View Poll Results: Article about agency vs. indy surrogates/opinions on experiences needed

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  • Good journey as an indy surrogate

    31 47.69%
  • Good journey as an agency surrogate

    29 44.62%
  • Good journey as an indy IP

    5 7.69%
  • Good journey as an agency IP

    1 1.54%
  • Bad journey as an indy surrogate

    3 4.62%
  • Bad journey as an agency surrogate

    9 13.85%
  • Bad journey as an indy IP

    0 0%
  • Bad journey as an agency IP

    1 1.54%
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Thread: Opinion about article on agency vs. indy surrogates

  1. #1
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    Default Opinion about article on agency vs. indy surrogates

    A regular reader of my blog gave me a link to the article below and asked my opinion of it. The writer of the article is a GSx2 and former agency owner, and currently writes an info-blog about surrogacy. I have commented on the blog (it has to be approved before it is visible) and I plan on addressing my opinion in an entry in blog later today as well. In the meantime, I was wondering how you feel about the below article. I'd like to hear from everyone, both surros and IPs, agency and indy folks.

    Also, could you vote in the poll? You can vote more than once to reflect multiple journeys.

    Surrogacy Agency Misconceptions: Why some women "Go Independent"
    Why some women "Go Independent"

    I have met literally hundreds of surrogate mothers, both traditional and gestational (although I readily admit that most were gestational). The women who tried to match themselves "independently" were the most interesting to talk with because they #1 had the most issues/problems #2 failed to actually complete a surrogacy and #3 some ended up going with an agency. Now I know of a very few who have had a great experience matching themselves and I was happy and relieved to hear that they had a great experience. However, more often then not, there wasn't a happy ending.

    The question I had to women who want to be surrogates but don't want to go through an agency is WHY NOT? What is wrong with agencies? I know why some Intended Parents don't want to hire an agency and #1 is money but why do surrogates avoid agencies? Here are some of the top reasons women 'go independent':

    #1 Potential Surrogates feel that they are saving potential IPs money

    #2 Potential Surrogates can set their own base fee without an agency interfering and if the IP is 'saving money' (see #1) it can be given to the Independent surrogate

    #3 Potential Surrogates don't have to go through the screening an agency requires. Examples:
    A BMI higher then 30 would be "OK"
    B Not parenting their own children would be "OK"
    C On public assistance would be fine
    D No Insurance is OK because they could be on public assistance
    E No Background Check because IP's don't want to spend the money
    F No psychological evaluation unless required by the clinic
    G Taking certain medications for anxiety for example might be acceptable
    H Hazardous working conditions can be overlooked
    I A 'retainer fee' can be requested
    J If Traditional and in-home inseminations then No IQ testing, No STD testing, no waiting for sperm quarantine

    #4 Going through an agency requires too much time and paperwork

    Are these REALLY the type of women that IP's want to carry their child? NO! But then again I don't think that Intended Parents who want to save time and money know what they are getting themselves into when they don't ask the right questions or require the most basic of background information.

    Taking all of the above into consideration....who is really benefiting in an Independent situation?

  2. #2
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    Personally, I think the article is a crock of bull. Sounds like it's spoken as someone who has never gone indy. I've seen LOTS of indy journeys go well. I didn't vote because we're not "done" with our journey (transfer is today!!!), but my indy match is FABULOUS! It feels so much more personal, in my opinion, than it might be through an agency. Why have a middle man? Why not talk directly to one another? I certainly don't fault anyone for using an agency, so why attack those who don't? It's a personal choice. And frankly, the comment that IPs who go indy "want to save time and money [and don't] know what they are getting themselves into when they don't ask the right questions or require the most basic of background information." is complete BS. Just because IPs goes independent doesn't mean they don't ask the "right" questions or do background checks. And it certainly isn't being "lazy" on either side. It requires a lot of time and attention to the details. But to each his own...

  3. #3
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    I have seen more agency journeys go bad than indy. Why? Probably because more go through an agency?

