questions about donor agency, contracts. lawyers

questions about donor agency, contracts. lawyers

Joined: September 15th, 2009, 2:59 am

November 3rd, 2011, 9:34 pm #1

Hi, for those more experienced. I'm planning a DE cycle in Jan. We have chosen a donor with Fertilty Bridges. Anyone have experience with this agency?
In general, do most of you use the lawyer recommended by the agency to review your contract? Isn't this a bit like the fox watching the henhouse?
For any of you from VA (Maggie, I think?) do you have a lawyer you recommend to represent you?
Is it common to wire money to a Wells Fargo account for the agency?
Are there any limits on travel exp for donor? I would never put her in a dump, I would choose something like Hampton Inn but personally I would not expect 5 star accommadations. What's to prevent huge travel bills if the travel money is just held in a trust account?
Thanks for the help!
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minniet
minniet

November 3rd, 2011, 10:06 pm #2

After my experience this past year trying to find a donor with verified information, I got pretty nervous about agencies in general. We are crossing our fingers that our chosen donor works out, as we really like her, but also, honestly, I only feel comfortable with two agencies and that limits our choices. (I am not familiar with your agency, though).

It seems to me that the best you can do to protect yourself is check with other gals and see which agencies are reliable and good, and those which are not, and avoid the bad ones. This whole business is totally unregulated, so you really are in a position of having to trust that they will not gauge you, overcharge you or take advantage of you.

Regarding legal, my agency fee includes a lawyer which takes care of both donor and parents. It does seem ridiculous, doesn't it? But when we were working on contracts with another donor we ended up having to pass on, I consulted an independent attorney highly regarded in the IF industry, and also my best friend who is a lawyer. Of course, my friend, not knowing this process, had all sorts of notes and told me I should demand all sorts of things...in fact, I made all these suggestions to the agency, and they pretty much let us have all the changes. They were not major, just that my friend is a very good lawyer and wanted to protect me.

On the other hand, the IF lawyer spoke with me for free for about 20 minutes. He was amazing, and he basically told me that honestly, you have to find a good agency and avoid the bad ones, and in fact, there are a LOT of bad ones. I can not remember exactly what he said, but he said that the contracts should be pretty standard, but they really won't protect you against financial loss. He pointed out some suggested practices (like not paying a lot upfront), but admitted that IPs were in a tough spot, and the agencies have taken advantage of a lot of folks. He also said that not a lot of experienced attorneys will review individual contracts, it's too small of work for them.

Anyway, the take away for me was that I will only work with the two agencies I have found which have been upfront at every step and not demanded cash before they even offered verified info or before they would let my RE look over a potential donor's records....so I have very limited agency choices! On the other hand, I REALLY appreciate my agency, they have been fairer than fair with me.

I hope someone else has experience with your agency so you can get their feedback.

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Lady Magoo
Lady Magoo

November 3rd, 2011, 11:46 pm #3

Hi, for those more experienced. I'm planning a DE cycle in Jan. We have chosen a donor with Fertilty Bridges. Anyone have experience with this agency?
In general, do most of you use the lawyer recommended by the agency to review your contract? Isn't this a bit like the fox watching the henhouse?
For any of you from VA (Maggie, I think?) do you have a lawyer you recommend to represent you?
Is it common to wire money to a Wells Fargo account for the agency?
Are there any limits on travel exp for donor? I would never put her in a dump, I would choose something like Hampton Inn but personally I would not expect 5 star accommadations. What's to prevent huge travel bills if the travel money is just held in a trust account?
Thanks for the help!
Our agency fee could have included the legal fee, but we decided to use our own lawyer. The legal fees were consequently deducted from the agency fee. We used a lawyer (in NY) who specializes in reproductive law, which is a very particualr legal specialty, which also varies by state.

We looked at many agencies, but am not familiar with the one you mentioned. That doesn't mean anything, since there are so many out there. After a long search, we decided to work with Giving Hope and they were fabulous. Honest and reasonable fees. We decided to choose agency first and donor second. Our first several donor choices fell through for one reason or another - the kinds of things you can't tell from looking at a profile on a screen. We were glad that Giving Hope didn't require a huge deposit (I odn't remember exactly, but it was between $1000 and $2000), so we wouldn't have been on the hook for terribly much if we didn't find a donor through them. Many other agencies wanted thousands of non-refundable dollars before providing any meaningful informaiton about the donor.

I found that many agencies used pressure tactics that were akin to the "Act now, whicle this offer lasts!" TV commercials, and we passed on those agencies.

We did not wire money to an account. We wrote a check to Giving Hope and mailed it to them.

Regarding travel expenses, it depends on where the donor will travel to and the time of year. NYC would, of course, be more expensive than some other places. Our donor stayed at 4 star hotel. 5 star was never a consideration. The agency included a travel allowance in the retainer. Because we spent less than expected (they were nice enough to allow me to use miles, although it was a hassle for them), I got a nice surprise refund check in the mail a few weeks after transfer.

