Independent vs Agency

Posted on April 27, 2022 by Giving Tree Surrogacy & Egg Donation

Independent surrogacy vs. surrogacy agency. What are the pros and cons? This is a big decision that Intended Parents are faced with once they reach the stage in their fertility journey when they need a surrogate to help complete their dreams. As well as a decision that a surrogate mother is faced with when she decides that she wants to become a surrogate. So, which is best? We’ll let you decide. Let’s discuss the pros and cons below.


Independent surrogacy is an option that intended parents may seriously consider. First, you can save a large amount of money. Surrogacy in California and worldwide is no small tab, it is very costly and the possibility of limiting these costs as much as possible is one of the main factors that makes independent surrogacy appealing. Secondly, relationships. You may have an established relationship with a friend or relative who has agreed to be your surrogate, and you wish to embark on this journey together, without the imposition of an agency. Finally, “traditional surrogacy” is still an option when your surrogate is working independently with you, as it is not legal for agencies to arrange.

While these are all significant reasons to consider independent surrogacy, let’s take a minute to consider the cons. Some of the cons to independent surrogacy are that both parties have more potential of being a flight risk, as there is a lack of third-party contractual obligation and communication. In some cases, there has been no professional screening performed on the surrogate or intended parents. With independent surrogacy there is little to no guidance with the legal process, insurance laws and purchase, medical screening, or fund management of surrogate compensation. The intended parent(s) Will need to seek out third parties separately and without referrals or established relationships for all aspects of the journey, this can be time consuming and risky. Another con is that having an existing personal relationship with one another could potentially complicate the process. There are more emotions involved and less boundaries. Finally, the surrogate may have a lack of understanding due to not being properly screened and educated on the actual surrogacy process.


Now, lets review the pros of working with an agency when you decide to become a surrogate or when you need a surrogate. First and foremost, an agency can offer you protection that you would otherwise be lacking. An agency will be an established, legal operation who will be contractually obligated to you. The agency will not abandon you, and any surrogate candidate you review will already have had her medical records screened, had an up-to-date background screening, and been through a thorough interview process. Should anything go wrong during the medical screening stage, you will still be able to be re matched within the agency, and there will be other surrogates available. Whereas independently, if things don’t work out, you are back at square one. An agency also gives surrogate mothers and intended parents more freedom to choose who they think is the best fit for them. In addition, an agency will provide you with guidance every step of the way. They are already experienced in the ups and downs of surrogacy, can anticipate hiccups and provide you with a realistic timeline of the surrogacy process. Also, an agency can provide a communication buffer between intended parents and surrogate mothers. Most times that third party will prove to be extremely beneficial with communication and beneficial as an advocate for all parties’ rights, obligations, and wishes.

There are two sides to every coin, so what are the cons of working with a surrogacy agency? Mainly, intended parents will pay additional fees. There are the initial agency fees, as well as fees for the screenings that were performed on the surrogate’s behalf i.e., Background, Psych, and Insurance Review. While it is nice to have a professional arrange these screenings, the fees are high and may leave you wondering why you paid for something that you could have arranged yourself. In the second place, there is less personal freedom between both parties when an agency is involved. In many cases the surrogate and intended parent(s) do not speak privately if at all, other than the initial interview, until after legal clearance is obtained. Lastly, there is the contractual obligation. For surrogates this may look like the obligation to communicate, even when you do not want to, and the obligation to share your medical information, which is very personal. For intended parents there is a contractual agreement to remain with the surrogate you matched with, even if you decide later, you do not want to continue with her for personal reasons. In most cases, unless the surrogate is in breach of contract, you will not get your funds returned to you or be eligible for a free rematch should you choose to cancel the match through no fault of the surrogate.

Final Thoughts

Furthermore, there are many pros and cons for both intended parents and surrogate mothers when deciding if they want to proceed with an independent surrogacy journey or go with an agency. We hope that the information provided has aided you in your decision making and brought forth questions you otherwise may have overlooked.