Starting the surrogacy process as a parent requires commitment and clarity coupled with realistic parenthood goals. The first step is to realize that you have options available to make your family-building dreams come true and surrogacy is part of that option. You also need to understand that not all options for infertility will work well for all couples and that’s when surrogacy professionals do come into play.
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Surrogacy is a team effort, involving many people, including a number of professionals to ensure that your rights are protected and that your process is completely hassle-free and safe. Knowing where to turn for the surrogacy support and services you need isn’t always obvious, that’s when you will need a surrogacy professional to guide you through everything when you are just thinking to start your surrogacy process.
Surrogacy professionals include all of the professionals that you will need for a successful surrogacy, including a surrogacy agency, fertility clinic, attorneys, and more. The professionals you choose to work with can make or break your experience and so to get started with your surrogacy journey, you will need their assistance to make well-informed choices.
Things to consider for a smooth surrogacy journey
Whether you are applying to become a surrogate or intended parents building your family, you need to know that there is no shortage of options available to get your surrogacy treatment started. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it all alone. A reputable surrogacy agency or a fertility clinic will be there to help you get started and see you through until the baby is born. While many of you can find it well-worth working with a surrogacy agency, there are others who can also choose to pursue surrogacy without an agency. An Independent surrogacy arrangement is an option for them.
An independent type of surrogacy occurs privately between the surrogate and the intended parents, without the assistance of an agency involved. Bear in mind that this type of surrogacy has significant challenges and the biggest challenge is finding and building a relationship with a suitable surrogate mother. For most first-time intended parents or surrogates, surrogacy without an agency is not an advisable option, as there are so many complex parts of the surrogacy method that, if handled incorrectly can dramatically affect the outcome of your surrogacy journey.
For a smooth surrogacy experience, you will need a surrogacy agency, who can make sure a surrogacy arrangement does not feel like an overwhelming task. Choosing a competent and established agency should be your first step. One of the benefits of an agency is that you don’t have to have all of the answers! As you will have a team of experts alongside you 24/7 to guide you.
Know What Services are Covered
When selecting your surrogacy agency, make sure you clearly understand exactly what services are included in their program and what services they cannot help you with. Also, discuss if your agency handles every step of the process or not, or will they assist you in locating and connecting with all the outside services you will need from beginning to end?
You should work with an agency that offers a comprehensive surrogacy program with a staff that is not only experienced and sensitive but is also truly open-minded and hands-on, one that will serve you as your trusted guide through every step on the way of parenthood.
Transparency is all – important
If you find yourself confused by an agency’s pricing structure or cost of surrogacy, just try to sort out exactly what each agency offers and what they will charge over the course of a surrogacy. Financial transparency is a crucial part and you should not downplay it. Dig into the pricing by asking for specific details about surrogacy prices, related to what is included in the anticipated expenses and fees for the surrogate, etc., you should be able to uncover and compare the true amounts for each agency.
Note: Before signing on with an agency, you will likely be asked to take part in a surrogacy consultation.
A surrogacy consultation is a meeting between intended parents (commissioning parent) and a surrogacy agency. During an in-depth consultation, prospective parents typically meet with a process consultant and an attorney to review programs and agency protocols. This allows the agency to get the best assessment of your needs and expectations and it is a natural step in the process of choosing an agency.
A consultation is a great way to see if the agency is a good fit for you and your family or not. Ask yourself that does the agency shares your views on how you imagine your surrogacy will be? Can you see yourself working with the staff? Growing your family through surrogacy is a big emotional and financial investment and a surrogacy consultation is one of the first milestones as you start your journey. Intended parents may have questions about surrogacy pros and cons, about requirements to meet in order to join the program, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask such questions.
Consultation and Counseling aren’t just important if something goes wrong, it’s pivotal for all intended parents and surrogates before they even begin the surrogacy process. A good agency will always stress the importance of this.
Same-sex surrogacy and surrogacy for heterosexual intended parents are largely similar and it’s important to understand your rights as parents, and what surrogacy laws are in your state or country, and in the state in which your surrogate mother resides. You will be able to choose from a couple of different types of surrogacy, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on your location and individual situation.
Protect Yourself with a Surrogacy Contract/ Agreement
A surrogacy contract/ agreement is a legal contract for both intended parents and surrogates and is also one of the most important pieces of every surrogacy terms. It’s essential to enter into an agreement that explains your covets and goals, and that protects both you and your gestational carrier or surrogate. The surrogacy agreement should be a collaborative effort, with each party and their personal attorney contributing to the terms that are included.
