fredct

Potential IPs - where to start?

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fredct    0

Hi, we're considering surrogacy as IPs but I'm not sure how to even start finding an agency. When I search online I get plenty of ads. If I search Google Maps I can find some local agencies. But who is legit? Who is any good? How do I know?

Theres no Amazon star reviews here. There's no consumer reports of surrogacy agencies (is there? :-) ). How do we know which ones to consider? Which to avoid? Where do we even start??

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traci72    202

You can do a search of specific agencies here and we do have a thread that members have shared their agencies in and their experiences. Google specific agencies. There are a lot of surrogacy groups on FB, including one that does agency reviews. If you have certain one's you're looking at, you can start your own thread and ask about them. If you have specific needs/wants and are looking for an agency that might be more suitable for you, you can share these and ask for suggestions. There are a few agencies that are listed w/the BBB, but those are few and far between. There is also a website that lists agencies and a "poll" that both surrogates and IP's can do, leaving their feedback on specific agencies too. I'll see if I still have the link on hand for that one and post it.

 

A lot of it also has to do w/your gut. Know that there will be both good and bad about EVERY SINGLE AGENCY out there. Not every agency is the right fit for every surrogate or every IP. It's about finding the right fit for YOU and the feeling you get from them.

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traci72    202
fredct    0

Thanks!

I did sign up for that Facebook group and read their reviews. I guess I still feel lost though. Every agency seems to have about the same ratio of good and bad reviews. I guess it should give me confidence that they're at least legit!

i guess part of the problem is we don't know what we want because we don't know too much about what the services are or what the differences are. I mean I know they do matching and refer you to clinics and lawyers and deal with the money/escrow etc. But I don't know what's different from one to the next.

I feel a bit like a person who has never driven a car, or seen a car, or has any idea what a car really does to be asked to pick what make of car is right for them!

i guess I'm leaning towards just picking a few near the top of the lists, contacting them, having a discussion, asking questions and learning and going from there? Is there anything we should be doing first?

Also, I find myself wanting to talk primarily to ones who are at least in our part of the country because 1) I like the idea of it being possible to drive there in person if necessary and 2) maybe they'll have more local surrogates where we could maybe be more involved in milestones and not have to take a plane ride for the delivery.

Is #1 really any value? Does it matter if you use an agency on the other coast? Is #2 true at all?

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traci72    202

#2~ not necessarily. I can tell you that the agency that is closest to me does tend to have more "local" (in state) surro's in general, they have JUST as many in other states. While I understand the appeal of having a surrogate more geographically close to you, it should be more about the feel and relationship/connection w/the surro than location. (IMO) I've worked w/IP's that were close to me (w/in an hour) as well as international IP's. I was just as close to the international one's than the local one's. 

 

#1~ Honestly, there really isn't a specific reason why you would have to go into the actual agency location. Everything that needs to be done can be done via phone/email/fax/etc. That said, sometimes it can be nice to have that face to face contact. My original agency is an hour away from me (w/out traffic) and I used to love to just pop in there to pick things up vs waiting on it to be mailed or drop off treats "just because". (I used to work for a confectionaire and loved to take in chocolates or our homemade caramel corn) It was never needed for me to go in, especially as a surrogate, but it was nice that I could. My last/current agency is actually a US branch of a well known international agency. When I 1st submitted my profile and started working w/them, my coordinator was in MA, but I never needed to go out there. I'm now a program coordinator for this agency and work out of my home office. I'm accessible 24/7 to the IP's or our surrogates via phone/email/text/FB/Skype/WhatsApp/fax, so there really isn't a specific reason why any would need to physically come here, though my office is an actual functioning office, so it would technically be possible. 

 

There are differences between agencies and different levels of services. Some are matching only, some matching and arranging screening. Other's are more "full service" and include assistance w/setting up escrow, helping to establish care for the surrogate and payments, assisting in getting her insurance (both health and life) as needed, helping get legal things/parentage taken care of, helping mediate if something comes up between both parties, helping w/the clinic/OB/hospital as needed. Some will find ED's if needed or embryos when required and help the IP's navigate that. We can do as much or as little "hand holding" as need for all parties. Sometimes there are things that come up w/the surrogate (specifically thinking health related right now) where an agency can step up when not physically possible for the IP's to. I have a very recent example for you....

One of my surrogates right now has just been released from the hospital after a bout w/preterm labor. Her IP is international and absolutely not in a position to be here immediately, and what could he do if he was? I knew that it was tough on her...being on bed rest in the hospital, her family on their own w/out her, being "helpless" in a sense. I sent her a box to the hospital that had "time killers" and some snacks to hopefully cheer her up some. Just small things like a gossip magazine (which, BTW, they are more expensive than I would have thought!!), a couple of small puzzle books (crossword, search a word, etc), a novel, adult coloring book w/colored pencils and some snacks that she may or may not like. LOL! I know that if her IP were here, he would have done something similar. I tried not to drive her crazy, but checked in on her daily. I'm not saying that I'm anything special, but not all agencies would take that extra step, or if they do, they pass that cost along to the IP's.

 

There are agencies out there that call themselves "boutique" agencies and you'll see where they promise spa days, cruises or weekend getaways. Purses, Ipads, special jewelry, etc, so that the surrogates feel that they are so special, whatever. What they DON'T say, is that the cost of these "extra's" are passed along to the IP's. YOU might not even realize it!! They will build it into the cost of their agency fee or bill it as "administrative" fees or similar, to mask that it's NOT the agency actually paying for these things. 

 

When talking to agencies, one thing you want is relative transparency. If you feel that they are hiding things, not completely forthcoming, or your gut just tells you something is "off", that's a sign that they aren't the right agency for you.

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