By Robin von Halle

There’s a reason to go with a reputable agency that specializes in matching egg donors and gestational surrogates to those who are unable to bear children through traditional means. Services go beyond vetting candidates to make sure they’re on the up and up and emotionally equipped for the job. We also bring in experts to guide intended parents and donors and surrogates through the complex legal and psychological issues.

The importance of this role has been brought home through news coverage in recent months of heartbreaking situations that have arisen when couples have followed a do-it-yourself path.

Back in October, the Today Show did a story on Tom and Gwyn Lamitina, a Florida couple who fought for but lost custody of their daughter who was born by a surrogate they had hired who decided to keep the baby. Since then, the couple has filed a civil case accusing the surrogate mother of fraud – saying she produced a “litany of lies and dreadful acts of deceit.”

Two months later FOX News told the story of a South Carolina woman accused of promising couples she would be their surrogate – who exploited at least six people out of $14,000.

An agency with a proven track record and references supporting it will help intended parents offset the risks that can be involved with this process. The good ones will provide psychological screening of surrogates, legal representation for all parties and a support system for all those involved.

Caveat emptor is, unfortunately, the operative phrase when people show no qualms to take advantage of couples who are desperate to create families, leaving them financially strung out and without a child.