Choosing to start a family can, for some couples, be complex, challenging dream. While most couples around the world can simply allow a pregnancy to happen, then deliver a newborn nine months later, not everyone has this option. Some couples, for medical reasons, may be advised not to have a child, to protect the health and safety of the mother, the child or both. Other couples may find it medically impossible to undertake natural childbirth, due to being a same-sex male couple, or having a uterus surgically removed for life-saving, medical purposes.
For these people, surrogacy is one solution to this challenge. Surrogacy is when hopeful parents find a healthy woman and, after negotiation, arrive at a legally binding agreement. The woman will allow her uterus to be used to gestate a baby, and when that baby is born, she will hand the newborn over to the intended parents so that they can start their new life as a family.
Of course, finding a surrogate mother is one of the most important steps in the surrogacy process. This should not be taken lightly, or impulsively. It’s not enough to find a woman with the right medical evaluation, she must have the proper mindset, and lifestyle to ensure a safe nine months for the baby.
The Agency Difference
This is where choosing a surrogacy agency can be an important first step. While it’s certainly possible for a hopeful couple to find a surrogate mother and manage the surrogacy process themselves, this requires a huge amount of time, expense and research. On the other hand, finding an experienced surrogacy agency, with a broad range of different support services, can be one way for a hopeful couple to save both time and effort, by investing a bit more in an organization that knows what to do at every step of the way.
Making The Choice
If you decide to seek the assistance of a surrogacy agency, one of the first things you’ll have to do is decide what type of surrogacy you want to have. This will affect your choices in surrogate agencies, so it’s an important choice.
One surrogacy option is known as the compassionate or altruistic surrogacy. This means that surrogate mother you work with is willing to bear a child for “free.” Free, in this sense means that the hopeful family is expected to pay for living expenses and medical support as the pregnancy progresses, but in all other financial aspects, the mother is “on her own.”
The other surrogacy option is known as a compensated surrogacy. Here, the surrogate mother’s considerable contribution is recognized financially. In other words, she is getting paid for this. So in addition to the living expenses and medical support, the surrogate mother will issue a “bill” for services rendered and make a profit from the surrogacy.
Because of the very different financial outcomes, these two groups of surrogate mothers are usually handled by different agencies. So this first choice matters a lot.
Another thing that may affect the choice of a surrogacy agency is the legality of different types of surrogacy. While the majority of countries around the world now accept surrogacy, not all of them do it in the same way. The United States, for example, has differing laws on surrogacy depending on which state you live in. So while California legally recognizes both altruistic/compassionate and compensated surrogacy, in Michigan, compensated surrogacy is illegal, and only compassionate options exist.
This means that couples who wish to choose a surrogacy agency within their own area of residence must make do with whatever the laws allow. Unfortunately, in some countries, such as France and Germany, surrogacy of any kind is illegal, which means that citizens of these countries can’t have a surrogate child at all, at least, not in their country of residence.
Another factor that comes with choosing a surrogacy agency is location. If a hopeful family is not satisfied with the available choices in their area, they must consider looking at other regions, or other countries. This may entail visiting different states/provinces, or doing research on other countries to find out what kind of services are on offer.
A final factor in finding a surrogacy agency is just what level of support the hopeful parents want to receive. If the hopeful family wants. Surrogacy agencies will offer varying levels of assistance, some more comprehensive, while others are more “hands-off” in certain aspects.
For example, if you would rather have your own lawyers help with establishing the legal status of a surrogate baby born outside the country of residence, then you will choose an agency that doesn’t offer this type of service. On the other hand, if you have no lawyer to handle this delicate legal matter, you would find an agency that offers this to ensure your newborn isn’t “stateless.” Other services, like cryogenic retrieval of sperm/egg samples, or In Vitro Fertilization procedures would also make this list.