If you’ve ever considered gestational surrogacy, either as a surrogate carrier or as an intended parent, then maybe you’ve considered doing it without an agency. But some questions probably spring to mind right off the bat: Is it cheaper? Is it easier? How do I find the right surrogate or intended parents?
In this post we’ll go over independent surrogacy and answer all your questions. We’ll also discuss agency surrogacy and the various benefits it offers versus independent surrogacy.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Independent Surrogacy?
Independent surrogacy just means that you go through the surrogacy process without the support, guidance, and expertise of a surrogacy agency. Sometimes called private surrogacy, both the surrogates and intended parents will have to do all the necessary legwork that an agency would otherwise handle.
The primary benefits of an independent surrogacy are:
- A greater degree of control.
- More direct communication between surrogates and intended parents.
Without an agency, surrogates and intended parents have more control over the entire process. If they’re experienced in the surrogacy procedure then they may prefer this kind of setup. However, this does make the process more time- and labor-intensive!
Additionally, there’s more direct communication between the parties. In fact, surrogates will have to keep intended parents informed about everything during the pregnancy. However, there are surrogacy agencies that foster close relationships between surrogates and intended parents. This means that you get all the agency resources while maintaining the intimate feel of an independent surrogacy.
There are also some other cons to independent surrogacy, including:
- Operating without an agency’s expertise, experience, network, and resources.
- Risking the possibility that the relationship between parties breaks down.
- Going through the process of screening and matching.
- Negotiating sensitive matters like compensation, short-term life insurance, and emergency directives without a third-party mediator.
- Obtaining and coordinating all necessary services.
- Keeping track of all expenses and accounting.
That’s a lot to handle, so you’d have to be 100% ready to take all that on. This is especially true if you’re a first-timer!
What’s The Cost Of Surrogacy Without An Agency?
The average cost of surrogacy without an agency is anywhere between $40,000 to $100,000.
On the other hand, the average cost of surrogacy for intended parents when using an agency is between $80,000 and $130,000. In certain states, like California and Oregon, you’ll be paying in the higher end of that range since surrogates command higher pay due to greater demand.
However, contrary to popular belief, independent surrogacy doesn’t always lower the costs for intended parents.
You have to consider that it takes a lot of time and resources to find the right surrogate. These costs can quickly add up since you’ll be operating without the agency’s network and connections; ultimately, their entire job is matching you with the best candidate. Besides, you really don’t want to cut any corners during this process! It’s just too important.
Becoming An Independent Surrogate: What to Consider
If you’re not using an agency, then you’ll have to handle every step of the journey yourself to become a surrogate.This includes:
- Psychological testing
- Medical testing
- Finding a reproductive lawyer
- Negotiating your salary and expenses with the intended parents
- Drafting a surrogacy contract
- Arranging for a short-term life insurance policy
- Handling all your medical appointments
That’s a lot of work! Plus, you have to make sure that you and the intended parents have separate legal representation, as most states require that by law.
How Do I Get Matched With Intended Parents?
For independent surrogates, the process of matching with intended parents can get pretty complicated.
To find potential matches, you can speak to someone who works in assisted reproduction, like a surrogacy lawyer or fertility doctor. Other than that, your only other real option is to go online, most likely to forums or Facebook groups.
Here are some of the online groups that can be helpful:
- All About Surrogacy Classifieds
- Surrogate Mothers Online Classifieds
- All Things Surrogacy Facebook Group
- Babygest Surrogacy Forums
- Surrogate/IP Meeting Facebook Group
On the other hand, finding a match through a surrogacy agency is much easier. Ultimately, all you really have to do is choose the right agency, meet the requirements for being a surrogate, and then wait. The agency will do all the legwork for you, screening potential matches until they find the right one for you.
Do Independent Surrogates Really Make More Than Agency Surrogates?
Not usually, no. As a matter of fact, this is a common misconception.
Being a surrogate is a lot of work, so surrogate compensation is probably important to you. But doing it without an agency doesn’t necessarily guarantee that surrogate mothers will get paid more. The intended parents may end up paying less, but whether they decide to pay more is far from certain.
In fact, a lot of independent surrogates routinely agree to lower pay, like this independent surrogacy Facebook Group for “carriers wanting to do this altruistically and for low compensation ($20,000 and under)”. That’s less than half what you’d make with a surrogacy agency!
In reality, your best bet is to go through an agency that pays you a competitive base salary as well as generous allowances for extra expenses and miscellaneous needs. Premier agencies can pay first-time surrogates anywhere from $30,000 to $55,000, not including additional perks like lost wages, maternity clothes, childcare, and so on.
Why Should I Go Through A Surrogacy Agency?
If you find the right surrogacy agency, then they’ll be able to handle every step of the surrogacy journey. They’ll make sure that surrogates are compensated fairly and that intended parents find the best possible match to carry their child.
Your surrogate coordinator can also communicate with everyone while keeping track of appointments, monitoring expenses, and helping everyone keep their eye on the ultimate prize: a brand-new miracle for a brand-new family!
Plus, some people like the idea of independent surrogacy because it means that the relationships between surrogates and intended parents will be more intimate and substantial rather than just transactional. Here at Surrogacy By Faith, we foster precisely that kind of environment. There’s a personal connection between surrogates and intended parents since we take the time to find the perfect match.
“The best part of being a surrogate is when the parents meet their child for the first time […] their joy and just knowing that you were able to give them that gift.” – Alisha K., three-time surrogate with Surrogacy By Faith.
We offer all the expertise and resources of a premier surrogacy agency with the intimate connections and personal touch of independent surrogacy. If you’re interested in joining us as a surrogate or an intended parent, you can fill out our Surrogate Inquiry Form or Intended Parents Inquiry Form.
There’s no need to wait – get started today!