Choosing the right surrogacy agency is one of the biggest decisions you will make on your surrogacy journey. You want to find an agency you can trust, one with a good reputation that aligns with your values.
Surrogacy agencies are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Different people have different wants and needs. So it’s important to take the time to do some research in order to identify the best surrogacy agencies for you.
How do you choose the right surrogacy agency? It starts by making a list of the selection criteria that is important to you.
Ask yourself… What do I want from an agency and my surrogacy journey?
Do you want an agency that fully supports you throughout your surrogacy and offers frequent communication? Or would you rather have an agency that is a little less involved?
Are you looking for a relationship-based agency that encourages intended parents and their surrogate to bond throughout the journey and beyond? Or do you prefer less contact, particularly after the birth?
Are you looking for a faith-based surrogacy agency with Christian values? Or an agency that takes a secular approach to the surrogacy process?
It’s important to do a little soul searching and determine what is truly important to you. This initial list will be your guide as you begin researching surrogacy agencies to find the perfect fit.
Finding Surrogacy Agencies: Where To Start
There are many surrogacy agencies available to work with, and each one operates just a little bit differently.
Whether you’re a potential surrogate or an intended parent, it’s important to find the best agency for you. An agency that shares your values, and can meet your family’s unique needs.
Wondering how to get started? The first step is to do a little pre-work and come up with a shortlist of surrogacy agencies that match your initial selection criteria. The two most common ways to find potential agencies for your surrogacy journey are:
#1 Ask For Referrals.
Ask family and friends if they know someone who has been through surrogacy and used an agency. If yes, reach out to that person to see if they’d be willing to talk about their experience.
You can learn a lot about the surrogacy process and, if their experience was positive, they can refer you to the agency that they used.
If you are seeing a fertility doctor or clinic, you might also want to ask them to recommend any surrogacy agencies they’ve worked well with in the past. Fertility support groups can also be a great place to get some high quality agency referrals.
#2 Research Online.
Run an online search for surrogacy agencies. Yes, you will initially get back a lot of results! But that’s why you created a list of your most important criteria.
Look for agencies that operate within your state and weed out any that don’t meet your key requirements. Then, once you’ve narrowed it down to just a few surrogacy agencies, dig deeper before making a final decision.
Call or meet with someone from the agency to understand how they do business. During these calls take the opportunity to ask a few important questions before you decide if they are the right agency for you.
Important Questions For Intended Parents To Ask
Grab your shortlist of agencies and contact them directly to get a real feel for their communication style and process.
Some great questions for intended parents to ask potential surrogacy agencies in order to get to know them better include:
- How long has the surrogacy agency been in business?
- What services does your agency provide? (Is this a full service agency, or simply a matching service?)
- What does the pre-screening process for intended parents involve?
- How many clients have they helped? What is their success rate?
- What all is included in the agency’s fees? (get a complete breakdown of total costs)
- How does the agency handle financial transactions?
- How much communication can you expect to receive from the agency throughout your journey?
- What is the screening process for surrogates like? Do they complete all screening requirements prior to matching a surrogate with intended parents?
- How long does it usually take for the agency to match intended parents with a surrogate?
- What happens if the embryo transfer does not result in a pregnancy?
- What are the agency’s values? How do they see their role in your journey?
- Is there an opportunity to speak with former and/or current clients of the agency?
A good surrogacy agency should be able to easily answer all of the above questions and provide you with information and resources to back up their responses.
Be sure to take notes. When you’ve talked to all the potential surrogacy agencies on your list, compare notes and narrow your list to the top two or three.
You want to make sure the agency you choose will be a good partner, and is in good standing legally, ethically, and with the majority of their past surrogates and intended parents.
At this point you might want to pray or tune into your inner voice for guidance. Surrogacy is a personal and emotional journey – so what is your gut telling you? That’s the agency you work with!
Important Questions For Potential Surrogates To Ask
Surrogates are encouraged to review potential surrogacy agencies as well. It’s important you find the right fit that meets your needs.
As mentioned above, you want to start with a list of criteria you’re looking to get from your surrogacy journey and agency. Some key questions to ask potential surrogacy agencies before signing on as a surrogate include:
- How long has the agency been in business?
- What is the base compensation for a surrogate? What additional benefits does the agency offer (if applicable)?
- What are the requirements for becoming a surrogate mother?
- How does the screening and matching processes look like?
- Will the agency take time to educate you on the surrogacy process? Will they help you prepare to become a surrogate mother?
- Does the agency provide legal services in house?
- How often can you expect the agency to communicate with you throughout the process?
- What type of relationship can you expect to have with your intended parents?
- What is the agency’s success rate? Average matching time?
