Although surrogacy is a journey filled with good intentions, intended parents may face unfortunate situations that could’ve been avoided with proper guidance. The first step towards avoiding common pitfalls facing new intended parents is awareness. If you are embarking on your first experience with surrogacy, pay close attention to the following situations and learn to identify them:
Misuse of Intended Parents’ Money
Intended parents’ should allocate their money in a legitimate trust fund to cover their surrogate’s payment and initial administrative fees. To do so, IPs have their own legal counsel – separate from the agency and from their surrogate. There have been cases when agency owners use the money for items not related to the surrogacy, and IPs never get it back. Intended parents should feel confident that the agency provides a secure trust fund through which their surrogate is paid.
Failure to Protect Parental Rights
One key component in surrogacy is assigning parental rights to intended parents through a Pre-Birth Order (PBO). This legal process begins the moment the surrogate is confirmed pregnant. If these rights are not obtained by the time a surrogate gives birth, child services may step in and put your child up for adoption. Intended parents should have the contact information necessary to follow up and ensure that the PBO is complete prior to their child’s birth. If the agency doesn’t consistently monitor the PBO process, intended parents might have to adopt their own child.
In searching for a surrogacy agency to work with, intended parents should pay attention to how often the agency engages with them after they have reached out to them. This will set the tone for the relationship if they were to choose that specific agency. Measuring the agency’s response time will also provide intended parents with an understanding of what to expect in the future, and which communication method is more effective. If an agency becomes unresponsive at the beginning stages of the relationship, this raises a red flag.
Ambiguous Contact Person
Intended parents have fallen victim to agencies that not only cease to communicate but also take their money and disappear. To avoid this from happening intended parents should cultivate a relationship with members of the surrogacy agency. Agencies usually assign one contact person to IPs in the form of a Case Manager or Surrogacy Adviser. Throughout the journey intended parents should make time to attend community-building activities organized by the agency. This allows them to meet other intended parents, surrogates, or members of the surrogacy community who could help them communicate with the agency.
If for some reason the IPs’ contact person is not available, they should find it easy to contact the agency. In the digital age, communication lies at each person’s fingertips; therefore, surrogacy agencies should provide a variety of options for communication:
– Website: Many reputable surrogacy agencies have their own website providing agency information, contact info, and chat services.
– Social Media Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn are just some of the social media platforms where agencies engage with their community. More often than not, these platforms have chat-bots or chat services where agency employees can answer questions immediately.
– By Telephone: It’s always reassuring to speak to someone through the phone. Initially intended parents will communicate via the agency’s main phone line. As the relationship progresses, IPs will be able to directly contact key contact people through cellphone and/or chat services.
– Email: Having things in writing is helpful because its content can be used for later reference. Agencies should constantly monitor and answer their general email. This is another efficient manner of communication, especially if it’s after hours and pertaining to a non-urgent matter.
Building personal relationships is key for a successful surrogacy agency. The agency chosen by IPs should help them feel special, included, and part of a close-knit community.
Intended parents can avoid surrogacy agency “mishaps” by learning about them. Reputable agencies have developed professional guidelines and internal procedures to prevent unethical situations from happening because they truly care about the families they serve.