Surrogacy agencies are useful tools for the intended parent(s) looking for a surrogate, however, it is vital to choose the right surrogacy agency based on specific needs. These professional agencies guide intended parent(s) throughout the entire surrogacy process and oftentimes coordinate services such as medical screenings, counselling services, and delivery of information between clinics and lawyers. Once the intended parent(s) have chosen an agency, the next step is to set up a profile or schedule a meeting. They will then receive access to a database or forum where they can search for prospective surrogates.
The main service that agencies offer is locating a surrogate, however, there are specific rules that all agencies must follow. In Canada, they are not legally permitted to match surrogates with future parents in exchange for payment, nor are they permitted to request funds for managing a surrogate’s cycle or pregnancy. That being said, these agencies work with intended parent(s) to find potential surrogates. They will be given access to prospective surrogates registered with the agency to find one that matches their needs. Some agencies may also coordinate introductions between intended parent(s) and potential surrogates, however, the decision is ultimately the intended parent(s) only. It is important to remember that the surrogacy process is lengthy, and finding a qualified surrogate can take several months to a year.
Agencies act as a mediator between the intended parent(s) and surrogate, as well as clinics and lawyers. It is common for surrogacy agencies to pass information between each party, including all legal evaluations, psychological evaluations, and medical screenings. The agency will also coordinate appointments throughout the process and will maintain frequent contact with the intended parent(s).
Surrogacy can be stressful, especially for first-time intended parent(s). Moving through the process with a qualified and experienced agency not only alleviates stress but also provides the intended parent(s) with a support system. Agencies offer guidance, support, and advice throughout the entire process, ensuring that it proceeds smoothly. They are also there to answer any questions and to provide resources. Support services vary amongst them, so intended parent(s) should determine their goals ahead of time and compare agencies to find the best fit.
Intended parent(s) are well-advised to look for an agency that is legitimate and has a public record of successful surrogacies. This denotes that they’re experienced, successful, and trustworthy. The surrogacy process in Canada is designed to be largely independent, so it is especially important to select an agency that operates in a legal, professional manner. They should also look for an agency that heavily emphasizes communication and relationships. Throughout the process, there is frequent communication between involved parties - the intended parent(s), the surrogate, lawyers and medical professionals. An experienced agency will communicate often and promptly, which will undoubtedly help the intended parent(s) feel more at ease.
Intended parent(s) may wish to look at the mission statements of agencies. This will determine if the agency’s goals align with their own. Many agencies publicly share information about their staff members, which may provide further insight into their philosophy and operations. Being surrounded by nurturing individuals who genuinely care about the surrogacy process and have a connection to the industry may also help intended parent(s) feel more comfortable. They will work closely with the agency for the entire process, so feeling reassured by the team is an important aspect.