So, you’ve decided to become a Surrogate. That’s great! But before you can match with a family, you need to complete the intake process to see whether you qualify. Here are the steps you’ll need to complete:
If you’re hoping to work with an agency, you will first need to complete their application form. Usually this takes 10-15 minutes to complete. It’s important to be as thorough and honest as possible on your application, especially about your medical history and your weight. BMI (Body Mass Index) is an important factor for many doctors on whether they will accept you as a patient; if it is too high, you may either be asked to lose weight or just flat out fail the medical screening (one of the first things the clinic does is check your height and weight!). Your medical history will also be reviewed by both the agency and the clinic, so it’s important to disclose any issues during the application process so that it doesn’t cause problems later. You will also need to provide photos for your profile, along with your partner’s information (if applicable).
Once your application has been submitted, you will be required to complete an interview with our Intake Manager. During this call, they will go over your application to make sure the information is correct, and ask some questions to find out more about your personality and situation. They will also give you an overview of the surrogacy process and what to expect next once you’re approved to become a Surrogate.
This is a great time to ask any questions you may have and become more familiar with the ins and outs of surrogacy. Generally, the interview is quite informal – so there’s no need to be nervous! It’s more so that the Intake Manager can get a feel for your personality and get to know you better; this will also help with the matching process in the future.
Medical Records Request/Review
Because your personal health information is private, you will be required to sign a HIPAA-compliant medical records release of information form, so that GSHC Surrogacy Agency can request a copy of your pregnancy and delivery records. If you have had any other health concerns in the past, records for any surgeries/treatments you had for other issues may also be requested.
Once your medical records are received, GSHC Surrogacy Agency will review them to make sure there is nothing to cause you to be disqualified as a Surrogate. Since different clinics have different requirements, it will also help the agency to know which clinics you will be able to go to – and which may deny you. Your medical records will also be reviewed for a second time by the doctor or nurse practitioner at your Intended Parents’ IVF clinic after you’re matched with a family. After your medical records are approved by a doctor you can consider yourself 100% approved to move forward as a surrogate.
As a Surrogate, you and your partner (should you have one) will be required to undergo both state and federal criminal background screenings. Your credit history will not be checked, only criminal records. Minor charges and misdemeanors are normally okay (depending on the crime), but any felonies will lead to automatic disqualification.
It is preferred that the background check be performed at the beginning of the application process so as not to waste the agency’s time in the event that a felony is found on your record; however, we understand that some people are not comfortable giving out their social security number until they’re more familiar with the company they’re working which. We will do our best to accommodate this, and it is possible to conduct the background check once your medical records are approved. Please be aware, however, that your profile will not be shown to any intended parents until your background check is complete.
Another requirement of the surrogacy intake process is the psychological evaluation. This may take place before or after the medical screening depending on clinic requirements, but most of the time this will be done prior to medical screening. It’s important to be honest so that the psychologist can get a true idea of your personality, emotional state, and overall understanding of a surrogacy journey. If you have any concerns regarding the psychological evaluation, please address them with your agency team.
GSHC Surrogacy Agency understands the mental and emotional significance of your surrogacy journey. The psychological evaluation is a means of guaranteeing your overall health and safety throughout the pregnancy.
Once your records have been approved, we will set up a second call to make sure you’re fully ready to move forward. Any remaining questions will be answered to make sure you’re fully comfortable with the process and 100% ready to begin your journey.
Once you’ve completed the rest of the intake process and have been approved to start the matching process, GSHC Surrogacy Agency will present agreements for you to sign. These agreements will state that you will not apply to another surrogacy agency within a certain time period (usually 3-6 months, to give us time to find the right match), that you won’t back out after medical screening (a huge cost for Intended Parents) unless there is a genuine emergency, and other important statements.
These agreements are different from your Gestational Carrier Agreement, which will be signed between yourself and the Intended Parent(s) after review with an attorney and witnessed by a notary; however, they are still very important.
POTENTIAL STEPS TO COMPLETE DURING INTAKE PROCESS
There are a couple of other steps that may need to be completed during your intake process:
If you haven’t had a pap smear within the last 12 months, it’s a good idea to get one as you start the application process to become a Surrogate. Many clinics require a copy of a recent pap smear before they will even schedule a medical screening, although some clinics will do their own during the medical screening process. Either way, it’s always best to be prepared to avoid delays down the road!
Sometimes, an in-home visit by the agency or a social worker will be required. This is normally at either the IVF clinic or Intended Parents’ request, so not everyone will be required to have one. If you do have to have a home visit, don’t worry! It’s only to check that your home is safe, stable and you’re not in any danger etc. We all have children ourselves and understand that homes with kids can be messy! So, there’s no need to worry if your house doesn’t look like a show home. As long as it’s structurally sound and you’re happy/comfortable with those in your household then you will pass.
You may or may not be aware that many IVF clinics require Surrogates to have certain immunities before they’re allowed to begin a surrogacy cycle. This is to protect both the Surrogate herself and the child she is carrying.
The two main immunities that are absolutely required are Varicella and Rubella. If you know you are missing either one of these vaccines, it’s a good idea to get them from your primary care provider as soon as you start the application process – that way, you will have immunity by the time you go to medical screening. Some vaccines, such as Varicella, are a two-dose vaccine so you would have to receive the first dose, wait, receive the second dose and then wait to test your immunity.
Another common mandatory vaccine is Hepatitis B. Many international Intended Parents can carry the Hep B antibody which means their body has been exposed to the virus and fought it off. While this doesn’t mean you can contract the virus, the clinic will require you to be immune to Hep B as an extra layer of protection, if your Intended Parents have been exposed in the past.
It’s always a good idea to have your vaccines up to date when beginning your surrogacy journey.
Once you’ve completed the above steps and are approved to move forward – congratulations! You are now ready to match with a family and begin your surrogacy journey!