- What is the agency’s position on fetal reduction and/or termination?
- What are the agency’s values? How do they see their role in your journey?
- Is there an opportunity to speak with former and/or current surrogates of the agency?
Good communication and a good reputation are two key factors in finding a good surrogacy agency to work with. Check out multiple sources for information on the agencies you are interested in signing up with.
Then take your time, trust your instincts and don’t rush your decision.
The decision to become a surrogate will be life-changing for both you and the family whose child you carry. The entire surrogacy process can last well over a year, so it’s important to work with the right agency that will help make your surrogacy journey as rewarding as possible.
What To Consider When Choosing A Surrogacy Agency
As you go through the process of screening potential surrogacy agencies, here are nine (9) things to consider before making your final choice.
Agency Experience and Reviews
A surrogacy agency’s history is one of the more important factors to consider, both for intended parents and surrogates. Make sure the agency you choose has a solid track record of successful journeys.
Finding an agency with staff members who have personal connections to surrogacy is also helpful. This way your coordinator can provide a sense of comfort, as they can identify with every step of the journey and help guide you through the process.
You may also want to speak with other intended parents or surrogates that have previously worked with the agency you are considering. These individuals are in the best position to describe the type of experience you can expect from a particular agency.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Don’t let a surrogacy agency’s size be the determining factor. Sometimes smaller “boutique” surrogacy agencies are able to offer more personal one-on-one service, and that might be something you value.
Larger agencies may have more resources, but they are also juggling a lot more clients. So they may not be as timely in their communication.
It all boils down to service, not size. If you’re looking for someone who’ll be with you every step of the way, don’t count out the smaller surrogacy agencies. Sometimes they are in a position to offer the most personal approach.
In-House Legal Services
Along with knowledgeable and personable staff members, you’re also going to need legal representation. In the US, surrogacy is controlled at the state level, and the requirements can vary widely based on your state or country of residence.
Making a proper match between intended parents and a surrogate requires a thorough understanding of state law and policy.
Make sure that your agency has a legal team or a legal office they work with directly. This streamlines communication, ensures you are guided appropriately through all the legalities of surrogacy, and helps the contract process go smoothly.
Level Of Communication
Continuous communication is an important part of any successful surrogacy experience. The best surrogacy agencies respond timely, and emphasize good communication between intended parents and their surrogate.
If an agency is slow to respond, doesn’t answer all of your questions or let you know where you stand in the surrogacy process – they are probably not the right agency for you.
Make sure any surrogacy agencies you work with place a strong emphasis on cultivating relationships.
Surrogacy is an emotional and vulnerable experience for both parties. Intended parents and their gestational surrogate are embarking on an incredible journey together.
Building a strong relationship with their surrogate helps intended parents feel more connected to the pregnancy process. Many intended parents have said that it helped them feel like they were a part of their baby’s growth.
You want to work with an agency that facilitates this type of relationship. The best surrogacy agencies encourage intended parents to form a special bond with their surrogate mother. Feeling like you are ‘in this together’ and being able to communicate and share experiences along the way is a beautiful part of the path to parenthood.
“We believe it is of the utmost importance to become friends with the surrogate so she feels comfortable throughout the journey.”-Surrogacy By Faith
In addition, the relationship between surrogate and intended parents will impact the pregnancy. Throughout the process, both parties will make decisions together that impact the baby. Being able to have open, honest communication where surrogates and parents feel cared for and respected is crucial.
Plus surrogate mothers who have positive experiences with their intended parents may come back to do a sibling journey, or even go on to help other couples. Bottom line… relationship building is a crucial role of any surrogacy agency.
Proper Pre-Screening Practices
You want to fully understand an agency’s screening requirements for surrogates. Reputable surrogacy agencies will ensure their surrogates are mentally, emotionally, and medically fit to carry another family’s child.
Proper screening practices should include a background check, medical screening, drug test, psychological screening, home visit, financial review, and interview by the agency (at a minimum). In addition, it is crucial that the entire surrogate screening process takes place before a surrogate’s file is ever shared with potential intended parents.
There is nothing worse than an agency making a surrogacy “match”, only to discover later on that the surrogate didn’t meet one of their requirements. It’s heartbreaking on both sides.
You want to be sure your agency’s policy is to complete all steps of the screening process prior to matching. This ensures when it comes time for intended parents and potential surrogates to meet that everyone is healthy, happy and ready to start their surrogacy journey.
As part of the surrogacy agreement, surrogates receive compensation for their role as a surrogate, plus coverage of medical expenses and other costs.
Keep in mind that most women do not embark upon a surrogacy journey for financial reasons. In fact many former surrogates we’ve spoken with say that surrogacy felt like a calling. They prayed on it, and felt their hearts open to the thought of being able to give such an amazing gift.
