When Intended Parents undertake the surrogacy journey in their bid to complete their families, they put complete trust in the clinics and agencies they’re working with to match them with a high-quality candidate; one who can carry a baby to term without endangering herself or the unborn child. For this reason, the medical screening process is very stringent, and a surrogate mother must meet many medical, physiological, and psychological criteria to qualify as a gestational carrier.
These tests are both for the safety of the surrogate and the unborn child. The breadth of the screens and test is mainly concerned with determining whether your body can go through the highly involved process of gestational carriage.
If you are a hopeful surrogate starting the process of joining a program, here’s all that you can expect the medical screening process to entail.
Medical Screening and Records Review
After you apply to become a surrogate and pass the first set of filters such as age, motherhood status, smoking habit, BMI, etc., the next step would be to review a detailed medical record. Prenatal and delivery records from previous births or pregnancies must be examined.
Medical evaluation form: This vital document contained within the initial paperwork is a sign-off from your OB/GYN confirming that you can become pregnant again.
Generally, the surrogate medical screening procedure comprises:
- a review of your social/medical history
- a pap smear taken within the last twelve months to confirm that you are within a normal range
- screening for infectious diseases and other blood tests
- you will undergo a hysteroscopy to ascertain the size and shape of your uterus, and make sure the fallopian tubes are unobstructed
- You will also undergo a saline sonogram. The uterus is flushed with a saline solution, allowing your doctor to spot fibroids or any other condition that could interfere with pregnancy.
- Prenatal records from all of your previous pregnancies
Another part of the screening involves extensive checks on the background of the prospective surrogate. Background checks ensure that the surrogate is of good standing and has no criminal records. During your screening, you will fill out a background information docket.
Psychological evaluation and Screening is a prerequisite for prospective surrogates; the goal of this screening is to ensure that the surrogate has sufficient mental fortitude to thrive and overcome all of the challenges that come with pregnancy and surrogacy. A psychological evaluation consists of two parts: a Personality Test and a One-on-One Interview. The [Personality Assessment Inventory] PAI will be administered.
The screening will ask questions about mental health conditions and possible issues such as depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol use, and many other types of behaviors. Prospective surrogates should note that the PAI is just a survey rather than a test; therefore, there are no right or wrong answers — context is king here, and it pays to be entirely truthful.
In the second portion of the screening, a psychologist or another mental health professional will meet with you to discuss your goals and mission. In this session, you will explore questions about what the surrogacy journey means for you and why you want to become one. These sessions are your chance to talk openly about your fears, apprehensions, and concerns about the surrogacy journey.
Drug use is a guaranteed factor that will harm the unborn child, so this is an integral part of the screening process. Prospective candidates undergo a stringent drug screening that looks for evidence of drug usage. Unfortunately, if this stage is not passed, the candidate will not be able to proceed.
Final Screening at The Clinic and Physicals
If you have completed all of the other screenings, you will undergo a final screening at the clinic.
The surrogate will be required to undergo a pap smear, STD testing, drug screening, screens for infectious diseases, uterine check, and blood testing. Her spouse or partner will also be required to complete screening for STDs and infectious diseases alongside her.
Once all these processes have been completed, you will next meet your Intended Parents and begin your surrogacy journey in earnest.
Nina Yao, B.A.S. (N.S.), M.A. (O.M.)Intended Parents Coordinator and Educator at Physician’s Surrogacy. Nina looks after the hopeful parents visiting Physician’s Surrogacy and makes sure their parenthood journey through gestational surrogacy progresses smoothly and successfully. She is also a certified international nutritionist and helps patients improve their health through diet and lifestyle modifications.