    There are several factors for me going indy, location is the HUGE one. There are simply no agencies here. But I don't think I'd go through one anyway. I'm too (and this is personal, not directed at anyone going through an agency) independent as a person to have someone be the boss of me in such a journey. As Niki said, each to her own. We do what feels right.

  4. #4
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    I have done two independent journey's and both were wonderful and ended wonderfully.

    I don't meet any of the "criteria" in her article, either.

    And, I am in the beginning stages of my third surrogacy journey - independent as well.

    She certainly is entitled to her opinion, but I do feel like she is misrepresenting the "facts".

  5. #5
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    Not a well written article. And I went with an agency that I love and will use again. It wouldn't pursuade me to do anything differently and really then, there's no point to it.

  6. #6
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    Maybe some agencies are good, but the agency I signed up with did about $100 worth of work for their almost 10 grand fee. And then on top of that they STOLE my surrogate's compensation money! We are now suing them. We have since gone indy and it is much better, I recommend it. Our agency did not put our surro's compensation in escrow like they were supposed to, they spent it, in particular Nicole Kline. I wish we had gone indy to begin with.

  7. #7
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    I also thought the article was a pile of poo-poo.

    The things listed of why surros go indy is ridiculous.

    Most of the things they are say they are trying to avoid by going indy are things that the clinic and/or lawyers check for.

    Our son was born on 3-29-13
    Our 6th child...a GIRL...due 1/21/15

  8. #8
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    I had a horrible experience with my first agency and actually switched agencies.

    I prefer agency because they do the work. Although some of the prices I have seen for that work was outrageous, I like the agency I am with. Their prices are fairly low and the owner is great!!!
    GSx1 11/02/09 to Skylar @42 weeks
    GSx2 02/09/11 to Ava & Oliver @ 32w5d

  9. #9
    mom2c&l is offline V & B are here! 37wks3dys
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    #4 is the only one I can even come close to say applies to me. Honestly I chose to go indy initially because I didn't know how to go about getting my birth records (I had moved states and my OB had also moved-I now know the hospital is an option).
    I also didn't like the idea of someone else in the middle of 'our business'.

    I would only consider using an agency IF I was having a hard time matching on my own.

    Yes the article is offensive. Many times indy surros are 'go getters' that just like to get the job done.

    Thank you for the sig Deb!
    :heartbeat forever grateful to Mylissalynn:heartbeat
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  10. #10
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    My agency match was not all roses! While I got along with my FIPs for the most part, I felt lied to and used a lot of the time. I have matched 2 times indy now and both were wonderful. Granted the first match was pretty short since it was a 1 shot and done deal, the current one is great. We get along great and everything has been all I could have ever asked for.

  11. #11
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    HELLO! She owns an AGENCY!!! Why on earth would she have anything at all nice to say about independent matches? To do so would be admitting that agencies are not always needed and that is just bad for her business.

    Talk about a skewed article. Seriously... I find her opinions being stated as fact rather offensive. I think it makes her seem uneducated and close-minded. I also find it offensive that she made HUGE generalizations about women that choose to go indy (most of which were VERY wrong) How DARE she question the quality of surrogates that want to match independently!!!

    I do not know ONE indy surrogate that is an obese, childless, unstable, emotionally wrecked ex-con on welfare (as she makes it out to be!!)

    I work with an agency - Would I work with her? Not with that attitude!!!

    That article really disgusts me!

  12. #12
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    I went with an agency and agree with a PP they did $100 worth of work for a $7500 fee. My problem doesn't lie with my IPs it lies with the agency and lack of support that was promised as well as other things.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mommy_2_3 View Post
    HELLO! She owns an AGENCY!!! Why on earth would she have anything at all nice to say about independent matches? To do so would be admitting that agencies are not always needed and that is just bad for her business.

    Talk about a skewed article. Seriously... I find her opinions being stated as fact rather offensive. I think it makes her seem uneducated and close-minded. I also find it offensive that she made HUGE generalizations about women that choose to go indy (most of which were VERY wrong) How DARE she question the quality of surrogates that want to match independently!!!


