Surrogacy 101

What to Expect from the Surrogacy Intake and Screening Process

Written by Caroline Shannon

February 14, 2023

Surrogacy intake and screening is vital to ensuring a healthy journey — for all parties involved.

If you've learned anything about surrogacy, you’ve probably discovered it’s different for everyone. But when it comes to the surrogacy intake and screening process, the blueprint is pretty straightforward. In fact, all of the steps below are not only necessary but followed in the order we’ve listed.

Keep reading to learn more about what’s involved during the screening process, including an identity verification, psychiatric evaluation, and background check.

1. A personal information application.

This is where you tell us about yourself. Expect to see questions related to some of the basic requirements to become a surrogate, including your BMI (which must be less than 32), age (you must be between 21 and 43 years old to become a surrogate), and whether or not you’ve given birth to at least one child and are currently parenting at least one of those children.

Related: How to Become a Surrogate: 8 Things to Consider Before You Apply

2. An identity verification.

This one is what it sounds like. Identity verification is a step in the intake process that requires potential surrogates to upload documents that verify who they are. Expect to provide a selfie and a government-issued ID (like a driver’s license). 

At Nodal, we use Stripe Identity, a third-party provider, to complete this process. According to the company’s website, “We've built automated identity verification technology that uses distinctive physiological characteristics of your face (known as biometric identifiers) to match the photos of your face with the photo on the ID document.”

3. A background check.

Background checks provide a comprehensive report on an individual's history, including any drug convictions, violent offenses, sex crimes, or instances of fraud or embezzlement that may not be revealed during an interview or reference check. Additionally, a background check may reveal bankruptcies, civil judgments, and any use of aliases.

A potential surrogate will be required to complete this step, as well as their partner (if applicable) and anyone over 18 in their home. 

4. Collection of medical records.  

As part of the surrogate interview process, you will need to provide detailed information about your medical and pregnancy history. We know — you might be asking yourself, “Didn’t I already do this for the initial application?” You did, but not in the comprehensive manner required for this step in the intake process. Potential surrogates must gather specific medical records and forms from their healthcare providers. These records include recent pap test results within the past 12 months, prenatal records from your previous pregnancies, and labor and delivery records from the hospitals where you gave birth.

You may also be required to have a medical clearance letter completed by your healthcare provider. The purpose of this letter is for a doctor to say you are cleared to carry another pregnancy.

Once your medical records are reviewed and approved, all parties involved will be contacted to schedule a screening visit at the clinic.

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

5. A psychiatric evaluation.

During a psychiatric evaluation, a healthcare provider will evaluate the surrogate and her partner (if applicable) to confirm they are psychologically stable and have a clear understanding of their responsibilities during the surrogacy process. The interview — which takes about an hour to complete — will cover topics related to the candidate's background, intentions, and expectations for the surrogacy journey, as well as assess the surrogate’s support team. (This is a very important part of becoming a surrogate.)

The psychiatric evaluation is also a place for a potential surrogate and their partner to express any questions or concerns related to the process.

The bottom line: The intake and screening process is a crucial part of the surrogacy experience for both potential surrogates and, eventually, the intended parents they will match with to carry a pregnancy. The main purpose? For everyone to stay safe and healthy throughout the journey.

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