You know, you can find out what your surrogacy agency charges their Intended Parents just by asking your case manager or looking on their website. It's no secret. Agency fees are anywhere between $15,000 and $23,000 and the services that are offered are varied. I can hear you now exclaiming OMG and You have gotta be kidding me! But I am telling you the truth...ask anyone. As Intended Parents you may find a lower price out there but you get what you pay for. One thing that I do want to make clear is that although the Intended Parents are paying these fees the surrogate shares equally in the benefits of having an agency without paying a dime.
Interviewing prospective Surrogates - Personal interviews and Phone conferences, Placing ads if needed, Arranging the home visit, Educating the surrogates on the process of IVF and all expectations of a surrogacy journey
Interviewing Intended Parent(s) -Personal interviews, Phone conferences, Educational materials
Matching Surrogates with Intended Parent(s)
Arranging background checks for all parties
Assistance arranging Psychological screenings for all parties
Assistance arranging for a Life Insurance Policy and disability for the Surrogate
Reviewing medical and maternity policies
Assistance arranging for Legal Representation for all parties
Assistance with Contract information for all parties
Assistance in locating a fertility specialist or fertility clinic for the surrogacy process
Assistance in locating an obstetrician
Assistance arranging mediation and counseling if needed
Case Management: hot line, guarantee of returning calls and e-mails within 24 hours or next business day, online/phone guidance and support, expert advice and personal meetings.
Attending transfers and births
Plus luncheons, retreats, gifts and other perks for the Surrogates and for the Intended Parents, assistance with travel arrangements, finding hotels, information on Visa's, Social Security numbers and other documentation for international situations etc.
Let’s not forget that, for the surrogacy agency, this can be a two year+ commitment to their Intended Parents and Surrogates. The surrogate may not become pregnant on the first embryo transfer, she may miscarry and the IPs might need to be rematched, the pregnancy alone is 40 weeks and then there is the support after the birth. Running an agency is a huge commitment!
What a surrogate does contribute to this sensitive process is her time and her body. She is dedicated and responsible and is expected to include her IPs in all of her medical decisions regarding the surrogacy journey. She reassures, she cares for herself and the baby she is carrying, she takes time out of her life to help another family and her agency stands behind her, guiding, supporting and educating where they can. She sets her family life aside, at times, to put this surrogacy first and all the while hopes that this life changing event will be appreciated.
I believe that agency owners are invaluable and that their services cannot be duplicated. I also believe that surrogates benefit from a support system that only an agency can offer.