For a couple seeking to start a family through surrogacy, intended parenthood can be challenging. It carries a number of legal and financial obligations, and a lot of uncertainty. Some intended parents see independent surrogacy as a viable alternative to using a surrogacy agency, in the hopes of avoiding these challenges.
In reality, using your own surrogate comes with more risk and danger.
The costs involved in a surrogacy arrangement are considerable. However, it is important to bear in mind how your money is used. Most of the money that a surrogacy agency will suggest you put aside reflects expenditures that will need to be taken into consideration one way or the other. For example, many agencies include an estimated loss of income on the intended parents’ behalf in their evaluation of the costs of surrogacy.
If you’re working with an independent surrogate, you need to factor in her fees as well. Unless you’ve found a lifelong friend or family member to carry your child for you, chances are that you’ll be working with someone who expects to be paid for her time. Surrogate mothers also face some risk, and there are healthcare-related expenses that you will have to cover on your independent surrogate’s behalf. ConceiveAbilities pays surrogate mothers a varying amount.
Even through the avenue of independent surrogacy, the cost of a pregnancy is not cheap. Individual expenses total thousands of dollars each, and they accumulate rapidly. When putting aside money to pay for independent surrogacy, you need to figure in the costs of prenatal care and other medical expenses. This figure must include estimates based upon the potential of a problem arising which requires emergency medical care. Many intended parents find their ability to evaluate these costs objectively hindered by their desire to become parents. A well-established agency weighs-in on this concern based upon an expertise born of decades of practical experience.
A good surrogacy agency conducts extensive background checks on all surrogate applicants, often contracting a dedicated third party. Background checks involve a surrogate home check and psychological screening, so that only stable and responsible individuals are considered as potential surrogates. Not only are background checks expensive, but conducting large numbers of them is a time-consuming process without the resources that a professional organization brings to bear.
An agency like ConceiveAbilities will consider dozens of different women—sometimes more, as necessary—to serve as the surrogate for your child. If you choose to work with an independent surrogate, you’re compromising on many important details—including scheduling, personal convenience, and lifestyle concerns.
An agency maintains a clear policy of what is required in a surrogate mother, and it puts the legwork into ensuring that the women it contracts with have a history which bears out the qualities they are looking for. The agency will then look for the candidate, out of those already approved as surrogates, who matches your personal needs most closely. This involves a lot of man-hours spent comparing everything from location, to personal and professional schedules, to medical concerns.
So, you’ve made a few consultations, and you’ve matched—according to exhaustively compiled criteria—with a friend or a family member who is willing to carry your child for you. Sure, you’ll have medical expenses to cover, but the overall amount of money involved is now far less than what it would be if you’d contracted through a surrogacy agency. All is well, and there’s no need to worry about retaining the services of an attorney to make your surrogacy agreement “official,” right?
One of the most expensive individual aspects of a surrogacy agreement is the retention of legal services. This is something that you absolutely MUST do, regardless of how well you know your independent surrogate. Existing relationships can be easily frayed by something as intense, personal, and imposing as a surrogacy arrangement—and, as we’ll see, retaining legal services isn’t entirely about prospective issues with your chosen independent surrogate herself.
Many states maintain surrogacy laws that require a surrogacy agreement to be made with the assistance of a practicing attorney. Without an attorney’s involvement, your agreement may be legally void. This will cost you your parental rights and responsibilities, and place those on the surrogate herself. In such a situation as this, the intended parents’ names are unlikely to be placed on the birth certificate—and a legal adoption may be required to obtain parental rights.
Adoption is not an inexpensive service, itself; obviously, you don’t have to pay someone to help you find a child in such an instance, but there are legal fees involved. By skimping on legal counsel with an independent surrogacy agreement, you run the risk of additional financial hardship, stress, heartbreak, and legal issues with the recognition of your parental rights—possibly for years to come.
Pursuing gestational surrogacy with a recognized and upstanding surrogacy agency is the best way to ensure a safe and uneventful process. The agency puts years of experience to use in finding the right surrogate, handling the medical expenses, and advising on matters of legal assistance. Their knowledge, experience, and network connections are an invaluable part of the experience of intended parenthood, to say nothing of the ongoing support which they provide. An agency like ConceiveAbilities has the best interests of their clients at heart, and it forges new associations with those who likewise seek only the best for intended parents.
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.