You’ve made a big decision and are considering surrogacy, but now you’re not sure where to go next.
Do you find an agency that you trust and will handle most of the process for you, or do you proceed on your own with an independent surrogacy? These are some big questions that can cause plenty of overwhelm as you’re walking the path to parenthood via surrogacy, but we are here to help you make an informed decision that fits your family.
If you’re considering an Independent Surrogacy, this can give you more control over the process and is typically more affordable than going through an agency. However, there are advantages to both choices, and your personal circumstances and level of comfort play a huge role in which may be best for you as intended parents.
Advantages to an Independent Surrogacy
You have full control over the search for your surrogate mother
With independent surrogacy, you have control over the selection process from start to finish. Independent surrogacy is especially attractive for people who have a surrogate in mind, like a close friend or family member. While that person will still have to say yes to your big ask, they’ll also need to undergo the same types of medical and psychological screening as if you matched with a woman previously unknown to you.
If you pursue surrogacy without an agency, you can widen your search for a surrogate to multiple avenues, such as seeking someone through your personal network, online groups, etc.
This method can feel more personal to some intended parents and allows you to proceed at your own pace, with a particular attention to your own intuition.
You will know the process and can repeat it again.
You’ll become an expert on independent surrogacy and can repeat the process over and over again to grow your family. After you’ve completed the process of independent surrogacy once, and the baby is delivered safely, the process won’t seem as daunting. You can become a parent via surrogacy again as you are now aware of the ins and outs of the process. The ability to repeat the process is a huge plus!
You can save money on agency fees
Let’s be honest: money is a huge factor for many families. The cost of surrogacy when you go the independent route is significantly less than going through an agency. Although you still have to go through the entire process of matching, screening, medical assistance, and legal support, you have the flexibility to make choices depending on your budget. The average fee for surrogacy via an agency is $105,000 to $ 130,000 and, sometimes, even more, depending on the location. In independent surrogacy, the overall investment is much less. Unsure where to begin without an agency? Surrogacy Roadmap is an affordable step-by-step course that guides you through the entire surrogacy process.
You get to handpick your legal and medical team
Even during an independent surrogacy, you will need to make sure the legal side of the process is taken care of. To do this you have to hire a surrogacy lawyer. We recommend searching the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys.
You’ll also need to work with a fertility clinic, of course, as well as mental health professionals. Some of the primary responsibilities of the intended parents in surrogacy without an agency include choosing a surrogacy clinic, screening the surrogate mother, and supporting and taking care of the surrogate mother throughout the pregnancy. It takes quite a team to have a successful surrogacy journey! In independent surrogacy, you are at the helm of the ship the entire way through.
Disadvantages to an Independent Surrogacy
When it comes to matters of fertility and family building, the DIY route can cause extra stress and frustration for the intended parents. Going through a reputable agency will ensure that all parties involved are protected from scams (which, unfortunately, does happen) or from being matched with an unreliable donor or surrogate.
You’re in charge of coordinating all services
While the advantages to independent surrogacy may seem attractive to some intended parents, they could be a huge drawback for others. Going forward with an independent surrogacy means it is all on you to coordinate and manage. This can be quite overwhelming and stressful for families as they embark on an already stressful and highly emotional process. Don’t get us wrong: it can be done (see how with Surrogacy Roadmap), but depending on your personal comfort level, the DIY route can be overwhelming.
Hiring and paying all professionals separately can add up
Overall, independent surrogacy is usually much more cost-effective than going through an agency. However intended parents are responsible for coordination between medical and legal professionals, emotional counseling and support, and every other little detail needed to successfully complete a surrogacy. Hiring all of these professionals can add up rather quickly. Some intended parents may prefer the convenience and ease of a flat rate that agencies offer instead of footing each incidental fee separately.
So, which option is best for you?
Ultimately, you’re the only one who can decide if a surrogacy without an agency is the right choice for you. It’s always recommended with any surrogacy that you do as much research as you can to inform yourself of your different options. While both are a great way to bring the gift of a sweet baby into your life, you need to do what fits and works best with your family.