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How to Fast-Track Your Surrogacy Screening

November 11th, 2019
How to Fast-Track Your Surrogacy Screening

Okay, so you are serious about becoming a surrogate. Not only are you ready to take the first steps, you’re also interested in “fast-tracking” the screening process so you can move onto the important work of helping a family’s dreams come true.

Whether you have already started your surrogacy application or you are still thinking about applying in the future, consider the ten action items listed below. Pay special attention to each of these steps to ensure that you’ve done everything you can to kick off your journey successfully and move it forward as efficiently as possible!

1. Consider your BMI

To be accepted into our surrogacy program, your BMI needs to fall within the range of 18-32. It’s not uncommon for surrogacy applicants to do a bit of work to bring themselves Into this range. If you typically find it challenging to lose or gain weight, you may want to give yourself ample time to meet this requirement. You can learn more about why BMI is an important consideration for surrogates here.

2. Visit your OB/GYN

ConceiveAbilities requires surrogacy applicants to have had a well woman exam (also known as a history and physical) within the past year. If it has been some time since your last gynecological exam, it may be a good idea to book an appointment to see your OB/GYN as soon as possible.

An up-to-date pap smear is also required; this may be completed during your well woman exam. Some pap results do remain valid for longer than a year, so your OB/GYN will determine whether or not another test is needed at your appointment.

Of course, seeing your doctor for this requirement also offers a perfect opportunity to share your intention of becoming a gestational carrier/surrogate with him/her. Definitely plan to explore whether your OB will medically clear you to become pregnant. During this conversation, you should also be able to get a good idea of just how supportive your medical provider will be during your surrogacy journey.

3. Talk with your partner or primary support person

Although you don’t need to be married to become a surrogate, you do need to have support from those who are close to you. If you are married or in a committed relationship, talk with your partner about your desire to become a surrogate. If you’re single, talk to your primary support person, whether that be a family member or a close friend. We hear from many surrogates that it took their loved ones at least a few months to understand their motivation and get “on board” with supporting them through the process.

As you start talking about surrogacy, remember that lots of myths about surrogacy still exist. As a result, education is important! Many people, including partners and family members, don’t understand the difference between traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. Explain to your support people that since your own eggs won’t be used, you won’t have any biological connection to the baby you carry. It can also be helpful for them to understand that you will become pregnant via a quick and painless embryo transfer that is performed by a fertility doctor.

Our Men Behind Surrogacy page may be helpful for husbands, since it clearly outlines how they are involved throughout the surrogacy process. Any hesitant partners might also consider reading this blog post. Lastly, if your partner or support person would like to speak with others who have supported loved ones through a surrogacy, please reach out to our team. We would be happy to make a connection for you!

4. Submit your paperwork

This step is crucial and will likely take more time than you think. As a result, the earlier you start, the better! You will receive a checklist from the surrogate acceptance team, but here’s an idea of what you can start preparing in advance:

  • All electronic forms, including background/credit check authorizations for you and your partner, if applicable. Be sure that your partner is aware of this requirement and knows to look out for the forms, since not having his/her signed authorizations on file will completely halt your screening progress
  • Release of information form
  • ConceiveAbilities FDA screening
  • OB/GYN information
  • Copy of photo ID (current state issued driver’s license or U.S. passport)
  • Copy of health insurance ID card (picture of the front and back)
  • Health insurance policy booklet (This is typically referred to as an Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description, and may be found in a pdf format through your online insurance portal. This can sometimes be tricky to find, so reach out to our acceptance team if you need help!)
  • Medical documents & records (Request a copy of these records from your OB.)
  • Most recent pap smear lab report (If pap results are expired according to your doctor’s guidelines, please schedule an appointment immediately to keep your pap current.)
  • Recent history and physical (See #2 above.)
  • Signed medical clearance letter from your OB/GYN (Please print the provided medical clearance letter for your physician.)

Keep our surrogate acceptance team updated on the status of your documents, upcoming appointments, and record requests. Always let us know if you need our help! You can email our team at intake@conceiveabilities.com or call us at 312.483.2548.

5. Cancel tattoo and piercing appointments

Most fertility clinics will not accept surrogates who have gotten a new tattoo or a new piercing within the past year. Although having tattoos is not prohibitive, new ink will slow your journey down, so it is best to hold off. It’s a good rule of thumb to save your piercings for later as well.

6. Think about vacation plans

Are you planning to travel out of the country, or have you done so recently? This can delay your journey up to 3 months due to the Zika advisory. Click here for more information.

7. Consider your health insurance

While you are not required to have health insurance that provides coverage for maternity care during surrogacy, you are required to have health insurance. ConceiveAbilities and your intended parents both want to know that you will be protected in the event that unexpected injuries or illnesses arise during your pregnancy. If you are currently uninsured, you’ll want to start working on a plan for securing health insurance for yourself.

8. Update your identification

If you have moved or changed your name recently but you never got around to updating the information on your ID, now is a great time to do so. This will prevent complications and delays when traveling, when completing appointments with fertility clinics, and when ConceiveAbilities sets up the account that allows your surrogacy payments to be processed to you.

9. Think about preferences for your surrogacy journey

Do you feel strongly about being matched with certain kinds of intended parents (married/single, heterosexual/same-sex, domestic/international, etc.)? How much communication would you ideally like to have with your intended parents both during and after your journey? How flexible are you willing to be in regard to issues like vaccination, choice of doctor and delivery hospital, type of delivery, and dietary choices during pregnancy? Are you open to transferring two embryos at a time? Are you willing to pump breast milk for your surro-baby after delivery?

Take some time to think carefully about your preferences and needs during a surrogacy journey. The clearer you can communicate your thoughts to us, the easier it will be for our acceptance and matching teams to let you know whether your vision is realistic, give you an estimated matching timeline, and find a wonderful match for you!

10. Ask lots of questions!

Surrogacy is a long and complex process. As you can already tell, there are many steps to complete prior to delivering that beautiful baby into your intended parents’ arms. You will definitely have many questions along the way; this is normal and okay. ConceiveAbilities' experts are here to help, ready and able to answer any questions you may have. Always feel free to reach out and ask!

Now that you have reviewed the essential action items, you are much better prepared to fast-track your screening process. We look forward to guiding you through every step of your surrogacy journey, starting at the very beginning. Contact us today - we can’t wait to hear from you!