The path to surrogacy is paved with tough decisions. Many intended parents choose to work with an agency to help them navigate the process, but others prefer the independent route. Independent surrogacy can give you a greater degree of control and can be more economical than working with an agency. There are advantages to both choices, and your personal circumstances and level of comfort play a huge role.
If you’re considering independent surrogacy, here are 4 important factors to be aware of:
You’ll Need to Find Your Own Surrogate
Independent surrogacy is a great choice if you already have a surrogate in mind. Perhaps you have a sister, best friend, or other relative who is willing to be a gestational surrogate for you. First of all, that’s amazing! It takes a very special soul to dedicate herself to carrying a child for another family. Secondly, you’ll still need to navigate the process cautiously, legally, and with a heightened awareness of the complex emotions involved.
Don’t have a surrogate in mind? That’s okay too! There are many ways to find an independent surrogate. It may take a bit more legwork, but the advantage to conducting your own search is that you’ll have complete control over the process. A quick word of caution: unfortunately, there are scams out there, so do your homework and trust your gut. If something feels off with a particular surrogate or a matching service, pay extra attention to that feeling!
You Need an Experienced Attorney
This is not the time to call in a favor from your old college friend or next door neighbor. An absolute must — especially if you go the independent route — is to hire an attorney who specializes in Assisted Reproductive Technology law. Surrogacy laws are complex and vary greatly depending on the state you and your surrogate live in, so proper legal representation is crucial. We suggest you search the database at the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys to find a qualified attorney.
The last thing you want is a legal dispute when you should be celebrating the birth of your child.
Your lawyer will help you with vital details such as:
- Your Surrogacy Agreement – the contract that outlines expectations and obligations for the intended parents and the surrogate.
- Orders of Parentage – Pre-birth orders, post-birth orders, adoption? Each state has its own process for determining your parental rights. You’ll need your attorney to help you with all the details so you can breathe easy when baby arrives.
Your Mental Health (and that of your surrogate) Matters!
Becoming a parent is an emotional roller coaster for anyone, but all those emotions become amplified in the case of parenthood via surrogacy.
We recommend regular counseling for any intended parent and any surrogate going through the process of independent surrogacy. An initial mental health screening is a must, but ongoing support throughout the entire process is highly recommended. Anxiety, fear, worry, potential conflict between you and your surrogate… a trusted therapist or counselor will help you stay less stressed and more balanced as you wait for baby to arrive.
You’ll Be Assembling Your Own Dream Team
And that’s not a bad thing! With independent surrogacy, you are in charge and responsible for every step. From finding your perfect surrogate to assembling your team of professionals, you’re at the helm of this ship.
It’s important to do your homework and have a clear idea of all the moving parts you’ll need to coordinate. Interviewing and selecting professionals to help you can feel daunting, but it can also be empowering to hand-select each member of your team, from your fertility clinic to the escrow company that handles your surrogate’s compensation.
Not sure where to begin? Wish someone could just hand you a manual to show you the way? We can do that for you! Check out Surrogacy Roadmap, a one-of-its-kind course that covers everything you need to know about pursuing independent surrogacy.