There are so many stories about surrogates and why they choose to be a gestational carrier. While the idea of surrogacy is becoming more mainstream, education about the process is getting out there. Part of this is learning about the types of screening for surrogates.
What is a Gestational Surrogate?
A gestational surrogate is a woman who decides to carry a baby for someone who needs her help. A gestational surrogate is also known as a gestational carrier.
Reputable surrogacy agencies require that a surrogate has given birth to her own children. The birth of her children must have had no complications.
A gestational carrier does not have any biological ties to the surrogate baby. The egg used is either from the intending mother or an egg donor. The embryo created is implanted into her uterus through a procedure called in vitro fertilization.
Surrogacy is an arrangement between surrogates and intending parents. A gestational surrogate carries a baby for a person or couple who could not otherwise have children on their own.
Age guidelines and More
Surrogacy agencies and fertility clinics use the guidelines established by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in the screening for surrogates.
The recommended age of a gestational surrogate is a woman who is within the range of 21 to 45. As mentioned before, agencies require that an applicant has had at least one child with no complications.
Other surrogate guidelines include the following:
- Full-term pregnancy
- No more than five natural deliveries
- Cesareans not to exceed two
- Family support in the home
Agencies also require that a surrogate have at least one child living at home.
Medical Screening and Tests
A part of the surrogacy process is medical screening for the surrogate. In addition to paperwork from her doctors, she will need some other tests. Each fertility clinic has their own process, but here are the most likely tests.
They are the following:
- Physical exam
- Pap Smear
- Urine test
Another area of screening will include viral infections which are the following:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- RH Factor
A fertility clinic may also include other screenings not mentioned on this list. Before a woman becomes a surrogate, she must be cleared for her own safety as well as for the baby she carries for her intending parents.
Why Psychological Testing is Important
It’s normal that the term psychological screening can make someone nervous. It’s important to remember that this meeting is also to help a surrogate applicant. The questions asked will determine if she wants to be a surrogate.
Surrogacy takes a lot of dedication. She needs to realize this from the very start.
Also important is honesty.
A psychologist or social worker specializing in third-party reproduction conducts these interviews. They will want to know if an applicant has ever had any psychological challenges. And if so, what were they and how were they resolved.
The therapist will also talk about things to consider before becoming a surrogate. This meeting is a time to think and reflect.