In order to save surrogacy program or agency fees, many prospective Intended Parents will try finding a Surrogate on their own. Although they sometimes find a close friend or family member who is willing to gestate a baby for them, many will turn to the internet to find an independent Surrogate.
The advantage of finding an independent Surrogate is that the Intended Parents will save on the surrogacy agency’s fees. However, although many Intended Parents have successfully worked with Independent Surrogates, there are risks associated with these arrangements.
Most independent Surrogates are “proven” or “repeat” Surrogates. Because they have been through the process one or more times, they feel that they know the process well enough and do not need a surrogacy agency/program to assist them. If there is no surrogacy agency, then many Surrogates feel that they can negotiate higher than normal fees since the Intended Parents are saving on the surrogacy agency fees. Other times these Surrogates are pursuing this route because there is something in their background or medical history that prevents them from being approved by a surrogacy agency. This is especially true for first time Surrogates who are choosing the independent route. It is highly unusual for a prospective Surrogate to advertise herself online if she has never been a Surrogate before. In the vast majority of these cases, the reason she is working independently is that she cannot get approved by a reputable surrogacy agency. These Surrogates do not already know the process, so it is important to inquire about her reasons for pursuing independent surrogacy.
Whether the prospective Surrogate is requesting higher than normal compensation, or has something in her background that prevents her from being approved by a reputable surrogacy agency, it is critically important that Intended Parents protect themselves and have the Surrogate screened in order to identify potential legal, insurance, or medical issues. Before investing themselves financially and emotionally, Intended Parents need to hire an experienced professional to screen the Surrogate.
At the Adoption and Assisted Reproductive Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson, we have an experienced staff that provides thorough non-medical screening services. During the Surrogate screening process, the Intended Parents’ selected Surrogate will be asked to complete a detailed questionnaire to help identifying potential issues. After submission of this questionnaire, she will be interviewed by the Gestational Carrier Program Coordinator. Our staff will also run a background check on the Surrogate and every other adult residing in the same home, as well as hire an insurance professional to review the Surrogate’s insurance policy for coverage. Furthermore, a professional with a social work and/or counseling background will complete a home visit with the Surrogate and her family. Although the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson cannot eliminate all risks, we are very experienced in discovering “red flags”, legal issues, or other issues that the Intended Parents need to be advised about before investing themselves further – both financially and emotionally.
Please contact our office today to learn more about our services!