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By Maryellen McLaughlin ...

Posted Sep 14 2009 9:55am

By Maryellen McLaughlin

Here we go again. There’s another story in the news about a surrogacy agency that not only mishandled the intended parents’ money, but their surrogate’s payments, as well.

St. Louis Today discusses the current scandals surrounding surrogacy and a possible push to regulate agencies.

Developing a set of regulations for surrogacy is an idea that must be handled with extreme care by agency owners, fertility experts and lawyers, or those who know how the business works and the ethics that go along with it. Those who have gone through the process may also help provide guidelines.

But involving the federal government would only make the process more difficult. Most lawmakers do not understand our industry, and could take matters too far. If the government were to get involved, everyone’s interests would be better served if the industry first drafted the legislation model – determining its own fate.

We should work hard to ensure that a few bad apples are not damaging our reputation as a whole. Yet, it would be a shame to punish the industry for the greed of a few.

Anyone looking into surrogacy should make sure they do their homework before jumping in. The agency should have a code of ethics, or at least follow guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Surrogates should be both medically and psychologically screened. Intended parents and surrogates should have separate attorneys, and medical insurance issues should be resolved before any contracts are signed. The agency should also provide names of independent, escrow agents to ensure the money with which the surrogate is paid is safeguarded. Most importantly, always do a background check on the agencies you are working with. If something doesn’t feel right, take the time to find an agency with which you have a higher comfort factor.

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