Becoming a parent via surrogacy is truly a team effort.
Sometimes it takes more than two to make a baby. You’ll need a village full of professionals to make your dream become a reality. Some team members are obvious: clearly, you’ll need a surrogate and fertility doctors. But escrow agents? Attorneys? Psychologists? Yep, you need them all.
The task of assembling your dream team can feel daunting, and we’ll be honest: it’s not something to take lightly. You’ll be working closely with all these individuals throughout the surrogacy process, so it’s important to do your homework and choose wisely.
First of all, who makes up your surrogacy team?
To some degree, this will vary depending on your unique circumstances. In all instances, though, you’ll need the following people to help you with your surrogacy journey:
- Surrogate – clearly, you’ll need a woman who wants to carry a child for you. There are several ways you can go about finding someone, from asking a loved one to being matched through an agency.
- Fertility clinic – whether you choose a solo practitioner, a university clinic, or a large practice with several doctors, the clinic you choose can have an enormous impact on the success and timing of your surrogacy journey.
- Attorney – you and your surrogate will need legal counsel who specializes in ART (assisted reproductive technology) law. Your lawyer will draft a surrogacy agreement and a parentage order and will make sure everyone’s interests are being fairly and lawfully represented according to state and federal laws.
- Psychologist – you’ll need someone to perform an evaluation of your potential surrogate and her partner. The psychologist’s job is to understand her motives and determine her suitability to serve as a surrogate. You and your partner will also consult with him or her to process through the emotions and complications that come along with third-party reproduction.
Other professionals to consider:
- Escrow company – we highly recommend using a third-party escrow company to handle the financial side of your surrogacy agreement. Their job is to safely hold your funds and distribute them to your surrogate according to your legal contract. They can also do things like audit expenses and provide detailed statements. Handling payments via escrow rather than on your own can help eliminate tons of worry and potential conflict.
- Agency – many intended parents choose to work with an agency to help them with all aspects of the surrogacy journey. Agencies can help select the surrogate, assist with legal, financial, and medical details, and serve as the point of contact for all parties involved. Each agency will have its own set of services, specialities, and fees, so be sure to do your homework if you go the agency route.
All of these individuals, particularly the surrogate and the fertility clinic staff, will be people you interact with on a weekly or even daily basis throughout the process. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you take your time in selecting each professional. In many ways, the success of your surrogacy journey depends on it.
Factors to consider when selecting your surrogacy professionals.
Whenever possible, we highly recommend conducting in-person interviews before you choose any professional to work with. While credentials and experience are absolutely important, the rapport and general sense of ease you feel with them is crucial.
Here are some general questions to ask about when interviewing professionals for your team:
- How much experience do you have with surrogates and intended parents?
- What is your success rate (if applicable)?
- How do you make our surrogacy journey easier?
- What do your fees include and what are the terms of payment?
- How do you handle disputes or conflicts between parties?
- Can we reach you in case of emergency? How do you typically communicate?
- Can you provide us with a list of references?
- How long have you been in business? Have you ever operated under a different name?
Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure to do your due diligence and check all possible sources of information. Read all the fine print and request all terms up front.
We recommend checking reviews on social media, Google, Yelp, and more. Contact local business bureaus, and seek references from past clients. If there is a professional organization that provides credentials, certification, or licensing, verify that information directly through them.
Above all, trust your gut. If something sounds too good to be true or feels like a red flag, it probably is.
When you become a parent via surrogacy, it truly takes a team to make your dream come true.
For more help and guidance in this process, check out Surrogacy Roadmap, our comprehensive DIY guide for parents embarking on surrogacy.