That being said, the better an agency treats its surrogates, the more likely you are to have a happy and healthy gestational carrier. Surrogates should be treated with respect and compassion, as well as being well compensated.
This can include additional benefits designed to help ensure a surrogate has a healthy, low-stress pregnancy. For example, Surrogacy By Faith offers a generous compensation plan that includes extra benefits such as gym fees, maternity clothes, travel expenses, housekeeping etc.
Knowing a surrogate is well taken care of helps ensure a smooth, successful journey.
Obviously you will want to consider success rates when reviewing surrogacy agencies. But it’s important to keep in mind that a surrogacy agency’s success can be measured a bit differently depending on who you ask.
While the number one marker of success is a healthy baby, a surrogacy agency may also consider itself “successful” on other levels. For instance, how many surrogates have a baby after the first transfer versus the third?
So when interviewing potential agencies it’s important to ask staff how they define “success”, and to outline their overall success rate statistics.
Finally, you want to work with a surrogacy agency whose family values align with your own. Do you want to work with a Christian or other religion-affiliated agency? Or are you looking for a more secular approach to the surrogacy process?
What type of relationship do you want to build with your surrogate or intended parents? Do you want to continue that relationship after the baby is born?
What is your position on fetal reduction and/or termination? Are there other medical issues and/or procedures you feel strongly about?
It’s important to be clear on what matters most to you, so you can find a surrogacy agency that shares your values.
Why Choose Surrogacy By Faith
We are a Christian agency dedicated to helping grow families by the grace of God… one surrogacy at a time. At Surrogacy By Faith, we understand the intricacy and miracle of bringing new life into this world.
Our hearts are in this for a loving reason, not a business one. We are simply doing God’s work.
“Integrity, professionalism, and knowledge. Always helpful and timely. I have no regrets about working with Surrogacy By Faith. I’ve had two journeys and can’t wait to do another!” – Crystalina K., 2x Surrogate
At Surrogacy By Faith we enjoy taking the time to really get to know our surrogates and intended parents. Our friendships last far beyond the end of the surrogacy journey.
We are a relationship-based agency. That means we encourage intended parents to form a special bond with their surrogate mother. Feeling like you are “in this together” and being able to share experiences along the way is a beautiful part of the path to parenthood.
Since most agency staff members at Surrogacy By Faith have also been surrogates themselves, we understand the surrogacy process on a spiritual and emotional level. This allows us to offer sage advice throughout each phase of your journey.
Screening Process And Results
We pride ourselves on providing amazing surrogates! Know that we have strict qualifying guidelines for becoming a surrogate and we complete the entire screening process before intended parents would ever see a potential surrogate’s file.
This is how we can guarantee our surrogates are healthy, happy, and ready to start the journey immediately after being matched.
At Surrogacy By Faith we have a 92% first time success rate for embryo transfers with our surrogates. Compare that to the national average, which ranges from just 40-60%.
We require all our intended parents to do the Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (PGS) prior to freezing their embryos. The PGS tests the genetics of the embryo, so we can be confident there are no abnormalities. This helps us reduce the chances of a failed transfer or early miscarriage.
Our Agency Values
We will navigate the entire surrogacy journey with you, every step of the way. We know that we are truly doing God’s work, and we feel blessed to be able to help families experience the miracle of parenthood.
Surrogacy by Faith also believes that the circle of giving shouldn’t stop with our agency. Intended parents give to the surrogate, the surrogate gives to the intended parents, and our agency gives 5% of our agency fees to any charity of the parents’ choice.
“Wendy and Amy are true angels. They have made this experience smooth and easy. They are so supportive and attentive to the needs of everyone involved. I’m so thankful I found them! This journey turned out to be so much more than I even imagined and I believe they played a huge role in making it all happen the way that it did.” -Jessica L.
Surrogacy By Faith upholds our strong family values in everything we do. We are one of the only surrogacy agencies in the country that does not support fetal reduction and/or pregnancy termination.
If there ever comes a point in the pregnancy where your treating physician suggests termination for medical reasons, Surrogacy By Faith’s very specific, one-of-kind legal contract gives our surrogates the final choice, without being in breach of contract.
Why should you choose Surrogacy By Faith? It’s simple – we are God-lead!
Start Your Surrogacy Journey With Us
If you are interested in learning more about starting your surrogacy journey with Surrogacy By Faith, either as a surrogate or as intended parents, please complete the appropriate inquiry form to get started:
After an initial conversation, you can decide if you are ready to start your surrogacy journey with our agency. If yes, you’ll begin the pre screening process and move forward from there.
God bless you as you take your first steps of your surrogacy journey!