Surrogacy Screenings: Explained
The surrogacy process can be complex. It is a collaboration between the agency, the fertility clinic, the surrogate and the intended parents. It may involve multiple check-ins over the course of several months. Some see the process as exciting, while others see it as tedious. Nevertheless, the process ensures that all parties are protected.
Before you make up your mind about becoming a surrogate, take some time to understand the safety measures within the surrogacy process. The insistence on screenings is just one area of safety which distinguishes a surrogacy journey with an agency versus without one.
Screening #1: Initial Application
The first screening is through ConceiveAbilities’ online, initial application. This is a secure form found on our website that allows prospective surrogates to submit their initial application and ensure they pass ConceiveAbilities’ qualifications. These qualifications include:
-Age between 21-39 years old
-BMI between 18-34
-Not currently on government financial support
-Must have given birth to and be raising at least one child
-Must provide OB/GYN records and a clearance letter
-Uncomplicated pregnancies and deliveries as documented by prenatal and delivery records
-Non-smoker living in a non-smoking home
-No history of criminal activity
-No history of clinical mental illness
-Surrogate and partner must agree to psychological testing
-Must agree to a home visit with all persons and pets currently residing in the home
-Stable, responsible lifestyle
The initial screening filters out candidates that do not qualify, from either a biological or legal standpoint.
For a more detailed explanation of each qualification, check out ConceiveAbilities’ blog post on the qualifications to become a surrogate.
Screening #2: Phone Interviews
ConceiveAbilities conducts two phone call interviews with the prospective surrogate after the initial application is approved. These interviews are similar to a first date: they’re a convenient and efficient way to gain an understanding of the surrogate’s personality and character. Is the surrogate generous? Respectful? Honest? These are not questions easily answered through an online form, and are better suited for a phone call.
Screening #3: Medical Screening
The specific protocol for medical screening often differs from agency to agency, but it is typically conducted by the Intended Parent’s fertility doctor. This screening often involves blood tests to check for any drugs, diseases, or alcohol in the surrogate’s system. Some doctors may also require a pelvic exam, which is simply a transvaginal ultrasound with a wand. Other medical tests may also be necessary to ensure the surrogate is healthy enough for the IVF procedure and a pregnancy.
Screening #4: Home Visit and Psychological Evaluation
Finally, each surrogate has a home visit and a psychological evaluation. This screening ensures that the surrogate is mentally healthy and lives in a safe environment her pregnancy. This is typically conducted by a mental health professional specializing in third party collaborative reproduction.
Once the home visit and psychological evaluation is complete, you are ready to be matched with your intended parents! Remember, these screenings exist to ensure that each match is not only a great fit, but also a safe choice. ConceiveAbilities always works to provide the safest experience for both surrogates and parents.
For more information on the surrogacy process, check out our page here, which goes over the necessary steps and considerations.
To learn about a surrogate’s first-hand experience of the process in her own words, read the first part of Charee's Journey.
For other posts on surrogacy news, guides, tips, and other resources, keep following the ConceiveAbilities blog.