It is extremely risky and naïve not to have a written agreement between all parties as aside from having a healthy pregnancy and delivery, these contracts, also known as assisted reproductive agreements are one of the most important parts of the surrogacy process.
Take Responsibility for Your Own Journey
Be proactive in pursuing independent support, from friends, family, other intended parents, surrogates, and counselors. Don’t just rely on your agency or other team members to be your emotional support when things within the team are challenging. Make sure to consider your own stance on big matters like money, treatment options, timelines, etc. There are no incorrect answers, if they are right for you, then they are right. Sometimes, we all can benefit from a professional, calming space where no judgments are made, so get some peace of mind by asking any and all questions to your agency.
It’s best, to be honest, and clear with the surrogate and the agency. Transparency, communication, and kindness is key, you need to work with a team that’s inclusive and considerate.
Where do I start the surrogacy journey?
If you are reading this piece of content then you’ve already begun! The initial step of the surrogacy journey is conducting detailed research. Just like any major decision, couples and individuals considering surrogacy should carefully research about it and even speak with various surrogacy professionals to truly understand if surrogacy is right for them. Do thorough research ahead of time and don’t forget to see the success rates of fertility centers around the country, also keep in mind that not all agencies are well regulated.
One of the main things not to overlook is how quickly an agency contacts you after your initial inquiry, are they good communicators? Are your questions answered quickly and completely?
Pay attention to these subtle details, it’s still important!
And here’s a tip: Prepare a list of questions both open-ended and closed questions, as you have a right to question anyone who is involved with your care. A good agency will emphasize its availability to personally help you.
Here are some questions you can ask:
- What is the success rate of your surrogacy services?
- Do you help with the legal paperwork?
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you accept surrogates or intended parents of diverse backgrounds?
- What are your fees? What are the inclusions?
- Can you explain in detail your medical screening process for both surrogates and intended parents?
- What kind of counseling do you have available?
- How do you make sure that potential surrogacy matches are safe for me to work with?
- Do you offer post- surrogacy support?
- How many professionals do you have, and how available will they be for us?
Remember that you can without exception call with follow-up questions after your initial discussion. The goal of your first surrogacy agency visit should be to gather information and forge a relationship of healthy communication.
Familiarize yourself with Legal Factors
Whether you work with an agency or independently, it’s crucial to take legal considerations into account, understanding the legal implications of surrogacy is very important and a reproductive attorney can help you understand the legalities of surrogacy. If you are using an agency, look for an agency with an established track record of 10+ years and who can likely coordinate legal representation for you.
If you are considering a surrogacy arrangement you should always seek advice locally, to take your individual circumstances into account, as surrogacy laws play a huge role in shaping the surrogacy process for intended parents and surrogates. Your chosen attorney should be able to answer questions about specific surrogacy laws in your state/country and help you go through the legalities revolving around surrogacy under your circumstances.
Who Should Choose Surrogacy?
Couples and individuals of all types may choose this path to parenthood. A person who is waiting to become pregnant via surrogacy is called an intended parent, most commonly intended parents or parent are- same-sex couples, anyone who has struggled with infertility, single parents, or anyone unable to carry a pregnancy successfully. They are the ones who may choose surrogacy as an option to fulfill their dream of having a child to live for.
Intended parents can include all kinds of couples and single people; there is no stereotypical intended parent. For intended parents, the emotional challenges are well worth it when they finally can see the smile of a newborn baby booming into life, they are individuals or couples who cannot conceive on their own for many reasons and choose surrogacy to build their family.
Where Should You Go for Advice and Support?
As expected, there will be lots of questions for you to think about at every step of the journey and even before beginning it. The decision to proceed with surrogacy is personal and if you don’t have any prior experience with surrogacy and you want to complete the entire process, you may just prefer to contact us. If you feel comfortable handling things on your own, then independent surrogacy (aka private surrogacy) may be an option for you. Many intended parents don’t have a previous relationship with a surrogacy agency, if this is the case for you then you can ask your surrogacy clinic to put you in touch with a trusted specialist.
Finally, when you’re all set to explore challenging yet rewarding surrogacy family-building option, keep in mind that just as selecting the right surrogacy partner and primary surrogacy professional is fundamental to a successful surrogacy experience, choosing the right surrogacy clinic/fertility clinic/ IVF clinic is an important decision too. The ease of your surrogacy journey will depend on the effectiveness of your selected team and how well everyone collaborates, so what are you waiting for? Start researching even more and analyze and share this valuable information with those in need of this.
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