Independent Surrogacy vs. Agency Surrogacy: What Is Best for You?

When you start considering a surrogacy journey and you begin performing research, you will find tons of conflicting information. Usually, this will lead to difficulties with decision-making. For example, you will be bombarded with concepts such as “types of surrogacy”, “gestational vs traditional surrogacy”, “altruistic vs compensated surrogacy”, “private vs agency surrogacy”, etc. We’ve written this small article to help you through this part of the surrogacy journey (independent surrogacy vs agency surrogacy. We hope you find it helpful!

Different Types of Surrogacy

Surrogacy is typically broken down into two different types: gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy. It is probably the most-used surrogacy classification and is based on the genetic connection (or lack thereof) between the surrogate and baby. However, it’s not the only classification that exists. 

A surrogacy journey can be customized in different ways, from who will be genetically connected to the baby, to the kind of compensation the surrogate wants, to the different professionals you will work with during the journey, and so on. All these factors create different types of surrogacy.

When it comes to the surrogacy professionals that will support you throughout the journey, the surrogacy path you choose (independent surrogacy or agency surrogacy) will determine how many professionals are involved. Here’s what you need to know about these forms of surrogacy.

In an agency surrogacy, prospective parents and surrogates work with a surrogacy agency throughout the entire process: the initial screening, the drafting of the surrogacy plan, finding a match, and the coordination of the different legal and medical processes. 

On the other hand, in an independent surrogacy (sometimes referred to as private surrogacy), prospective parents and surrogates will usually complete the journey by working with an attorney specializing in third-party reproduction and a fertility clinic.

Agency Surrogacy vs. Independent Surrogacy

Surrogates and prospective parents will choose between these two forms of surrogacy for different reasons.

Agency Surrogacy:

Typically, intended parents and surrogates who are unfamiliar with how surrogacy works, or who already know someone willing to complete the journey with them, may choose to work with an agency.

Also, an agency-supported journey may be an option for prospective parents and surrogates who are not comfortable going through the process independently.

Independent Surrogacy:

Sometimes people decide to complete a private surrogacy because they already have an existing relationship with a surrogate or intended parent. In that case, they just need a surrogacy attorney and IVF clinic to handle the legal and medical aspects of the process.

Pros and Cons of Independent Surrogacy and Agency Surrogacy

Each type of surrogacy has its benefits and drawbacks. Here is an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of independent surrogacy and agency-assisted surrogacy.

Pros of Independent Surrogacy

Saves intended parents money: Prospective parents can save money because they won’t have to pay agency fees. Legal and medical professionals may be the only professionals needed. Prospective parents will also cover the surrogate compensation.

Allows you more control and responsibility over your journey: When considering independent surrogacy vs. agency surrogacy, it’s important to know that, with the former, both parties will be responsible for coordinating and communicating with the various parties involved. This will include doctors’ appointments and reimbursements.

Closer relationship: In private surrogacy, surrogates and intended parents will work hand in hand through each stage of the process. The shared responsibility and communication may help create a strong bond between them.

Cons of Independent Surrogacy

No professional guidance: You may have to solve numerous non-obvious difficulties along the way without professional help. You will have to learn about surrogacy regulations; therefore, you will have to locate an attorney with experience in surrogacy. You will also have to find a reliable clinic. 

Additional fees for intended parents: Although intended parents won’t have to pay agency fees, other professionals will be needed, namely, nurses and doctors, and a surrogacy lawyer. Some of these professionals may charge by the hour instead of the flat fee that normally comes with a surrogacy agency referral.

Pros of Agency Surrogacy

Professional guidance: When working with an agency, you will be assigned your own surrogacy specialist who will assist you throughout the journey. The entire surrogacy process will be handled professionally and legally. 

No extra fees: All the professionals and services needed for a successful surrogacy are usually included in your contract with the surrogacy agency.

Pre-screening for eligibility: This is the safest way to find a surrogate that has been screened and is ready and committed to the surrogacy journey.

Cons of Agency Surrogacy

Less control and responsibility: This option might not be suitable for people looking to manage every aspect of their journey because that is what surrogacy agencies do – they handle all aspects of the journey, from beginning to end.

No options for traditional surrogacy: If you are interested in completing a traditional surrogacy, agency-assisted surrogacy is not the right path for you. Most surrogacy agencies only pursue gestational surrogacy because traditional surrogacy can be legally and emotionally complicated.  


Before you decide to pursue surrogacy, you should consider all possible risks, challenges, and benefits. Do as much research as possible, that way you can determine the best option for you and your family.

This guest post was written by MySurrogateMom, the first independent surrogacy community in the US and Canada dedicated to connecting intended parents, surrogates, and egg donors. MySurrogateMom offers an unparalleled degree of information and support to help members explore all their surrogacy options. Their aim is to simplify what can be a challenging journey to parenthood.