    I work with an agency - Would I work with her? Not with that attitude!!!

    That article really disgusts me!
    :agree: :agree:
    Heather

  14. #14
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    I have to say that while I do not think that agencys are always the best thing, I don't completely disagree with her overall points. I think that indy matches can be absolutely wonderful, just like agency journeys can be amazing as well. It depends more on the people involved and the chemistry established.

    I read all the time about surrogates who don't get the answer they want from a RE so they throw up an indy ad and the next week they are inseming. It does happen and it happens frequently. How many times does someone come here and say, the RE said my BMI is too high or they have BP issues and people tell them to just match independently. How many times have people here told a surrogate to try to get their health problems in control first, and instead of doing that they get defensive and put up an ad. RE and doctors don't just reject people for fun, usually their is a reason that they feel is important. They are dealing with IP's who ultimately want a baby, sometimes (and I know this is just my opinion) I feel like people take advantage of that strong desire. Surrogates wanting to get things started quickly do the same thing sometimes.

    Some agencies charge way too much to do nothing. But a lot of surrogates and IP's don't follow the proper procedures when going indy and those are the train wreck stories we constantly here about. I think it is way more about the people and their intentions, not their choice to go with an agency or not.


    It is obvious by the responses that I am not the majority voice in this issue. My personal experience with agencies was not all sunshine and roses and I think some charge so much for things we could have done on our own. But their is a level of accountability they provide for everyone. I also had experience when my agency was a clear and level headed objective third party that helped when I needed it. Certainly I do not think that this article is right on everything, but I am just saying I kind of see the point she is trying to make.

    I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be. ~Douglas Adams

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jordysmama View Post
    I have to say that while I do not think that agencys are always the best thing, I don't completely disagree with her overall points. I think that indy matches can be absolutely wonderful, just like agency journeys can be amazing as well. It depends more on the people involved and the chemistry established.

    I read all the time about surrogates who don't get the answer they want from a RE so they throw up an indy ad and the next week they are inseming. It does happen and it happens frequently. How many times does someone come here and say, the RE said my BMI is too high or they have BP issues and people tell them to just match independently. How many times have people here told a surrogate to try to get their health problems in control first, and instead of doing that they get defensive and put up an ad. RE and doctors don't just reject people for fun, usually their is a reason that they feel is important. They are dealing with IP's who ultimately want a baby, sometimes (and I know this is just my opinion) I feel like people take advantage of that strong desire. Surrogates wanting to get things started quickly do the same thing sometimes.

    Some agencies charge way too much to do nothing. But a lot of surrogates and IP's don't follow the proper procedures when going indy and those are the train wreck stories we constantly here about. I think it is way more about the people and their intentions, not their choice to go with an agency or not.


    It is obvious by the responses that I am not the majority voice in this issue. My personal experience with agencies was not all sunshine and roses and I think some charge so much for things we could have done on our own. But their is a level of accountability they provide for everyone. I also had experience when my agency was a clear and level headed objective third party that helped when I needed it. Certainly I do not think that this article is right on everything, but I am just saying I kind of see the point she is trying to make.
    I totally agree with your whole post. My first IP's are amazing, and I'm so lucky to have been able to help them. But the agency we went through...um...not so much. Most stressful time of my entire life. Then I had a bad indy match, and now I'm matched with wonderful IP's and working with an AMAZING agency. Every situation is different, and it's hard to base an opinion off of agency vs. indy alone. Too many other factors involved.

  16. #16
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    Angela, to an extent I do agree with you. The major problem that I had with the article is that the integrity of all or most indy surrogates is questioned and minimized by the article. We are pigeonholed into a negative stereotype that does not accurately reflect why majority of us choose to work independently.

    Sometimes going indy opens doors that would otherwise be closed by agencies. There are some agencies (and clinics) that would never accept me because I've had 4 c-sections already, or because I have PCOS, or because my BMI isn't under 30. Yet according to my OB and RE, I'm physically fit and a good candidate physically and emotionally to be a surrogate. Had I stopped just because two REs (informally, never during official screening) told me no, I never would have been able to deliver Sam and I never would have been able to try to help my other couples.

