The surrogate medical screening process can feel complex, but it’s necessary for a safe and healthy experience. Learn more about what to expect and enter your surrogate test process with confidence.
Whether you are a surrogate or an Intended Parent, it’s necessary to be fully informed on the entire process. Surrogate medical screening is one of the most important requirements for this process. Medical screening for surrogacy is standard across North America, regardless of whether you are entering a commercial or altruistic arrangement. Full screening and testing are required before implantation and pregnancy can commence.
If you have any lingering questions or have specifics you wish to discuss, get in touch with the Extraordinary Conceptions team at your convenience.
What is Surrogate Testing and Screening?
In order to move forward with a surrogacy agreement, applicants must be medically and psychologically cleared through comprehensive testing and screening.
Before the surrogate medical screening process begins, applicants must confirm their eligibility to be surrogates. Surrogacy agencies and fertility clinics use the guidelines established by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in screening surrogates. Eligible surrogates are healthy, non-smoking and drug-free women between the ages of 21 to 45. To be a surrogate, applicants must have given birth to at least one child with no complications and are expected to still live with their child(ren).
Some other important legal requirements to be a surrogate include:
- BMI under 36
- Financial stability
- The applicant and her partner must not have any felony convictions
- No more than five natural deliveries
- Cesareans not to exceed three
- Family support in the home
We ask that all potential surrogates please be completely honest with us about these details during their initial application process, even if that means losing eligibility. If a surrogate’s screening process reveals that she has not disclosed certain health conditions or substance use, her cycle will be canceled.
Why is Psychological and Medical Screening for Surrogacy Important?
The surrogate testing process is a safety measure to make sure a woman is healthy and ready to carry a baby for her Intended Parents. It protects everybody involved in the agreement: Intended Parents, their coming baby, and the surrogate herself. This process helps us triple-check that applicants have been fully transparent about their physical and emotional abilities to handle the complexities of surrogacy.
Surrogate testing and screening is not the only required safety measure for this process; Intended Parents and surrogates also develop and sign comprehensive legal documents to ensure everything happens fairly and safely.
How Does the Surrogate Screening Process Work?
The surrogate screening process doesn’t begin straight away. In fact, the surrogacy screening process will be the fifth step in your journey. Prior to testing, you will need to check your eligibility, submit an application, confirm eligibility through a phone interview, and, of course, match with a family. Once all these steps have been completed, you will begin surrogate medical screening.
The full surrogate screening process is twofold: you will undergo psychological and medical screening before moving forward with legal contracts, embryo transfer and pregnancy. Once applicants have confirmed eligibility, they will apply to our surrogate database. After a surrogate has been medically and psychologically cleared, the next step of the surrogate process (the drafting of a legal contract) can commence.
Medical Screening for Surrogacy
Medical screening for surrogacy takes place at the Intended Parents’ chosen IVF clinic. Every IVF physician or IVF clinic may have a different screening process. It usually involves a medical history and physical exam, pap smear, urine drug test and screening for infectious diseases. This is mainly done through blood testing, but surrogates should also expect an ultrasound and cervical swab test for chlamydia and gonorrhea. These tests will also check for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, Syphilis and HTLV-1.
This process will also check the surrogate’s blood type and RH Factor. This is done to ensure that her blood type will be compatible with the intended father and the baby. The levels of certain hormones, like thyroid hormone and prolactin, are also checked. Some IVF doctors may request a hysteroscopy to examine the uterus, the lining and the cervix.
Psychological Evaluation for Surrogacy
The psychological evaluations for surrogacy are in place to protect both the surrogate as well as her Intended Family. These tests will be conducted by a social worker or Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT.) 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? After nearly 20 years in this business, we have great referrals for these professional services and are happy to facilitate communication for our surrogates.
Some surrogates feel nervous or uncomfortable ahead of their psychological evaluations for surrogacy. That’s normal! This meeting is a time to think and reflect and will involve conversations about things to consider before becoming a surrogate.
We advise applicants to use this testing period to think hard about the questions asked in these evaluations. They will help determine whether she wants to be a surrogate and if her existing support system will be able to help her through the pregnancy and recovery.
Substance and Drug Testing for Surrogacy
Using drugs during pregnancy is harmful to a developing baby. We must be sure that there is nothing preventable that could hurt the baby.
If a surrogacy applicant tests positive for drugs, she will not be eligible to become a surrogate. However, there are some limited exceptions. For example, applicants who test positive for an opioid pain reliever because of a prescribed pain pill taken after a dental procedure may still be considered—after passing further drug tests.
We’re Here to Support You!
With Extraordinary Conceptions, you will always have a helping hand when you need it. We’ve been helping families and surrogates navigate every step of the ART(Assisted Reproductive Technology) journey for nearly 20 years. Our team has lived experience with surrogacy, egg donation, IVF and fertility treatments, and this understanding helps us promise that our surrogates and families receive the best possible attention and care. We make sure that every step of the surrogate process, from screening to delivery day and beyond, is smooth and stress-free.
To get in touch with the Extraordinary Conceptions team with any questions, please email us or call (760) 438-2265. We are honored to be a part of your surrogacy journey and look forward to meeting you.