Independent vs. Agency

Why is an Agency necessary for the Surrogate Arrangement?

I have always worked closely and exclusively with Building Families. I have chosen to not work with any other agency or any independent surrogate arrangement. After eight years of performing psychological evaluations for the surrogacy program and understanding the importance of every party of the arrangement, I still got seduced into participating in an independent arrangement! I couldn’t believe I was agreeing to this as I had refused to this at least one hundred times before. I have always advocated that the agency is the only way to go. I will explain my story here but let me say this now. I am here to tell you that without a structured program for the surrogacy and/or egg donation arrangement the standard of care and success of our Couple’s desires to become parents is seriously compromised. I AM AGAIN CONFIRMING MY COMMITMENT TO AGENCY WORK ONLY!

The seduction occurred this past year. I was approached by a young and intelligent Couple to perform the psychological evaluation on a woman they knew for quite some time and who had offered to become their Surrogate Mother. They were referred to me by a physician who is well respected in the industry. He, too, said that his policy has always been that all surrogate arrangements his clinic treats must be handled by a surrogacy agency. But like him, after hearing how prepared they were for the process, I felt there was no reasonable explanation for me to turn them down. I was very clear about the criteria that would need to be met to assure everyone’s emotional health during this process and the Couple completely agreed. At every turn, I continued to urge the Couple to seek the help of an agency especially as it was becoming evident that things were not going to go well. The fact that they continued to refuse the help of an agency should have been my red flag, but I was seduced, remember? Shortly after performing the requested evaluation, everything we had agreed to was not adhered to…..surprised? It became apparent to me why we needed to have an agency with a proven record to make all parties adhere to the required and recommended treatment for the larger good. In addition, the agency facilitates the progress without the Intended Parents feeling the stress or strain. One of the reasons for independent surrogacy is often the “cost” of the agency. Well, frankly the price or “cost” of not having an agency, in this case, Building Families, is far greater in the long run in this independent surrogacy arrangement. In ways they are paying a price that I don’t even want to think about!!

After 6 months, this Couple is still swimming in chaos even though they already have a Surrogate Mother….no progress has happened and they still believe they do not need an agency! Just the stress of no progress and the roller coaster of hope and let downs is detrimental to all parties. We tend to minimize the emotional toll that Couples as well as Surrogate Mothers have when things do not go according to plan. Building Families takes control to promote the least amount of damage to everyone with a proven record of success for Surrogate Mothers and their Couples. It is, in one way, insurance that reduces the emotional heartbreak during the surrogate arrangement of our often emotionally taxed Couples.

Maybe, because Carol Weathers and Building Families’ staff handle the details of appointments, injections, medical, legal and psychological requirements with such ease that everyone, including myself (this time only), thinks it is easy to handle the intricacies and individual complexities of surrogacy. The amount of time and emotional agony for the Couple as well as the liability that all involved professionals take on is tremendous. We must respect the structure and realize that the worth of the agency is too great especially when a Couple “thinks” they can handle their own arrangement. I do not have any data on the success of agency vs. independent surrogacy arrangements, but I would bet you that the agency, especially Building Families, has a significantly greater success rate.

It really takes an awesome and competent team to help Couples and Surrogate Mothers navigate safely and efficiently through the troubled waters from conception to birth of the Couple’s child. Building Families does this so beautifully that it makes a difficult task of coordination; implementation and all the tiny details until the Couple goes home with their baby seem so easy! I for one see the immense value of the agency in getting a job done that otherwise is left to random occurrences; no matter how dedicated and competent all the other professionals may be.

I wish you all a Happy and Safe Holiday Season…with many blessings. Until we meet again. Dr. Rad.

Vesna Radojevic, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who directs the psychology component of Building Families, Inc.
The Psychologist and the Surrogate Mother
The Psychologist and the Intended Parents