    Accountability doesn't rest just with the surrogates. It rests also with the IPs who choose them and the professionals who approve them.

  17. #17
    nina277 is offline 5/19th = hardest day ever
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    Quote Originally Posted by jordysmama View Post
    I have to say that while I do not think that agencys are always the best thing, I don't completely disagree with her overall points. I think that indy matches can be absolutely wonderful, just like agency journeys can be amazing as well. It depends more on the people involved and the chemistry established.

    I read all the time about surrogates who don't get the answer they want from a RE so they throw up an indy ad and the next week they are inseming. It does happen and it happens frequently. How many times does someone come here and say, the RE said my BMI is too high or they have BP issues and people tell them to just match independently. How many times have people here told a surrogate to try to get their health problems in control first, and instead of doing that they get defensive and put up an ad. RE and doctors don't just reject people for fun, usually their is a reason that they feel is important. They are dealing with IP's who ultimately want a baby, sometimes (and I know this is just my opinion) I feel like people take advantage of that strong desire. Surrogates wanting to get things started quickly do the same thing sometimes.

    Some agencies charge way too much to do nothing. But a lot of surrogates and IP's don't follow the proper procedures when going indy and those are the train wreck stories we constantly here about. I think it is way more about the people and their intentions, not their choice to go with an agency or not.


    It is obvious by the responses that I am not the majority voice in this issue. My personal experience with agencies was not all sunshine and roses and I think some charge so much for things we could have done on our own. But their is a level of accountability they provide for everyone. I also had experience when my agency was a clear and level headed objective third party that helped when I needed it. Certainly I do not think that this article is right on everything, but I am just saying I kind of see the point she is trying to make.
    I totally agree. I think that indy journeys are wonderful but not for everyone.
    I think that it comes down to education. IPs have to be very well educated on surrogacy, reproduction, medical health and background checks (most people are not). I believe that some surrogates go indy to save IPs money but I also KNOW that SOME do it to bypass medical screenings and background checks.
    I also agree that some agencies charge ridicules amounts of money which is many times unnecessary but there are other agencies who charge reasonable fees.
    I am in an indy journey now and its great but my IPs and I KNOW each other we are not strangers. If I had a friend who needed a surrogate and they were not well educated on the process I would recommend they find an agency that can help there are just too many people out there that can take IPs for a ride whether intentionally or because they are uneducated themselves.


    I have alternating siggys ;-)

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starfish View Post
    But I don't think I'd go through one anyway. I'm too (and this is personal, not directed at anyone going through an agency) independent as a person to have someone be the boss of me in such a journey. As Niki said, each to her own. We do what feels right.
    I have to agree with that!

    And, for me, there is no way that I felt that an agency could find a match for me. Only because how in the world could filling out some papers show you the kind of person that I am or that I would be looking for?
    Everytime that my IM and I have another issue come up (scheduling, insurance, whatever) one of us always brings out that, while it is stressful, we couldn't imagine that $10,000 would be worth paying someone to make the phone calls for us!


    (induction, but a vaginal unmedicated birth!)
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  19. #19
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    I haven't even signed a contract yet, but I feel my indy match is fantastic! I could go on and on about why I adore my IM, but the reason I chose to go without the agency is mostly cause I prefer to control my own journey, not be told what to do. Point by point:

    A BMI higher then 30 would be "OK" - I will admit to this one. But if my own OB, who knows me better than any other dr, feels I'd have no issues being pregnant, then who is a non-medical professional (ie: Agency Owner) to tell me no?

    B Not parenting their own children would be "OK" - None issue for me, but I think that having made the decision to give up your own child, and it's been long enough to show that you're OK with your choice, could actually be a plus in some IPs eyes.

    C On public assistance would be fine - Would depend on the assistance. I don't agree with using say the state health plan to pay for the pregnancy, but if IPs are willing to purchase a separate coverage, then what's the big deal?

