A surrogate mother applicant must meet many requirements in order to be accepted in a surrogacy program as a gestational carrier. Prior to the surrogacy screening process, the first step in becoming a surrogate mother is to fill out a surrogate mother application.
The application can be lengthy, and you may wonder why you are being asked so many questions. The reason is: many women apply, and only a small number are accepted into the surrogacy program. This is because fertility clinics and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) have very strict guidelines in place that women must meet to be a qualified surrogate candidate. Some of these guidelines are in regards to overall health, pregnancy and delivery history, and a mental state of mind.
Once a woman fills out an application and meets all initial criteria, the interview and screening process begins. Here’s what a surrogate applicant can expect from the surrogate screening process.
Medical Record Review
During the interview process of becoming a surrogate mother, you will be asked about your medical and pregnancy history. And while you may have answered questions related to your pregnancy on the application and during your initial interview, you will be required to gather certain medical records and forms detailing your previous pregnancy(ies) and confirming your current clean bill of health from your medical providers.
The medical records you will be asked to gather are:
- recent pap results from within the last 12 months
- a clearance letter from your OB stating that you are “approved” to carry another pregnancy
- OB/GYN prenatal records from each of your pregnancies
- labor & delivery records from the hospital(s) at which you delivered
These records will be shared with the doctors/nurses at the Intended Parents’ fertility clinic for review. Once the clinic gives their “record review” approval, they will reach out to all parties to schedule a screening visit at their facility.
Criminal Background Check
During the initial matching process with Reproductive Possibilities, you will be sent paperwork to fill out. These documents consist of an agreement to work exclusively with Reproductive Possibilities, an explanation and agreement of working with Surrogate Fund Management, LLC (who will manage the escrow account), and authorization forms for a potential background check. The background release forms are documents which require information and an authorization/consent form that will allow us to run a background check(s). Background checks are performed to provide Intended Parents with the knowledge that the surrogate’s support system is safe and reliable.
*If you have a husband or partner, please know that a background check will also be run on him/her (if they live in your home).
Home Visit with a Social Worker
Some surrogacy agencies, such as Reproductive Possibilities, require a home visit for their surrogate mother candidates. The surrogacy agency will locate a social worker who is local to you, who will reach out and schedule a time to visit with you and your family at your home. During this visit, they will speak with you (and your husband/partner if applicable) to discuss their support of you pursuing gestational surrogacy. During the visit, the social worker will want to meet your children as well. They may speak with your older children to make sure that they understand and are also supportive of the surrogacy, but their meeting with younger children will be brief and friendly and not discuss surrogacy in any way. The social worker may also research your neighborhood to ensure that you live in a safe and supportive community. During the visit the social worker will take a look around your home to make sure that you live in a safe and clean environment. Once the home visit is complete, the social worker will write up a report and share it with the agency and Intended Parents.
Typically, the fertility clinic will have a psychologist on staff that will complete the psychological portion of your screening. Again, this will be completed on both you and your husband/partner if you have one. If the clinic does not have a psychologist on staff, the surrogacy agency will arrange a visit with a social worker or psychologist. Usually this screening consists of a multiple choice test as well as an in person interview.
Screening Visit / Marathon Day at the clinic
With most surrogacy agencies and fertility clinics, the screening visit will be the first time that the surrogate meets the Intended Parents in person. The surrogate and her husband or partner (if applicable) will travel to the fertility clinic for a full day visit to have most, if not all, physical screenings completed. During this visit, the surrogate will also learn about the fertility medications she will be taking in preparation for the embryo transfer, and will be taught how to manage and execute her medication protocol (injectables, suppositories, patches, etc.)
Here are the types of screenings and testing you can expect at the fertility clinic:
- Blood and urine analysis
- Saline sonogram
- Physical evaluation
Clearance will be given by the clinic once they receive the results from all testing. This typically takes anywhere from 10-14 days. Once the surrogacy agency receives confirmation of clearance from the fertility clinic, you will move into the CONTRACT phase of your surrogate journey!