When an individual or couple considers surrogacy to build a family, it’s something they have thought about for quite some time. It’s a decision not made in haste but instead with mindfulness.
Surrogacy makes parenthood dreams come true for those who have battled infertility or for same-sex couples requiring a surrogate to become parents. Advanced reproductive technologies have made it possible for everyone to experience the love of a child. When an individual or couple begins to explore a surrogacy journey at a reputable agency, there are inevitably some initial questions they have early on in the process.
Some intended parents may choose to perform their surrogacy on their own; however, others may find that working with a surrogacy agency in good standing is a better option for them.
While it’s a personal decision, those who ultimately choose to team up with an agency do so for the following reasons:
- A streamlined surrogate selection process
- A comprehensive background screening on the potential surrogate (and her partner, if applicable)
- A psychological and medical evaluation for the potential surrogate
- Access to top fertility clinics and comprehensive screenings
- Referrals to leading attorneys specializing in surrogacy and right of parentage
- Assistance in navigating the surrogacy process
While finding the right surrogacy agency is the first step, future parents want to know how surrogates are ultimately selected. Prior to a woman filling out a surrogate application, there are requirements mandated by an agency.
A handful of these requirements may consist of the following:
- Applicants must fall between 21 to 39 years of age
- Applicants must have given birth to at least one child without complications
- Applicants must maintain a healthy lifestyle and BMI (body mass index) below 30
- Applicants must be nonsmokers and not involved in recreational drug activity
- Surrogacy agencies in the USA require that applicants are citizens of the USA, Canada, or have proof of permanent residency status in the states
- Applicants do not have a history of mental illness
- Applicants are financially secure and are not on any government assistance program
If a woman decides she meets the above guidelines, she can move forward filling out an online application and also submitting photos of herself. Some pre-applicants may choose to contact a surrogacy admissions team member at an agency to ask some questions before submitting their applications. Nevertheless, applicants soon discover that reputable agencies have a rigorous screening process.
So do all applicants become surrogates? That answer is a resounding no. At top tier agencies, it’s estimated that only 20 percent of applications are approved.
For those applicants who move on to the next stage, intended parents would be happy to know that the next step is an interview with a surrogacy admissions team member at an agency. While the interview is meant to answer an applicant’s questions, it also serves as an opportunity for an agency to take part in additional screening. The interview generally lasts around an hour and can be done via phone or Skype. For those who live in close proximity of the agency, in-person appointments can also be arranged.
If a surrogacy intake team member believes the applicant is a superb surrogate candidate, they will ask her to fill out her post interview packet. Upon completion, she can be deemed as an “available surrogate.”
It’s at this point in time, intending parents can view these potential surrogates on the agency’s secure database. Once a surrogate match is made, parenthood dreams can begin to come true.