    D No Insurance is OK because they could be on public assistance - See above

    E No Background Check because IP's don't want to spend the money - Personally, I'd be seeing red flags if the IPs didn't want a background check. I insisted on a check on both my IPs, and was more than happy to provide one in return.

    F No psychological evaluation unless required by the clinic - This I think could be forgone if the parties have met and are comfortable without. I personally would happily submit to one if my IPs asked, but I don't think they are necessarily required, though I do see the reasoning behind it.

    G Taking certain medications for anxiety for example might be acceptable - Eh, only if the meds are safe in pregnancy.

    H Hazardous working conditions can be overlooked - This one I'm iffy... Does the surro have the option of adjusting work conditions for the pregnancy? I don't think most agencies even ask this question, and should.

    I A 'retainer fee' can be requested - I don't ask for one, but I don't see the harm in them either

    J If Traditional and in-home inseminations then No IQ testing, No STD testing, no waiting for sperm quarantine - BS!!! At least for the STD. This is so a must, and again, any IPs who didn't ask for one and refused to submit to one themselves would be a red flag for me.

    My point is, that any surro and IP who have done their homework and know what they are about, don't necessarily need an agency if they feel they can do the legwork themselves.

    Siggy by Chavonia (texassurroangel)
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  20. #20
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    I think it reads as if all surrogates who choose indy have one or more of these issues, which is incorrect. I think there has been alot of great journeys through independent matches. It really comes down to personal preference. There is going to be good and bad in both agency and indy. You are going to always here stories of certain agencies that are not doing their jobs, leaving their surrogates with medical bills, mishandling of funds, and not supporting their surrogates and intended parents. I do believe that there are more woman with agencies than there are indy which is half the reason you hear more stories about agency matches. I think that indy matches are great if you are willing to do the following.....


    Educate yourself about the surrogacy process, medical requirements, insurance exclusions, laws in your state of residency, and background checks.

    I would not attempt to do an independent surrogacy unless you or your Ip's are willing to do the following...

    Determine state laws and required legal proceedings in the Surrogate’s state.

    Oversee all necessary legal filings and procedures (such as pre-birth orders and step parent adoptions) to establish parental rights for Intended Parents.

    Contact your IP's for reimbursement of expenses, including prescription medications and co-payments. You have to be able to talk with them about money unless you have arranged for a third party to handle escrow.

    Confirm your health insurance coverage; if none is available, or your policy specifically excludes surrogacy, arrange for independent coverage.

    Locate fertility clinic or endocrinologists that fits IP’s and Surroagte's needs, coordinate medical process.

    Coordinate required medical screening for all parties, per reproductive endocrinologist or clinic’s specifications.

    Arrange travel for Intended Parents or Surrogates at IP’s expense.

    Make sure all doctor’s costs are correctly provided for, and all doctor’s instructions are followed.

    Locate separate legal counsel experienced in surrogacy law for Recipient Couple, Egg Donor, and Surrogate.

    Review and assist in negotiating the contract between Recipient Couple, Surrogate, and Egg Donor.

    Arrange for opening of escrow; manage escrow account; monitor and authorize disbursements in accordance with your contract.

    Arrange background checks for Recipient Parents, Surrogate, and Egg Donor

    Locate a reproductive endocrinologist/infertility clinic that fits the Recipient Parents’ and Surrogates' needs

    If necessary due to location, Locating satellite clinic to monitor Egg Donor and/or Surrogate.

    Arrange psychological screening with a licensed psychotherapist or psychologist specializing in third party reproduction for Egg Donor’s and IP(s) initial screening

    Shop around for an RE who will not suck you dry. :rotfl:

    Arrange life insurance coverage for Egg Donor and Surrogate.

    Ensure that the IP's have a Last Will and Testament.



    Some are willing and able to do all of this and others just do not have the time or the resources. I think if you have the time, are educated about the process, and are willing to do a lot of leg work, indy could be the way to go. I will say that it will not save you money by going indy if you do not know what you are doing. You could spend more money because you have done some things wrong than you ever would with an agency. :2cents:

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