Welcome! I’m Meriel, one of the Journey Coordinators at Collective Surrogacy, and I am a three-time past surrogate. In this post, we continue our Surrogacy 101 blog series with this second post on choosing a surrogacy agency.
Agency-Guided v. Independent Journey?
Once I had made the decision to become a surrogate, I was ready to get started right away. After a little bit of research, I learned that I could have chosen to work with an agency or to embark on what is called an “independent journey.” An independent journey is where a surrogate finds her own intended parents and navigates all steps of the process independently just between her and the parents. Being a first-time surrogate and knowing how complex the journey can be, I felt it was absolutely necessary to work with an agency in order to be guided by professionals who were experienced. I was faced with the question: how to choose the right surrogacy agency for me?
I learned the world of surrogacy has grown exponentially in the last two decades. There are agencies all over the country who all tout similar benefits, so what does one look for when choosing a surrogacy agency?
There are a few criteria that anyone looking into an agency should be aware of and these were the areas I focused on when looking at various agencies.
These criteria include expertise, level of support, and protection.
Expertise - It is vital that an agency is being led by experts in the field of surrogacy. With the many facets and legal implications that go along with a surrogacy journey, I knew that I wanted an agency that knew what it was doing, as I clearly was a novice. Here at Collective Surrogacy, our founder and director, Keely Seaverson, is well known and connected in the world of surrogacy. She has been involved in the field for over 17 years and her wealth of knowledge as a surrogacy coach and attorney are an incredible asset to those wishing to be guided along their surrogacy journey.
Level of Support - I also knew that I wanted to be comprehensively supported as a first-time surrogate. There were countless things that I didn’t know, and I wanted to be sure that there would be knowledgeable people around me that I would be comfortable reaching out to in order to assist when I needed it the most. Our boutique agency gives us the ability to be hands on with all of our surrogates. All of our journey coordinators are previous surrogates themselves and have seen and experienced the full spectrum of what can occur during a surrogacy journey. They are passionate about supporting other women who wish to see their dream come true of helping create a family.
Protection - It was clear to me that as a surrogate, I could be putting myself in a vulnerable position without the right protections. I wanted to be sure that the team around me had my wellbeing as a top consideration and that my agency had safeguards in place to ensure that I was protected. It is important that agencies are following best practice and ethical guidelines. Collective Surrogacy has multiple safeguards in place to ensure those guidelines are being followed with the utmost dedication. These safeguards include medical and psychological screenings and reviews, as well as all legal and financial aspects handled by third party professionals.
The best advice I can give as a previous surrogate to other women looking to pursue their own surrogacy journey is to do research and listen to your gut. Ask yourself what is important to you? Don’t be afraid to ask questions! You are choosing your agency, not the other way around. An agency should feel comfortable coming to the table to answer your questions and give comprehensive answers. Connect with other surrogates and listen to testimonials. An agency’s role is to support and guide you to have a successful journey, not make you feel like a commodity. Lastly, an agency should allow you to feel confident handing over your trust.
Once you find an agency that is right for you, the application and screening process can begin. We’d love to share more about Collective Surrogacy and answer any questions you may have!