How to Find the Best Surrogacy Agency
G’day. I’m. Stephen Page from Page Provan Family and Fertility Lawyers. And you may be wondering why I’m holding this bottle of milk. What I’m talking about is finding a surrogacy agency. And you go, “Well, what does surrogacy got to do anything with milk?” It’s got nothing to do with milk. Well, it does. And the point I’m making is this when you buy this bottle of milk from the supermarket or your corner store, it’s regulated. You know that when you drink that milk, you’re not going to get poisoned.
So it’s regulated about how it’s produced. It’s regulated about how it’s stored. This thing might only cost a couple of bucks, but it’s all regulated.
What’s that going to do with surrogacy? Well, with surrogacy, you’re going to be spending a lot more money on a surrogacy agency overseas if you choose to go overseas.
You don’t know whether you might be committing a criminal offence back home and in Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, South Australia or WA, you might be. So you should be getting legal advice about that. But you have looked online or you’ve talked to someone and you’ve decided that this is the surrogacy agency for me, one thing that can be guaranteed about that surrogacy agency is almost certainly unregulated. So you’re not spending $2 on a bottle of milk or $3 on a bottle of milk.
You’re spending tens of thousands of dollars of your hard-earned money or borrowed money or from the money that Mum and Dad have given you to go somewhere else to become parents. And the place you’re going to is unregulated. You don’t know whether that surrogacy agency is good, bad or indifferent. You can go on the web and look at some comparison sites.
They vary in terms of quality, in terms of what people tell them is good. And you may think that you’re actually getting it right.
Not necessarily. I’ve had clients who’ve gone to US surrogacy agencies, which in one case was run by a lawyer. So let’s be clear about this. A lawyer ran the surrogacy agency and she stole their money.
They came to me after that journey had happened. They had lost 40,000 Australian [dollards], and they said, how do we become parents now that we’re $40,000 poorer? Subsequently, the FBI caught up with that lawyer, which is all great and well, but not for the couple who lost their money. I’ve also had a couple who went to a surrogacy agency in the US, and they said, “What do you know about this surrogacy agency?”
I said, “I don’t know. They might be dodgy. They might be someone who hasn’t specialised in dealing with foreigners before, haven’t exported before. They just played to a domestic crew or maybe internationals, but not Aussies, because if they’re dealing with Aussies, they will have dealt with me. I would have known about them. So I don’t know about them.”
And they said, “Well, we’ve done our research. We know what we’re doing. We’re going ahead.” Well, guess what? They lost their money. The man defaulted. He took their money, and it wasn’t just at any moment, like the other couple at the beginning of the journey and the money gone. This was halfway through the pregnancy. Suddenly we have a surrogate who isn’t getting paid.
She’s pregnant, and they had to cough up more money for her to provide for. When this guy had stolen their money.
It can be very, very hard to find a good surrogacy agency. And I would say, in general, if you’re going to the United States, surrogacy agencies are good. Despite my giving you those two examples, if you’re going to developing countries, then beware. In every case, it’s a case of buyer beware.
But even in the United States, it can be very hard to choose a surrogacy agency. And the numbers tell us there are hundreds of surrogacy agencies in the United States, over 90 in California alone. If you’re going to be looking at that, it’s like the old trick that psychologists talk about with the box of chocolates. If you’ve got a dozen in front of you, it’s easy to choose. You got 144, you’re frozen.
And so what do you do? You go online. You find out information online. What does it tell you tells you this place is good. You don’t know whether it’s good.
Ask those who know which places are reputable and which places are not. Ask us. We’ve been in this field a long time. We deal only with reputable surrogacy agencies. If we have clients who go to disreputable surrogacy agencies, we warn them.
And we certainly “Don’t say go there”. We want to make sure our clients are safe. That at the end of the day, you are able to have your child live your dream of parenthood, which, of course, means no sleep and all the rest of it. But where life is grand, that’s what we want you to achieve. We don’t want you to have the nightmare of losing your money because you go to an unregulated surrogacy agency and get ripped off.