There are many decisions to make when you start down the surrogacy path. You will have to choose a clinic, a physician, a lawyer and, most importantly, a surrogate. Should you also be choosing a surrogacy agency? Do you need to work with a surrogacy agency? The answered is a qualified yes, and this is why:
1. Working with a good surrogacy agency can help streamline your search. The agency will know what to look for in a surrogate, and will be able to disqualify women who aren’t committed to the process. I’ve seen too many intended parent(s) become attached to a potential surrogate whom they found online, only to learn that she wasn’t really serious about the process.
2. There is a lot to know about surrogacy and the process, and a good surrogacy agent is a good person to help complete your education. If you have questions about what is typical, or usual, this would be a good place to start (but a seasoned lawyer can also help!).
3. Most agencies offer ongoing support to both the intended parent(s) and the surrogate. If the surrogacy is proceeding well, you may or may not need that support, but the surrogate will benefit tremendously from having emotional support available to her in a variety of ways.
4. Even if you find your own surrogate, some agencies can step in and help you organize the rest of the process. Your sister may have offered to be your surrogate last Christmas, but once you decide to move forward you will need help with all the details.
5. According to the current Canadian law, we can only reimburse the surrogate’s out of pocket expenses, as evidenced by receipts. Do you have the time or the interest level to review all those receipts every month? If so, make sure that you understand the law so that you can move forward safely. Most intended parent(s) prefer not to have that responsibility, and the agency can step in and reimburse expenses in accordance with your surrogacy agreement and the law.
What I mean by a “good” surrogacy agent or agency is an experienced, honest, reputable person who works with intended parent(s) and surrogates every day and all day. Make sure to ask a lot of questions before you commit to an agency and let me know if you would like a list of questions to ask or things to consider before making that choice.
The Assisted Human Reproduction Act contains a paragraph about surrogacy agencies, so we need to be mindful of those restrictions, but generally, working with a good surrogacy agency can help you eliminate some of the bumps along the way.