Why is it important to work with an agency to support your surrogacy programme?
The short answer is that because starting a surrogacy program is not easy.
Understanding which destination to choose, ensuring that the interests and rights of all involved are well respected and that the future baby’s interests are protected from birth, are just some of the key elements to take into account before embarking on your journey.
For many years it was fertility clinics who filled the role of an agency:
forming embryos but also connecting surrogate mothers with intended parents; then agencies began to appear often within clinics, to recruit future surrogates and communicate updates to intended parents overseas, with varying degrees of transparency. Legal involvement was not always as advanced as it is now, with representation for all parties and detailed contracts in place.
Nowadays, agencies have many different roles:
• To find a good fertility clinic to create their future embryos and provide them with the medical services and care they need to get started.
• To support Intended parents, offering them logistical, linguistic (if the surrogacy takes place in a country where they don’t speak the language) and emotional support. There are lots of ups and downs on this journey so it’s important to have someone who understands what you are going through.
• To take care of the surrogate, it’s the agency’s responsibility to ensure that she will benefit from the best medical care possible, that she is supported in person at her medical appointments and receives professional psychological support. Becoming a surrogate is a huge commitment, so it’s fundamental that she receives all the support she needs.
• To coordinate and mediate between all parties
To foster the relationship between parents and surrogates, offering them both emotional support and ensuring that the surrogacy stays on track, and everyone is happy, comfortable and in agreement.
To coordinate everyone involved in the surrogacy journey – doctors, patients, surrogates, lawyers, notaries, intended parents… This can be tricky to navigate if there is no one to tie everything together.
• They also have a duty to ensure that from a legal perspective, key documents are signed and submitted to relevant authorities so there are no administrative issues when the baby is born and or when it’s time to go home. Part of this responsibility is to transmit any important aspects to Intended parents and surrogates before they start a programme and ensure there are contracts in place to protect both parties.
So what should you look for in an agency?
A good agency will have experience in taking care of all these aspects, minimising unnecessary stress or uncertainty so parents to be, have a smoother journey. It should be an agency dedicated and knowledgeable of reproductive and surrogacy matters and above all, one you feel you can trust and communicate well with.