Why Should I Consider Using a Surrogacy Program (Agency)

Victoria Ferrara


First of all, let me explain why I am using the terms "program" and "agency." People usually refer to gestational surrogacy matching companies as "agencies." Lately, some lawyer groups have been suggesting that the term agency is a misnomer because it implies that the agency is licensed or regulated.  These lawyer groups are suggesting that the term "program" is more appropriate to describe an organization that conducts searching and matching surrogates with intended parents. 

The word "agency" has the following definition in the dictionary: "a business or organization established to provide a particular service, typically one that involves organizing transactions between two other parties." The example given was an advertising agency. I think this definition is very suitable for what many of us were calling surrogacy matching agencies.

However, I understand what the lawyers are talking about. For one thing, there are numerous "agencies" that are not very good, and some are deceptive and unethical. In surrogacy, there is no regulation of matching agencies, and there is debate whether or not there should be.

Notably, the American Academy of Assisted Reproduction Technology Attorneys, a nationwide group of attorneys, is compiling a list of best practices and a Code of Ethics for attorneys who specialize in surrogacy law and who operate surrogacy matching programs.

This is good news for both intended parents and surrogates because it means that in the United States, surrogacy lawyers are working on improving surrogacy practices.

Unfortunately, there are many "agencies" that do not have lawyers on staff. It is not clear whether program administrators at these "agencies" are using best practices. Attorneys, on the other hand, are at least subject to Professional Codes of Ethics and the Disciplinary Rules of the jurisdictions where they practice. This makes it more likely that such lawyer-operated programs may be more cautious and careful because they must adhere to professional rules and regulations.

All of the above is arguably a good reason why intended parents should work with a matching program and preferably, a matching program that either has a lawyer on board or is owned and operated by a lawyer.

Lawyer jokes aside, what makes it so likely that lawyers will act ethically and professionally? You can never be sure, but at least there are guidelines and Codes of Ethics in place that give clients the ability to file complaints and seek redress if any issues arise.

Another good reason for using an agency is the ability to avoid the possible scams and heartaches that can come from trying to independently match with a surrogate. The benefit of using a surrogacy matching agency is that the agency will screen the surrogate. At Worldwide Surrogacy, we obtain medical records for each surrogate and have them reviewed by a reproductive doctor. We conduct background checks and administer psychological testing and evaluation by a licensed psychologist. We also have a social worker on staff who interviews each surrogate applicant. So much goes into the vetting, that by the time the gestational surrogate is presented to the intended parents, we know her very well, we know about her family, her work and her children, even her extended family.

 Lastly, intended parents should be able to count on their matching agency (program) to provide practical and emotional support, and to either conduct or outsource and supervise the legal proceedings to establish parentage. The money paid to a capable surrogacy agency (program) is money well spent. Surrogacy is a complicated way in which to have a child, and it is crucial to have a competent professional team behind you.




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