Why do I need an independent escrow manager or an escrow account?
Third-party assisted reproductive arrangements like surrogacy and egg donation are legally complicated and emotionally charged relationships. We are always extremely disturbed when we hear stories of people who entered into a surrogacy arrangement without an escrow manager and had issues over payments spoil their relationship with their surrogate or otherwise diminish what should be a joyful experience. We also are very troubled when we hear that people have been taken advantage of by people who have mismanaged their funds. Many reputable agencies require that an independent escrow agent be used, and some states (New York for example) require that a third-party or independent escrow manager be used to manage and distribute funds in a surrogacy arrangement. Having an independent fund manager – or at least one that discloses any ownership interest between it and the agency you are using – will help ensure that people do not try and take advantage of you and will ensure that your surrogate or egg donor will receive the money to which she is legally entitled to receive.
In contrast to many other escrow companies servicing the third-party reproductive industry, Stork Escrow was created to offer even greater security than just being an “independent” fund manager. Stork Escrow is co-owned by both an experienced reproductive lawyer and a Certified Public Accountant. The funds held in our Escrow Accounts are disbursed and managed by Kelly DuMont, an accountant, whose management is held to extremely high fiduciary standards by virtue of her license as a CPA. Both owners of Stork Escrow are subject to disciplinary action if not harsher penalties if the funds being held and managed by Stork Escrow are not managed properly.
For more information, read Liz’s blog post, Working 9-5 with an Escrow Agent.
Is Stork Escrow licensed, bonded and/or insured?
We have a $2,000,000.00 Professional Liability Policy with coverage for Officer’s Errors and Omissions, a $1,000,000.00 Cyber Insurance Policy and $500,000 (per claim) Surety/Theft Bond. We are licensed and qualified to do business in the State of New York.
How long does it take to set up the escrow account?
Accounts are typically set-up the same day on which we are contacted about opening the account, provided the request is submitted during business hours.
Unless your agency makes the referral directly to us, you can begin the process of opening a new account with Stork Escrow on our website.
After receiving the referral from your agency, or the completed online form, we will begin the process of opening the account and send you an introductory email with instructions for logging into your Portal Account. Our Management Agreement will be sent to Intended Parents for execution electronically; and we ask Gestational Surrogates to electronically acknowledge the Management Agreement to ensure complete transparency in our operational procedures.
Instructions for making deposits into your escrow account can be found in your Portal.
How do I see the current balance in my escrow account?
Intended Parents and Agencies have 24/7 access to real-time information regarding the current balance in an escrow account, the total amount of funds deposited to-date, the total amount of expenses paid to-date, and any pertinent information regarding minimum balances. The balance information is updated in real-time as transactions are processed. If you would like a copy of the transaction information in your Portal there is a PDF icon on your dashboard which you can use to download transaction data in PDF format.
How are you notified that a payment needs to be made?
Our custom Portal provides forms by which expense reimbursements may be requested by an Agency or a Gestational Surrogate (or an Intended Parent when need-be). The forms enable users to submit requests for travel and non-travel expenses including compensation and allowance payments, as well as lost wages. Your Portal will provide real-time status of processing including which of our Team members is working on an expense request, the request’s current processing status, and will enable you to view documentation like receipts and invoices supporting the request for disbursement.
Once a Gestational Surrogate has a confirmed pregnancy, we will set up a payment calendar in accordance with the terms of the Gestational Surrogacy Agreement for her monthly compensation so that no further requests need to be submitted. We also set up automatic payment calendars for monthly allowance payments and health insurance reimbursements. All calendared payments may be viewed from your Portal dashboard.
Does my surrogate have to send you receipts for reimbursement (doctor’s visits, copays, etc.)?
Yes, the forms in the Portal require receipts evidencing the expense and/or links to MapQuest or Google Maps to verify mileage. Please note, however, that not all expenses require receipts.
Required documentation will be verified based on the terms and conditions of the applicable Gestational Surrogacy Agreement and if not included with the expense reimbursement or lost wage form submitted through the Portal, or if the documentation is not complete, the necessary information will be requested.
Absent complete supporting documentation, expense reimbursements will not be processed without the express written approval of the Agency and/or Intended Parent(s).
What if I have a question about what a payment was for or why it was made?
Your Portal provides 24/7, real-time access to information regarding all expenses. In addition to the information displayed in your Portal dashboard, you can view the form submitted to Stork Escrow with specific details regarding the expense and any supporting documentation, or notes regarding the transaction that were submitted with the form or those provided by our Team when processing the request.
In addition to real-time access to transaction information, pursuant to the terms of our Management Agreement, you may ask Stork Escrow to copy you on any emails between the Stork Escrow Team and your Agency pertaining to expense requests being processed, so that you are fully aware of everything that is being submitted and approved for payment regardless of the information provided to you in real-time through our custom Portal. If you are working independently, Stork Escrow will automatically notify you of payment requests that are being processed.
If you have any questions about a payment being processed or a payment listed in your dashboard please email us at Team@StorkEscrow.com so that we may address any concerns or questions you may have regarding that payment.
Do you speak Spanish or French?
Unfortunately, no one on the Stork Escrow Team currently is bilingual in either Spanish or French. Email communication typically can be translated by your email server. Upon request, we can use commercially available translation software to translate emails into your primary language. In addition, our Management Agreement has been translated into Spanish and French for your convenience. We ask that the English version of the Management Agreement be executed but will provide a translated copy for your review prior to signature.