For many people who go through the surrogacy process to create their families, they often prefer moving forward with a surrogacy agency. Though it might cost more to do so with agency fees and such, reputable surrogacy agencies have created smooth processes for both surrogates and parents-to-be and provide bountiful knowledge of all things surrogacy.
When looking for a surrogacy agency, it’s wise to set up an interview between you and the surrogacy agency. This is not just so the agency can get to know you, but so that you can get to know more about the agency. During that first meeting, it’s wise to come prepared with questions and concerns of your own so that you can get a good sense about the agency you might be working with and if they fit in line with your beliefs and expectations.
Though you will most likely have hundreds of questions for any surrogacy agency you visit, here’s 10 questions that you shouldn’t forget to ask.
- What is your success rate?
When you choose the route of surrogacy, you do so with a few things in mind: it can be quite expensive, you’d like to be parents sooner rather than later, and you want the best possible outcome from the process.
By asking for the agency’s success rate, you get a good idea of how good the surrogacy agency is. If you’re putting your time, money, and effort into this process of creating a family, you want to come out of the entire process with a family. So ask for the success rate.
It’s also a good idea to find out how long the agency has been open. If they have a success rate of 100% but they’ve only been open a year – the agency may not be as worthwhile as another that’s been open for 10 years and has a high and steady success rate.
- Am I able to speak with other clients you’ve had?
Though online reviews are good, it’s always best to actually speak with clients that the surrogacy agency has worked with. For one, you can get a first-hand experience from the client – and whether on the phone or in person – that client is most likely going to be open and honest with you on their experience. This gives you the opportunity to find out what the clients liked and didn’t like about the agency which could help you determine your decision on which agency to move forward with.
- Which IVF clinics do you work with?
Though this may not seem of import right away, it’s good to know which IVF clinics the surrogacy agency works with as it allows you to learn with whom else you will be working with in the surrogacy process. Is the IVF clinic near you? Is it far? Do those IVF clinics have good reviews or success rates? Are they LGBT-friendly? It might also be a good idea to ask if you can choose your own IVF clinic.
- What kind of support or services do you offer surrogates and clients?
A good surrogacy agency is going to provide counseling services, medical testing, psychological testing, and dependent lawyers. Make sure these basic services are offered! Though you should also see if there are other support or services that they offer that perhaps other surrogacy agencies do not, such as egg donation, insurance, or post-process services.
- How do you choose your surrogates?
This is a very important question to ask because it encompasses many other questions and concerns. Does the agency choose domestic or international surrogates? Are these surrogates chosen based off previous successful pregnancies? Are surrogates single or married? Does the agency allow for women of diverse backgrounds to be surrogates? You want to know where and how these women were selected by this agency – because one of them may carry your child.
- In what ways are surrogates screened?
Of course, you want your surrogate to be fully screened in terms of medical and psychological screening, but there’s other types of screening that good agencies will do. You’ll want to know if the agency did an in-home screening of the surrogate’s house, have done background checks on her and/or her partner, job screening, etc. By seeing what the agency screens for in their surrogates, you’ll have a better idea of the type of service you will receive from the agency and what type of surrogates are accepted into their programs. Plus, you won’t have to awkwardly ask, “Do you have any history of mental health issues in your family?” if you already know the agency checked for that.
- How involved can we (or I) be with choosing our surrogate and during the pregnancy stage?
Some parents want to be really involved in the surrogacy process by attending every single doctor’s appointment and have an open repertoire with their surrogate. Others may not want to be as involved and might want to give their surrogate space so she doesn’t feel overcrowded or pressured. Either way, you should know how much involvement that the agency expects from you as parents-to-be. If you want to be more involved than the agency allows, then they might not be the right one for you.
- What are your prices and how exactly are my payments used?
Surrogacy isn’t cheap, whether it’s abroad or at home and whether you are doing it with an agency or not. However, if you are going forward with an agency, it’s good to see a breakdown of all payments. How much will the surrogate be paid and how will she be paid? Are there payments or a one-time fee? You’ll also want to know about IVF clinic fees, agency fees, lawyer fees, and any others that might arise. Take notes when you come up to this portion of the questioning.
- Do you work with people or accept clients of diverse backgrounds?
It’s a good idea to understand how welcoming a surrogacy agency is. Are they open to LGBT couples and surrogates? Do they have a strong commitment to diversity in race, faith, sexual orientation, or background? Though it may feel like a touchy subject to bring up, it’s worth asking such a question up-front. You don’t want to start the process and realize that the agency you are interested in has views that do not align with your own.
- Why should I choose you?
Last but not least, you should end your first meeting with a surrogacy agency with this question. By asking this question, you get a chance to see how invested the surrogacy agency would be in you and your journey toward parenthood. Do they see you as a future paycheck or do they see you as a parent-to-be who needs guidance, advice, and help with making a family?
What answer should you hope for when you ask this question? You’ll know it when you hear it.