Most people that decide to start a family will do so the conventional way, with one partner allowing herself to become pregnant, and then, nine months later, giving birth to a new baby that starts a whole new life as part of a family unit. For some people, unfortunately, medical circumstances prevent this from happening. A heart condition, for example, may make a conventional pregnancy too risky for both mother and child, while a same-sex male couple can’t conceive a child between themselves since neither partner has a womb.
For these challenges, surrogacy, that is, finding a woman to agree to bear a child on behalf of a couple, is a working solution. But while it’s certainly possible to try to find a surrogate mother using a hopeful family’s resources, going with a surrogacy agency is the faster, safer, more successful choice. But how do you choose a surrogacy agency? Here are a few of the things hopeful families need to consider.
The Legal Status Of Surrogacy
This is the first and most pressing concern. Is surrogacy legal in your country of residence? If it is, this means that you will have a choice of surrogacy agencies from within the nation you live in. If it is not legal, then you are already facing your first big challenge. If surrogacy is not currently legal in your country, but if you would like to engage the services of a surrogate mother, you will need to seek out a surrogacy agency in another country, as your own have none.
If surrogacy is legal in your country, then the next step is looking at what types of surrogacy options are available to you. If only compassionate/altruistic surrogacy is legal in your country, then all the agencies available will follow this protocol. However, if compensated surrogacy is also available, then broadens the range of agencies.
Of course, a major component of the decision-making process is going to be how much money you are willing to invest in the surrogacy process. The more you need or want, the more expensive the agency is going to be if you are unwilling or unable to satisfy some of these requirements for yourself. An altruistic/compassionate surrogacy agency, however, is always going to be the cheaper option.
The reason for this is simple. With an altruistic/compassionate surrogacy, you are expected to provide financial support for living expenses and, of course, medical treatment. That, however, is as far as your obligations to the surrogate mother go. With a compensated surrogacy, the surrogate mother, in addition to the surrogacy agency itself, will be paid.
This has the unsurprising consequence of raising the total financial investment for surrogacy to a much higher level. However, it also increases the available number of surrogate mother candidates, so the higher price does mean more choice. It’s a trade off.
If you, however, prefer a compensated surrogacy for more choice, but you live in a country where compensated surrogacies are not legal, then you must visit an international surrogacy agency.
Type Of Surrogacy
Another decision that will determine which surrogacy agency is appropriate for you is the type of surrogacy that you would like to have. A surrogacy that uses artificial insemination, for example, may affect the agencies that are available for you to work with.
If you decide that you would like to go the route of In Vitro Fertilization, on the other hand, this may direct you to other agencies, since this is a more involved procedure, and it’s always better to work with a surrogacy agency that is experienced in administrating this type of fertilization method. You may not know where is the best lab to go for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to detect family disorders such as cystic fibrosis from being passed on to a developing baby, but a surrogacy agency experienced with IVF gestational surrogacies will know.
Finally, if you’re traveling to an international surrogacy agency destination, you should look for agencies that have experience in dealing with the legal issues surrounding bringing back a baby born of a surrogate mother to the intended country of residence.
Different nations have different laws in place regarding surrogate babies. Without proper legal preparation beforehand, it’s possible that, upon returning to a home country with a new baby, the baby will not be recognized as a citizen, will be declared “stateless” and will not be permitted to enter the country.
If this is an issue you want to avoid, make sure when talking to a surrogacy agency, you ask them about your particular legal situation about surrogate babies. If the surrogacy agency doesn’t know anything about it, or how to proceed, exercise caution. On the other hand, if a surrogacy agency has much experience in dealing with legal status of babies going to different countries, they will be able to help you quickly. Look for a surrogacy agency that has a broad range of services you need.