Independent Matching – Pros and Cons to Independent Surrogacy

Independent matching can be a great solution for finding a surrogate mother. For those intended parents and surrogates who choose independent surrogacy, there are many different pros and cons to consider. Learn more about matching without an agency.

There are many good reasons why intended parents and surrogate mothers may choose independent surrogacy. And there are many reasons why surrogates and intended parents would feel more comfortable with a surrogacy agency instead. Here are some of the pros and cons to independent matches.

Pros of Independent Matching

Surrogate agencies are quite expensive. Intended parents can save literally thousands of dollars by choosing to go independent verses a surrogacy agency.

In some cases, intended parents may not be able to afford a journey if they needed to pay an agency. In other cases, the intended parents pass the savings onto the surrogate mother’s compensation.

Traditional Surrogacy Advertising
Many agencies across the USA do not accept traditional surrogate mothers. Some do. For intended parents and potential traditional surrogates, independent matching is oftentimes easier.

Strict Rules
Some surrogacy agencies have very strict rules when it comes to surrogacy qualifications. A potential surrogate mother with a less than perfect health record, such as a higher BMI, might have an easier time finding intended parents on her own. Many agencies also run credit checks. If this is a concern for a surrogate, she might be better off with independent matching.

Many agencies have strict rules regarding what sort of compensation their surrogate mothers receive. Independent surrogacy is much more negotiable. Intended parents and their potential surrogate mother can discuss with one another higher or lower fees than a typical agency would allow.

Cons of a Independent Matching

A surrogate and intended parents choosing an independent surrogacy need to be very well informed about the entire surrogate pregnancy procedure. They need to have a lawyer in place before independent matching, and need to know where they will go to obtain any testing required by the clinic.

They should have compensation amounts thought out, and should be comfortable discussing it with each other.

Without the aid of an agency, a surrogate mother that chooses to go independent will need to make all her appointments for various testing procedures on her own. This may not be a big deal to most potential surrogate mothers, but for someone who is unfamiliar with surrogate pregnancy and needs to make payment arrangements with unfamiliar testing facilities on unfamiliar tests, it can be intimidating.

Some gestational surrogate mothers are required to travel cross-country for the embryo transfer. There may be a few days of required bed rest as well. For those who choose independent matching, this means that they will need to make their own travel arrangements. Airfare, hotel, car rentals will all be the responsibility of the surrogate. (Though the intended parents will cover or reimburse these expenses.)

A Surrogate’s Words:

For my second journey, I had to spend a week in Vegas. We matched independently, so I made all the arrangements myself. I got plane tickets for myself and husband, which were around $800. I booked a hotel for the week, $1,300. I paid for cab fare to and from the hotel, clinic, and airport, plus all our food for the week, which was around $600. Total for the week: $2,800.

I took the funds out of my savings account to pay for it all and was reimbursed the next month, but in hindsight, I should have asked my intended parents to give me an allowance in advance for the expenses. I just am very uncomfortable talking about money.”

Options for testing and travel reimbursements in an independent arrangement:

  • Surrogate mother pays for services and is reimbursed
  • Costs are estimated and intended parents prepay surrogate for services; surrogate submits receipt for the difference
  • Intended parents attend testing/travel with the surrogate and pay at time of service
  • Intended parents call various services and arrange payment
  • Intended parents give surrogate mother a credit card to use for travel and testing

Keep in mind that most full service agencies handle these sorts of expenses, arrangements, and reimbursements for the surrogate and intended parents. That is one of the benefits of using an agency.

If choosing independent matching, a third party will need to be obtained to act as an escrow agent. An escrow agent is the middle-man when it comes to compensation and reimbursement. The escrow agent obtains and holds funds for the journey from the intended parents.

They then make the payments to the surrogate mother during the surrogate pregnancy as defined in the contract. Many surrogacy lawyers also offer escrow services, or can refer you to an escrow agent that deals with surrogacy.

Escrow agents are highly recommended, but not mandatory. For those going through a sibling project, or independent arrangement with a close friend or family member, it may be decided that an escrow agent can be eliminated. This is a very personal decision based on a case-by-case basis.

Taken Advantage Of
The nice part about agencies is that they can be relied on to look out for the best interest of both parties. In independent matching, if one party has done more research than the other party, someone may inadvertently get taken advantage of. This can be a real or imagined problem. What will matter is if one party feels the other is trying to trick them.

Background Checks
Agencies typically run background, credit, and psychological testing on either the surrogate, the intended parents, or both. This testing can be very important in a surrogacy arrangement.

With independent arrangements, these tests can still be performed, at the intended parents’ expense. (On a personal note, I believe that when these tests are conducted, they need to be conducted for all parties, not just the surrogate mother.) Piece of mind can be very important. There are scams that can happen in surrogacy.

Have you chosen to match independently? Why or why not?

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