Do I need a surrogacy broker? Or a surrogacy consultant, or third party to be your concierge? Surrogacy is bit like Project Management. In fact, by the time you’re home with your baby, you’ll feel like you deserve a PhD in international relations and event management. You did all that research, considered different surrogacy agencies, IVF clinics, assessed the risks for different countries. Europe? Canada? The United States? And eventually you’ve chosen a county, a clinic, an agency…and negotiating a Surrogacy Agreement and creating embryos and…fingers-crossed…celebrating a pregnancy. And finally, finally, you travel to greet your baby and then start the process for bringing them home.
It sounds like a lot of work, and it is. All credit to you, for navigating the exciting world of international surrogacy. I totally understand why you’d want to hand over all the research and decision-making and planning to someone else. Which is where, sometimes, a Surrogacy Broker steps in. They might not call themselves a ‘Broker,’ rather they’re often ‘Consultants’ and ‘Liaisons.’ But do you really need an extra set of hands to do everything for you? Or is it a case of too many cooks spoil the broth?
The fact is, if you are engaging the most reputable and experienced agencies and clinics, their staff should have a good handle on the situation. The agency staff liaise with the surrogate, egg donor, and the clinic, and they do a lot of the ‘project management’ in the destination country. They also recommend lawyers who know surrogacy in that country. They can guide you to the right places to obtain a passport and visas. The fees that you pay the agency covers all their hard work in managing the arrangement on your behalf.
Some ‘Brokers/Consultants’ will try and convince you that you need them to assist, on top of the service you get from the agency and the clinic. And sure, they might take some of the work out of your hands. The catch is that you have to pay for their service, and I’ve heard quotes of more than $15,000 for these ‘consulting’ fees.
The questions you might ask yourself, in determining if you want to engage a Broker, include:
- Does the agency, clinic and overseas lawyer already provide these services?
- Are we ‘double-handling’ unnecessarily?
- Can we do this work ourselves?
- Is it worth the extra expense?
If you are confused and overwhelmed by the information and decision-making, you might like to talk to other intended parents who have traveled the overseas surrogacy terrain before you. You can find lots of information from those parents in Facebook Groups (such as The Australian Surrogacy Community) and specific-country Groups including ones for America, Canada and the Ukraine – you can find details about those groups here. You are not alone! Someone has been here and done that, and they can offer some assistance for you. You might also like to consider what best practice surrogacy looks like.
You might also find some helpful information on the podcast – specifically Felicity’s episodes (particularly Part 2) (US journey) and Hillary’s episode (Canadian journey). Brett and Stuart also traveled to Canada.