Top Ten Tips for Avoiding a Surrogacy or Egg Donation Scam/Fraud
- You should have independent legal representation from at attorney that specializes in reproductive law! Check out the Creating a Family resources on finding an attorney qualified in reproductive law.
- If you are using an egg donor or surrogate who is not represented by an agency, have your attorney screen her first. If she procrastinates in calling your attorney or does not want the attorney to call her, consider this a major red flag.
- If you are using a surrogate that is not represented by an agency and she has been a surrogate or egg donor before, ask for and check reference for the intended parents and the infertility clinic and/or obstetrician she used.
- The owner/founder/director of an egg donation or surrogacy agency should be listed on their website. Search the internet for information on these people.
- If at all possible, visit the egg donation or surrogacy agency’s office. Many shady agencies operate behind fictitious addresses or Post Office boxes. Be suspicious if the only address given is a PO Box. You may also want to do a little online snooping of the business address listed. One way is to use Google Earth to see what the building looks like.
- Get references from the egg donation or surrogacy agency rather than relying on the testimonials on their website or glowing “independent” reports on forums. Call or email the references and ask about their experience. Ask the agency for medical and legal professionals that they have worked with and call them as well.
- Review the fee structure to make sure that the bulk of the payment is made when services are rendered. Check their refund policy.
- Ask the surrogacy or egg donation agency to explain in writing how they handle trust or escrow accounts. If they refer you to an outside escrow company, ask as to any ownership or financial interest the agency has in that escrow company.
- If your funds are handled by an outside escrow company, ask for proof that the escrow company is bonded, licensed and/or insured. Make certain that the escrow company transmits regular statements reflecting the status of your account. If your egg donation or surrogate agency serves as the trust administrator, ask that they provide you with bank statements or a written verification from a CPA who regularly audits their accounts.
- The surrogacy or egg donation agency escrow company should be audited by an independent CPA. Do not rely solely upon an internally generated ledger of your account since accounting programs such as QuickBooks are easy to manipulate to disguise unscrupulous acts.
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