Whether you’re a potential surrogate or an intended parent seeking to grow your family, you might be asking yourself this crucial question – how do I find the best surrogate agency?
Before embarking on your surrogacy journey, it’s important to do your due diligence and decide on which agency you’d most want to work with. Many factors can contribute to choosing “the best surrogacy agency,” from years of experience to similar values to success rates, but ultimately it’s a personal choice, so you have to have a deep understanding of what you specifically are looking for.
Surrogacy agencies are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Different people have different wants and needs. Many intended parents want a hands-on agency who excels at thorough communication and step-by-step guidance. Others prefer a less involved approach.
Some consider the best surrogate agencies to be those who nurture a bond between the intended parents and the surrogate mother. And others prefer a little more distance and separation.
Whatever your preferences, it’s imperative to take the time and do some research in order to identify the best surrogacy agencies for your specific needs. Let this initial list be your guide as you begin researching surrogacy agencies to find the perfect fit.
What Makes the Best Surrogate Agency?
There are many surrogacy agency options available, and what constitutes the best surrogate agency will be the one which most aligns with your personal preferences. However, there are some basic tenets that will denote the best surrogate agencies from the others, and which will be helpful with your ultimate decision. Read on to review some important factors to consider.
Years of Experience
A surrogacy agency’s history and multiple years of experience are some 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 and years of knowledge under their belt. Surrogate agencies are involved in complex cases and are responsible for delicate matters such as the legal aspects of every case, coordination of fertility-related services such as IVF and embryo transfer, as well as the emotional experience of all parties involved. If the experience factor is lacking in a surrogate agency, the risks can be dire. Make sure the best surrogate agency you choose has a solid track record of successful journeys and fulfilled families.
One of the biggest deciding factors in what constitutes the best surrogate agency for you, is whether their values align with your own. This can encompass a multitude of factors, but it comes down to whether the agency’s approach to the surrogacy journey is as close to what you have envisioned. Here are some helpful questions to consider:
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.
Being Committed to Open Communication
If there is one aspect that separates the best surrogacy agencies from the others, it’s thorough, open, and effective communication. Whether a surrogate mother who is taking on the insurmountable task of carrying a blessed baby, or intended parents trying their best to navigate the complex process of surrogacy, you want – and deserve – an agency which places transparency and communication at the forefront.
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. The surrogacy process is already wrought with stress and high stakes – it’s important that your surrogate agency doesn’t contribute to that further by failing at communicating effectively.
Surrogacy success rates are some of the highest in comparison to other fertility treatments, with an average of about 75%, and then increasing to about 95% once the gestational carrier is successfully pregnant. But how are success rates measured between the best surrogacy agencies?
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 embryo transfer versus the third? This is an important question, as the more transfers that are required, the more the intended parents have to spend per transfer – and with an average cost of $3,000 – $5,000 per attempt, that can add up quickly. Another factor to consider is how many surrogates and intended parents would want to repeat their journey with a particular surrogacy agency. Of course, not every surrogate or intended parent has the means to do so, but a surrogate agency which boasts a healthy return of both is a good sign that they’re a place where people feel comfortable and are happy to undergo another round.
So when interviewing potential agencies it’s important to ask the multitude of ways they might define “success”, and to outline their overall success rate statistics.
One of the most dependable ways to confirm whether you’re choosing the best surrogate agency is the testimonials of intended families and surrogates who have already undergone a journey under a specific agency’s guidance and expertise. These individuals are in the best position to describe the type of experience you can expect from a particular agency. Make sure to pay attention to all of the positives and negatives, and see what aligns best with your expectations of the process.
Of course, remember that each person’s journey is uniquely their own and some of their experiences might not reflect on an agency as a whole; however, when you have consistent client testimonials that praise factors such as experience, communication, and understanding, you can assume that the agency is doing something right, and they very well may be your top choice as well.
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. Learn more on how much surrogates get paid.
Legal and Pre-Screening Procedures
You want to fully understand an agency’s screening requirements for surrogates, as well as all of the legal obligations – such as a surrogacy contract – needed prior to committing to a particular agency.
When it comes to pre-screening a candidate, 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.
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.
Along with proper pre screening procedures, the best surrogacy agency will also guide you in all aspects of surrogacy 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. Ensure 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.
Finding Surrogacy Agencies: Where To Start
Whether you’re a gestational carrier or hopeful intended parents, when you decide to embark on your surrogacy journey, finding the best surrogacy agency to suit your needs can be overwhelming. 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. Then, there are some suggestions to consider in helping you make your final decision:
Ask for Referrals
Word of mouth referrals are always the most sought after, because nothing beats the gold standard of personal experience. You could ask your family and friends if they know someone who has been through surrogacy and used an agency, but many intended parents prefer sharing the news of surrogacy significantly after starting their journey, usually once an agency has been found, surrogate secured, and sometimes even after the pregnancy is well on its way.
If you do find a family that has used a surrogate and an agency they loved, reach out to them and see if they’d be willing to talk about their experience.
However, if you prefer to seek out referrals outside of your inner circle, there are other options. 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. In fact, with social media being such a significant part of our lives, many intended parents find the surrogate agencies they love through online groups they’re already a part of, since those are already aligned with their interests and values.