Please feel free to keep asking questions. You're smart to ask them.
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Joined: April 15th, 2011, 4:29 pm

November 4th, 2011, 12:14 am #4

Hi, for those more experienced. I'm planning a DE cycle in Jan. We have chosen a donor with Fertilty Bridges. Anyone have experience with this agency?
In general, do most of you use the lawyer recommended by the agency to review your contract? Isn't this a bit like the fox watching the henhouse?
For any of you from VA (Maggie, I think?) do you have a lawyer you recommend to represent you?
Is it common to wire money to a Wells Fargo account for the agency?
Are there any limits on travel exp for donor? I would never put her in a dump, I would choose something like Hampton Inn but personally I would not expect 5 star accommadations. What's to prevent huge travel bills if the travel money is just held in a trust account?
Thanks for the help!
In general, do most of you use the lawyer recommended by the agency to review your contract? Isn't this a bit like the fox watching the henhouse?
I found an independent lawyer. Yes, I thought it was like the fox guarding the henhouse to use their recommendation.

For any of you from VA (Maggie, I think?) do you have a lawyer you recommend to represent you?
I don't know about Virginia. I'm on the Third Coast.

Is it common to wire money to a Wells Fargo account for the agency?
Yes, I had to do a lot of money wiring with my first agency. I didn't like it, but it was their protocol. The second (successful) agency, I just wrote a check and they were a lot cheaper.

Are there any limits on travel exp for donor? I would never put her in a dump, I would choose something like Hampton Inn but personally I would not expect 5 star accommadations. What's to prevent huge travel bills if the travel money is just held in a trust account?
My first agency was not a good steward of my money. They didn't want to tell me where they were putting up the donor, as if I would stalk her or find out her identity. I told them I was the one who wanted the donation to be anonymous, but they were adamant about not telling me, which made me feel weird about how much money they were going to spend on travel and meals. It's more than a year later and they still owe me some money back from travel not spent or overspent.
The second agency was a good steward and told me everything before they made a move. You just have to stay on top of them.


Thanks for the help!

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Joined: September 15th, 2009, 2:59 am

November 4th, 2011, 12:18 pm #5

Guys you are awesome! Thanks for all the recommendations, we are taking them to heart. I'd still be happy to hear more if others have thoughts.
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Joined: March 23rd, 2011, 7:51 pm

November 4th, 2011, 4:44 pm #6

Hi, for those more experienced. I'm planning a DE cycle in Jan. We have chosen a donor with Fertilty Bridges. Anyone have experience with this agency?
In general, do most of you use the lawyer recommended by the agency to review your contract? Isn't this a bit like the fox watching the henhouse?
For any of you from VA (Maggie, I think?) do you have a lawyer you recommend to represent you?
Is it common to wire money to a Wells Fargo account for the agency?
Are there any limits on travel exp for donor? I would never put her in a dump, I would choose something like Hampton Inn but personally I would not expect 5 star accommadations. What's to prevent huge travel bills if the travel money is just held in a trust account?
Thanks for the help!
Hello Cheryl and welcome to the board . In my case , I was looking for an East Indian donor that are hard to find . So for us , I just contacted agency after agency and ultimately found our donor with an agency that I had not heard of . They did give us an option for using our own lawyer vs using the agency recommended lawyer for both us and our donor . I struggled with this but ultimately went with the agency option as I did not want to waste time and the agency option seemed the most easiest to pursue . We paid the agency upfront with agency fees.Donor fees and travel fees were paid prior to start of cycle . There was a lot of trust that we had to place n the agency but in the end they did great . I was concerned about travel and lodging costs but in the end we got some money back from the fund for the donors travel . I was just so glad that our donor agreed to travel twice from east coast to denver to cycle with us . Once for the initial workup and the second time was atleast a 12 day stay for the cycle itself .All in all we took a gamble for most of the things and it worked out great . Good luck to you .
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minniet
minniet

November 4th, 2011, 5:15 pm #7

In general, do most of you use the lawyer recommended by the agency to review your contract? Isn't this a bit like the fox watching the henhouse?
I found an independent lawyer. Yes, I thought it was like the fox guarding the henhouse to use their recommendation.

For any of you from VA (Maggie, I think?) do you have a lawyer you recommend to represent you?
I don't know about Virginia. I'm on the Third Coast.

Is it common to wire money to a Wells Fargo account for the agency?
Yes, I had to do a lot of money wiring with my first agency. I didn't like it, but it was their protocol. The second (successful) agency, I just wrote a check and they were a lot cheaper.

Are there any limits on travel exp for donor? I would never put her in a dump, I would choose something like Hampton Inn but personally I would not expect 5 star accommadations. What's to prevent huge travel bills if the travel money is just held in a trust account?
My first agency was not a good steward of my money. They didn't want to tell me where they were putting up the donor, as if I would stalk her or find out her identity. I told them I was the one who wanted the donation to be anonymous, but they were adamant about not telling me, which made me feel weird about how much money they were going to spend on travel and meals. It's more than a year later and they still owe me some money back from travel not spent or overspent.
The second agency was a good steward and told me everything before they made a move. You just have to stay on top of them.


Thanks for the help!
I have found that the more demanding the agency is about you sending them payment upfront, the less likely their donors were verified in any way. I found Peas in a Pod and Northeast Assisted Fertility neither demanded any fees until you were ready to sign contracts with their donor, and they were upfront about what info was verified (ie they have seen the docs and were willing to send them to my nurse for confirmation). With Peas, we also have had the donor's records sent and reviewed by our RE for no fee.

The other agencies I contacted all wanted money before anything. And those that didn't simply did not call me back when I shared that we required verification of stated data.

Once you send that money, you will not be getting it back, so be careful...your chosen donor may not work out with your RE, she may cancel on you...good luck getting any money back from agencies that needed a "deposit" upfront to do their job.
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