer proof of a large number of successful surrogacy arrangements. Also make sure they are financially viable.
It is imperative that agencies perform medical and psychological screening on surrogates before introducing them to an intended parent. Make sure the agency has met the surrogate in person, otherwise you are at risk of being matched with someone who is not ideal. Ask your agency to perform financial and criminal checks on potential candidates. Also, find out what percentage of applicants are accepted to get an idea of how selective they are.
Ask the agency if they are involved in any lawsuits or have ever had clients and surrogates involved in any legal disputes. This information can help you evaluate their professionalism and ability to navigate the matching process.
Costs and Fees
Ask for a detailed estimate of all of the costs associated with the process, and compare them to other agencies. Also compare the level of service you will get within each price range. Admissions, case management, and trust administration services may or may not be included. Slightly higher prices may be necessary for an educated and well-trained staff. Agencies usually charge approximately $15,000 for their services, but the entire surrogacy process is much more expensive. Total costs may include the surrogate's fee and possible expenses, lawyers' fees, fertility specialists' fees, and fees connected with an adoption, if that is required. Expenses for traditional surrogacy range between $40,000 and $65,000, and for gestational surrogacy, between $75,000 and $100,000.
Most standard health insurance plans exclude coverage for surrogacy. If you believe that your plan will cover surrogacy, request in writing from the insurance company that they will cover your surrogate by name.
In addition to or in lieu of standard insurance, specialty insurance agencies provide insurance coverage for assisted reproduction, including surrogacy, egg donation, and egg cryopreservation. This may add some costs to your process, but it will ensure coverage and peace of mind. Insurance is a necessary cost that can be one factor in a healthy pregnancy and delivery for your carrier.
Some agencies work directly with insurance carriers; others can help you identify insurance agencies that provide coverage for surrogacy.
Make sure your agency operates in a state where surrogacy is legal. Some states prohibit surrogacy or don’t recognize surrogacy agreements.
Take your time when choosing an agency and make sure you gather enough data to make an informed decision. Ask questions and make comparisons. This is a big decision for you and your family, and you want to make the choice that’s right for you.