Not all surrogacy agencies are the same, and it is important to evaluate your needs when deciding on one. This is a decision that may be once in a lifetime for you. Or, it may be a decision that affects you for years to come as you return to them for a sibling for your child.
Has your prospective agency been in business for a length of time? Do they offer proof of their successful surrogacy arrangements with others? Can they provide references for you to contact independently? Do they have a particular religious affiliation to which you identify? Are they sensitive to your particular family type? Are they spoken of highly on independent fertility forums, such as FertileThoughts? Is the agency financially sound?
Are prospective surrogates screened both medically and psychologically? Do they perform financial and criminal checks on the surrogate? How selective is the agency with applicants? Has your agency met your prospective surrogate in person? Does the agency collect the medical records of the surrogate to verify health?
Has the agency ever been involved in lawsuits regarding their surrogates or intended parents? This can help decipher the agency’s ability to negotiate legal issues.
Obtain a detailed and all inclusive estimate of all expenses the agency expects you will incur during the length of the contract. Compare these costs with other agencies in the area. Does the price quoted include surrogate fees and expenses, legal fees, assisted reproduction fees and adoption costs (if that is required in your circumstances).
Health insurance generally excludes coverage for surrogacy. If your plan does have surrogacy coverage you should obtain the specific services covered, in writing. Also ask if your surrogate can be covered by name on your plan. If your insurance does not cover surrogacy, you can purchase special insurance for assisted reproduction which will include surrogacy, egg donation and egg/embryo cryopreservation. Purchase of specialty insurance is an additional cost, but it will ensure prenatal and delivery care for your surrogate.
Not every state allows surrogacy and in some states it is outright prohibited. Agencies should be operating in a state that legally recognizes surrogacy and the accompanying surrogacy agreements. Research state requirements to recognize the intended parents, this may include pre-pregnancy legal paperwork to be filed with the court or post-birth adoption.
Does the agency offer any emotional support to the surrogate after the baby has been delivered? Do they offer any assistance to the newly formed family?