So, you’ve made the selfless decision to become a surrogate and help Intended Parents build their family. Congratulations! You are about to embark on an amazing journey that will not only change your life, but that of the grateful people you will be helping and, of course, the child you will bring into this world for them. It’s a priceless gift, but what should you expect from now until you meet the lucky family? Here is an overview of the common screening process and what’s required to get you from here to matched!
It’s likely that the agency you select will have you complete a full profile on their website that will ask you questions from pregnancy history to favorite color. This will help the Intended Parents get to know you better and the agency to use the criteria to find you that “perfect match”. This will be the Intended Parents’ first impression of you, so be honest and provide them with all of the information you would want to know if you were in their position.
After your profile is completed, submitted and pre-approved, the agency will require a review of all of your past pregnancy and delivery records. Be prepared to request those from your OB(s) and hospital(s) where you delivered, if you don’t have those records on hand. Agencies and clinics need to make sure you did not have any prior pregnancy or delivery complications that could occur again and put you and/or the baby in danger. If you are disqualified at this stage of the process, please remember this is for your safety. Some women may have had minor issues during their pregnancies/deliveries that they didn’t realize would disqualify them for surrogacy, so don’t get discouraged. Fertility doctors are generally very conservative and this doesn’t mean you can’t still work on growing your own family!
Once you have had all of your medical records reviewed and approved, it’s time for us to meet you! Whether it’s in person or over Skype, we want to spend time talking to you about the surrogacy process and all of the ups-and-downs. We want to meet your family and make sure they are supportive of your decision, talk to you about the commitment you’ll be expected to make to the Intended Parents, the appointments, medications, compensation, delivery and everything in between. Even women who have spent months or years educating themselves on the process end up learning something new from this meeting. It’s very informative, so please take notes and be ready to ask us any questions you have!
If after the In-Home Assessment, you feel like surrogacy is the right fit for you and your family, you will be required to complete some paper work and then will be given the contact information for a psychologist who you will meet with you for a psychological screening. This appointment usually takes about two hours and will include a Personality Assessment Inventory Test. Be prepared to answer very personal questions about your childhood, sexual history, family history, and current lifestyle (employment, marital status, financial situation, etc.). It is the psychologist’s job to assess whether or not she feels you will be emotionally and mentally stable enough for surrogacy and if your motivation is genuine. Most women are cleared and given a clean, psychological bill of health, so don’t be nervous, just be honest! We’re all human!
The next and final phase of the screening process is a criminal background check for you and anyone in your home over the age of 18. Misdemeanors will not always necessarily disqualify you from our program and are decided on a case-by-case basis. Please know that anything that shows up on your criminal background check will be disclosed to the Intended Parents, so as always, honesty is the best policy!
If you’ve made it through all of these steps of the screening process, you have been officially approved and we are pleased to welcome you to our program! Surrogates are a select group of very special women who provide a priceless gift. Even if you were not approved by an agency to become a surrogate, please know that your willingness to help a family in need is a gift in itself and is greatly appreciated. Good luck with your journey!
Article composed by April Alvarado, Fertility Source Companies Director of Operations-Northwest Region