In California, Surrogacy has nearly doubled in a few years. According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies, the number of surrogate babies in the United States has gone from 738 in 2004 to 1,448 in 2010. Even though the number of surrogates is increasing, serious conflicts between surrogates and intended parents remain relatively rare, with only about a dozen out of every thousand ending up in court. Even if that’s the case, here are some tips for intended parents to keep the surrogacy conflict-free:

1. Psychological counseling for the couple. The intended parents should know for sure if surrogacy is right for them, and discussing the issue with a counselor is one good way of finding out. Can you allow someone to carry a child for you? An intended mother may need a surrogate mother, but on the other hand will try and control every aspect of the surrogate’s life, which will cause conflict between them.

Psychological counseling is so important if you decide to go through with the surrogacy, and it should be ongoing until at least two months after the baby is born, for both parties involved.

2. Consider the cost of surrogacy. Do you have the financial ability to pay for the pregnancy? Can you cope with the costs of a high-risk pregnancy, premature birth or miscarriage?

3. The relationship between the intended parents and surrogate. Before the pregnancy begins, you should talk intimately and directly with the surrogate and/or egg donor on the amount of contact you want. Establishing an agreed upon relationship between all parties is key to a conflict-free surrogacy. It is also important to address your expectations of how the relationship with the child is to be handled after birth. Will the surrogate pump breast milk for the baby? Will the parents send the surrogate updates or photos of the child as he or she grows up? These questions should be worked out beforehand.

4. Each side should have legal representation. To reiterate, going through a California surrogacy agency, like SPS, has the advantages of legal representation, which is very important because of differing state laws that are constantly changing. The surrogate and/or egg donor should also have their own legal representation. It should be noted that you will probably not want to share legal counsel with your surrogate and/or egg donor. We are able to refer them to an attorney who specializes in the assisted reproduction field.

5. Signing the contacts. When you get legal representation, a contractual agreement will be drawn up between you and your surrogate and/or egg donor to make sure everything is fleshed out and put in writing. During this stage, your lawyer will help negotiate on issues such as compensation amount, the number of children to be had, recovery period, maternity clothing, etc.

6. Working with an agency makes everything run smoother. One of the most important things you should understand is that working with a surrogacy agency allows you to enjoy support, tons of different services, and essential legal protection. Agencies, like SPS, handle all the important aspects of surrogacy, so you can concentrate on the baby. A dedicated team of professionals cover everything, from matching and screening a surrogate, right down to the social work support and legal work. If any issues arise (and more than likely they will), you’ve got the support of a team to work through the problem.

Find the right surrogacy agency. Evaluate the advantages of working with a reputable agency. For more information, contact us at Surrogate Parenting Services.