By Nidhi Desai

As an attorney helping to navigate Intended Parents through a difficult and stressful process, I am asked that question all the time by intended parents seeking to make arrangements with a gestational surrogate.

Surrogates often advertise on their own. Agencies are expensive. Things seem to take longer than clients want them to take.  Still, I have found over the years that money spent on the right agency is money well spent.

Many clients come to me with a gestational surrogate “in hand,” saying they have been e-mailing for months, have become close, and know there will be no problems. Yet, 90% of the time, their first surrogate candidate does not end up being the final one.  In the meantime, money is spent on psychological screening, legal representation, and medical screening, and at the end of the day, months can go by without any resolution.

There is an art to choosing the right agency. This is a very long relationship that requires a tremendous amount of trust, and different agencies have unique personalities.  When you find the right agency, you will find its people are thoughtful in their approach and do extensive screening with the gestational surrogate before moving forward. By the time you meet her, the gestational surrogate is well informed and excited to move forward.

The right agency also provides a buffer and guidance in discussing complicated issues like pregnancy termination and reduction, as well as compensation and bed rest. They will hold your hand and walk you though what may feel like a strange and surreal situation that is both foreign and frightening.

I have also seen the rewards when families are formed. Thanks in large part to the agencies who have helped guide and navigate the process, the intended parents and the gestational surrogates and their families form incredible and lasting bonds.