You can also search for surrogacy agencies online and do a thorough vetting of the ones that seem to meet your list of criteria. Then, either refer to reviews, or talk 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.
Questions you should ask as Intended Parents
Once you’ve established a solid list of possible agencies, make sure to schedule a phone call or consultation where an agency representative is able to answer detailed questions about procedures and protocols. Here are some great questions to ask:
- 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?
A reputable 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, and once you’ve compared them across the board, 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 on great terms with the majority of their past surrogates and intended parents.
Questions you should ask as a Potential Surrogate
If you’re a surrogate candidate searching for a match with the right intended parents, it’s important to review potential surrogacy agencies as well.
As mentioned above, you want to start with a list of criteria you’re looking to get from your surrogacy journey and agency. Here are some key questions to ask potential surrogacy agencies before signing on as as their surrogate:
- 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?
- What 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 as well as 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.
Then take your time, trust your instincts and don’t rush your decision.
The commitment in becoming 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 Makes A Surrogate Agency Stand Out
What sets the best surrogate agencies apart from others is a unique blend of personalized care and professionalism, with unwavering commitment to the individuals involved. The standout agencies go beyond mere logistics, placing a strong emphasis on building trusting relationships through transparent communication and empathetic support. The most reputable agencies distinguish themselves by prioritizing the emotional well-being of both intended parents and surrogates, creating a personalized experience molded on understanding and trust. Moreover, these exceptional agencies often bring together a team of diverse professionals, many who themselves have had in-depth surrogacy experience, ensuring a compassionate and supportive journey for all parties.
Building Relationships Between Surrogates and Parents
Before making your final choice in a surrogacy agency, make sure the one you commit to places a strong emphasis on cultivating open and secure relationships. Fostering genuine connections creates a supportive and empathetic environment, essential for navigating the emotional complexities of surrogacy. These relationships ensure open communication, trust, and shared understanding, leading to a smoother and more enriching journey for all involved – including the precious baby which the surrogate is carrying.
Surrogacy is an emotional and vulnerable experience for both parties, which is why building a strong relationship with their surrogate is crucial for intended parents to 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.
It’s imperative to seek out 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
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… honest communication and respectful relationship building is a crucial role of any surrogacy agency.
A Personalized Surrogacy Journey
There are many agencies out there that boast of their size and the number of patients they see each year. And while larger agencies may have more resources, they are also juggling a lot more clients, which means they may not be as timely in their communication.
Which is why often smaller, “boutique” surrogacy agencies are able to offer more personal one-on-one service, and which can be of great value for those who prefer a more supportive service focused on individualized attention.
This intimate approach ensures that both surrogates and intended parents receive tailored support and guidance throughout the entire journey, addressing specific needs with a personal touch. The smaller setting often translates to more direct communication, creating a sense of trust, transparency, and accessibility that may be challenging to achieve in larger organizations. This personalized experience can result in a more meaningful and emotionally connected surrogacy process, where everyone involved feels genuinely cared for and understood.
At the end of the day, 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 personalized experience you’ve been waiting for.
Staff With Surrogacy Experience
One of the factors that sets some of the best surrogate agencies apart from others, is by including surrogates as a permanent part of the team. Finding an agency with staff members who have personal connections to surrogacy is extremely helpful to intended parents that not only are seeking guidance, but also personal experience and honest feedback. A surrogate coordinator with first-hand experience can provide a sense of comfort for intended parents, as they can identify with every step of the journey and help guide them through the process. If you’re a hopeful parent and you find an agency that recognizes how vital it is to have real-life surrogacy experience as part of your values, give that agency a strong consideration.
Why Choose Surrogacy by Faith
Surrogacy By Faith is a professional and personalized surrogacy agency that not only values open communication and building life-long relationships, but also knows the importance of having seasoned surrogates as part of the core agency team. At Surrogacy By Faith, we understand the intricacy and miracle of bringing new life into this world. We are a relationship-based Christian agency dedicated to helping grow families by the grace of God… one surrogacy at a time.
Here are some of the tenets that set Surrogacy By faith apart from many others:
- We believe in encouraging intended parents to form a special bond with their surrogate mother, which leads to a beautiful path to parenthood, and lasting relationships that flourish far beyond the end of the surrogacy journey.
- Our agency staff members have also been surrogates themselves, helping us understand the surrogacy process on a spiritual and emotional level.
- We have a 92% first time success rate for embryo transfers with our surrogates. (Compared to the national 40-60% national average)
- We require all our intended parents to do the Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (PGS) prior to freezing their embryos.
- We believe in giving back – our agency gives 5% of our agency fees to any charity of the parents’ choice.
- We are one of the only surrogacy agencies in the country that does not support fetal reduction and/or pregnancy termination
- Surrogacy by Faith is a Christian agency that upholds our strong family values in everything we do
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:
If you’re looking for an agency that offers world-class knowledge but with a personalized journey that is driven by God’s values, contact us today! Our hearts are in this for a loving reason, not a business one. We are simply doing God’s work.
Let us help you be a part of the miracle that brings a precious life into this world.