Sorry this is long, this is my first time posting here and I could use your input.
I am hoping that some of the surrogate mothers here might share their opinions on this with me. My husband and I are hoping to build our family through gestational surrogacy (currently consulting with an IVF clinic to make sure that this is a possibility), and have been researching various surrogacy matching agencies.
So I was hoping people might give me some feedback on their experiences working with agencies versus working independently?
At first we thought we wanted to go with an agency way because, well, everything seemed easier... there are so many details, especially in contracts, lawyers, escrow, that we hoped that an agency would be able to help make this work better for all involved and make all feel like there was less at risk.
When I started actually talking to agencies in California (where we live), the process started to feel uncomfortable. They sent us fee schedules that looked like the people who'd signed up with the agency (whether first-time or repeat surrogate parents) were all getting paid the same fee, and I thought that part of this process was that surrogate mothers were able to negotiate -- with us or an agency -- a fee that was fair to them, even with things like childcare or bedrest or lost wages. I know it's not all about the money, but it's really important to me that this arrangement be fair to everybody and it just felt a bit odd.
Part of the reason we're hoping that gestational surrogacy is an option for us is because of health conditions related to past trauma, and the last thing I want to do is cause pain or inconvenience for whoever we get matched with. So the money thing seemed a bit odd, as well as some major differences in how they talked about providing emotional support to gestational surrogates and their families if needed, and so now I'm wondering if an agency really is the right choice, or am I just looking at the wrong ones?
I'd love to hear from people who thought about being matched through an agency, going independent, or both-- What were your priorities in finding a supportive agency? Does anybody have any recommendations for getting started in the matching process in California?
Thank you so much!