3. Do you need an agent or surrogacy consultant?
Depending on your nationality, you may be able to save money by managing your surrogacy procedure yourself and working directly with a clinic overseas. That said, there are benefits of working with an experienced agent, especially for couples who do not have expert knowledge of assisted reproduction or immigration issues.
Clinics often are designed to process patients rather than manage indecisive couples. As a result they can be challenging to work with. Clinics often will ask you to make important decisions without full explanations of the consequences or costs. A good agent can make your process simpler, improve your chance of success, and help to reduce unnecessary costs.
The obvious benefit of working with an agent is their knowledge and experience. Assisted reproduction is a burgeoning medical field and there are a multitude of new techniques and options available. From PGD-Microarray techniques to DNA Fragmentation Analysis, you may not even know of the alternatives available to you to improve your chances of success. A good agent will be able to answer all your questions regarding new medical advances, and suggest alternatives that you are not aware of. If you decide not to work with an agent, you should be under the advisement of a local fertility specialist on the possible ART options to improve your probability of success.
A less obvious, but important benefit of your agent will be your agent’s relationships with different vendors and medical professionals. For example your egg donor is critical to your success, but if you simply choose a donor from an online catalog, you are inviting heartbreak. A good agent has personal relationships with multiple donation agencies, and can work with them personally to sift through the hundreds of profiles to find the short list of high-value donors.
A third benefit, Surrogacy Clinics are designed and managed to work with agents. They are busy places where 90% of clients are provided by agents. As such, 90% of the clinic’s resources are directed toward those agents and the clients they bring. Without someone “on the inside” to represent you, you may find it frustrating to wait for basic updates, information and medical procedures from your clinic. If you consider not using an agent, you should check online forums for the ease and general experience of other parents in dealing with your selected clinic.
Some argue that clinics have an inherent conflict of interest because they recommend procedures for which they get paid. Its not that they’re dishonest, but clinics follow standard protocols designed to suit a “typical” patient as efficiently and inexpensively as possible. Depending on the clinic, you could easily be asked to pay for expensive and unnecessary procedures. Many times clinics may overlook options that can increase your chance of success, but are outside their normal protocols.
In most countries it is likely well worth the additional cost to have an expert on your side. Whether this is a local lawyer, an agent, or a consulting physician in the country where you will have your surrogacy procedure depends on the time and energy you have to invest, as well as your personal preference.
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