Finding a Surrogate - Agency vs. Independent

My husband and I are considering having me become a surrogate mother. I am at a crossroad right vs. independent parents. I think I would feel more secure having an agency help us, simply because it is their business and they know exactly what to arrange and how. Rather than a couple saying: "we want a baby" and me saying “I want to help you" and then all of us saying "ok now what??" However, I do know I want a close relationship and an open pregnancy with whomever I choose to do this with. My husband is fearful of financial problems this could cause us. I am fearful that with an agency I would feel like a "baby factory." That would be fine if I were doing this for the money, but I am doing this for a much deeper and more meaningful reason. What I plan to do is something very beautiful and special, and I want to keep it that way, yet safely and securely. How do I choose the right path?

These are questions we are asked daily. The first thought that comes to mind is “why not work with an agency?” To get started lets look at what an agency can offer you with regards to financial security – your husband’s main concern. At CSP the intended parents are presented with an estimated cost sheet. This is a cost sheet based on our years of experience. The cost sheet covers anticipated expenses such as your lost wages; your husband’s lost wages, medical insurance premiums, medical costs, costs of actual medication, hospital delivery costs, etc. In fact the estimated cost sheet is those expenses we anticipate a typical pregnancy will incur. So what happens if your couple runs out of funds when you are 26 weeks pregnant? No problem, we already have the anticipated costs in our trust account. CSP ensures that all anticipated expenses are in the trust account BEFORE you begin medication. Most agencies allow intended parents to deposit small amounts of money into their trust account and then additional deposits are made as the funds run low. What this really means is that you – the surrogate mother – take the financial risk that the intended parents will remain financially solvent throughout this pregnancy. This is simply not a concern with CSP. Financially speaking there is absolutely no reason for a surrogate mother to work privately with a couple.

CSP is often accused of having “too many rules and procedures.” This statement is correct. However, the rules and procedures are there to protect all the parties involved. Yes, we can certainly take short cuts and ignore some of the protocols in place, but that could only result in potential harm to you.

What if we do not insist your couple get social disease testing? That would a huge risk to your health and you are a mom, a wife and an individual. CSP believes we owe it to all three entities to be careful with regards to your health. What if you are diagnosed with a social disease five years after your surrogacy delivery? We can retrieve our files and prove to you it could not have been caused by your couple.

What if we do not delay matters by getting an opinion regarding your insurance coverage? The odds are that your insurance coverage will be fine. However, remember that all medical bills are in your name. Ultimately the responsibility for these costs lies with YOU. CSP therefore insists that an outside attorney reviews your insurance coverage (regardless of whether it is your own policy or not).

Why do you have to meet your couple in person before doing any medical procedures rather then just meeting on the phone? CSP so deeply respects our surrogate mothers and their families that we believe it is crucial for the intended parents to make time to meet you and your husband. If they are too busy to meet you, perhaps they are too busy to participate in this pregnancy. You are taking considerable time out of your life to help a couple; they need to show you the same respect.

Over our years of helping families, we have evaluated and re-evaluated our process. We have changed protocols and improved on the services we offer our surrogate mothers. We simply do not believe there are any additional steps we can remove without putting you, your family or your couple in potential danger.

At CSP we have enough couples that you get to choose a couple to help. Most agencies work on the premise that the first couple that retains an agency gets matched with the first surrogate they have. CSP looks at you as a person and gets to know you. Then we look at our couples and select those couples that most closely fulfill your wish list. These couples are then sent to you for your consideration. You and your husband then select the lucky couple to be helped by you.

“The nicest people can be very cruel when they think they have you over a barrel. It's nice to have someone in the middle to keep the waters calm.” Unfortunately even nice people have disagreements. People that were once in love find themselves in divorce court and the end of a relationship is not usually a pleasant one. Relationships are where CSP excels. We have years of experience to draw upon. A successful surrogacy relationship is not when a surrogate mother hands the baby to the parents. To CSP a successful surrogacy relationship is when all parties go home after the birth and think of one another in the fondest way and are grateful that they had the chance of getting to know one another.

An agency is a “baby mill.” There are agencies that focus on the counseling, support and education of the surrogate moms. There are agencies that are baby factories. You need to ask questions of their staff, evaluate how they treat you when you call, look at the literature they send you. Do they counsel and educate you for a period of time before you are matched, or are you going to meet with a family the day after you put in an application? You can get a good idea of what your relationship will be like with the agency by their attitude in their literature and on the phone. It pays to be careful and cautious. Ask lots of questions.

Surrogacy is wonderful if done correctly. It is the goodness of humankind coming together and creating a new life. It is the highest act of selflessness. You fulfill a couple’s dream of parenting and you deserve to be respected for the beauty within you. You deserve to work with an agency as highly regarded as CSP.

An article posted on the Internet:

“For instance, I know one surrogate who is being sued for hospital bills. Her couple took the baby home and promptly declared bankruptcy. Her good credit is being ruined because she did not consult legal counsel about having the funds set aside in a trust account and administered by a third party.

None of these people thought that this could happen to them. All of them had the best intentions. Yet each failed to recognize that the surrogacy business has standards in order to protect everyone. For the most part, lawyers and doctors don't just invent these procedures to make money, but rather to avoid known problems.

The bottom line is that surrogacy requires a team of professionals who are familiar with the legal, medical, and psychological issues you are going to face. Some people do it on their own, and it works out fine. However, my experience shows that to be the exception rather than the rule.”

A. Sconyers, Attorney at Law

In conclusion: How do I choose the right path? You are on the right path – you found our website and you are clearly doing research. If you take your time and do you research you are unlikely to make a mistake. You are clearly a cautious person and we hope you find your way to our agency.