What's Involved in Medical Screening for Surrogacy?

Written by Caroline Shannon

February 16, 2023

Get the details on a medical workup, plus what factors may lead to disqualification.

The words “medical workup” aren't supposed to illicit fear, but it sounds serious, right? That's why we decided it's time to discuss what's involved in medical screening for surrogacy, and why is it a necessary step for surrogates.

Keep reading to discover what to expect during the surrogacy screening process, including how it’s different from submitting your medical records when you first met with an intake team.

What can I expect during medical screening for surrogacy?

Surrogacy is a big deal, which is why becoming a surrogate requires a medical screening to determine if a candidate can continue along the path to carrying a baby for intended parent(s).

Once your medical records have been reviewed, you’ve matched with intended parents, and the contracts have been signed, you will be asked to complete a medical screening at the IVF clinic your intended parent(s) are using. If you live far from the IP(s), this will involve a day or two of travel, but the testing is pretty routine. Medical screening for surrogacy (aka “a medical workup”) will require the following: 

1. A physical exam

2. Pap smear

3. Vaginal ultrasound

4. A hysteroscopy or saline infusion sonogram

5. Blood work

6. Urine samples (for surrogate and partner, if applicable)

7. A psychological screening

According to guidelines set forth by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the above will be administered to run specific tests, including those for drugs, infectious diseases, cervical cancer, and blood type.

Other factors considered include a recent tattoo or piercing, which will automatically lead to you being disqualified in the event either would lead to infection. (But you can try again in a year!)

Related: What to Expect from the Surrogacy Intake and Screening Process

How is this different from collecting my medical records?

Think of it like this: When intake collected your medical records, they assessed everything they knew about you right up until you applied to be a surrogate. 

Those records included recent pap test results, prenatal records from your previous pregnancies, and labor and delivery records from the hospitals where you gave birth. You may have also been required to have a medical clearance letter completed by your healthcare provider, and if so, they signed off on it to say you were cleared to carry another pregnancy. (We know this because you’ve already matched and made it to medical screening.)

But a medical screening is the “after” part. In other words, this is where a healthcare provider can perform a full workup to determine that surrogacy is a good option for you and the baby you might carry.

Related: Does a Prior Miscarriage Disqualify You as a Surrogate?

The bottom line: Medical screening for surrogacy isn't a scary process. Instead, it's a step that helps ensure a surrogate and the baby they may carry will have a healthy and safe journey.

Keep Reading