When you become a surrogate, you’ll need to undergo certain medical and psychological screenings to make sure you’re mentally and physical ready for the process of surrogacy. But, did you know that intended parents also have to undergo extensive screening before they can be cleared for the surrogacy process?
Just as it is for surrogates, it’s important that all intended parents are prepared for the emotional and practical challenges of the surrogacy process before they can begin. In fact, most surrogacy clinics will not allow intended parents to proceed with the medical process of surrogacy unless certain screening standards have been met. So, whether they’re working with an agency or completing an independent surrogacy, all intended parents must be approved for the surrogacy process by a professional before they can proceed with this life-changing journey.
As a prospective surrogate yourself, this information should help you feel safer and more comfortable with pursuing the surrogacy process. As long as your intended parents complete their necessary screening requirements, you are one step closer to a positive, successful surrogacy journey.
But, how exactly are intended parents screened, and how does this make sure they’re ready for the surrogacy process?
To complete their screening, there are typically four steps intended parents need to take:
1. Initial Application and Questionnaire
The first step in any intended parent’s screening process is the submission of their initial application to a surrogacy professional. Typically, surrogacy agencies will ask a few very important questions on this application, which determine whether an intended parent is really ready to start the surrogacy process. This information could include their family-building goals, their financial situation, their age and more.
Once they submit their initial application, a surrogacy professional will usually contact them to learn more about their surrogacy goals and needs. In this phone call or in-person meeting, the surrogacy specialist will answer any questions they have and, when they’re ready, help them put together a surrogacy planning questionnaire to create the perfect surrogacy journey. This questionnaire will usually address issues like:
- What kind of surrogacy they wish to complete (traditional vs. gestational, compensated vs. altruistic)
- Their budget for surrogacy
- Any requirements for egg, sperm or embryo donors
- Any contact they’d like to have with their surrogate
- Their history with surrogacy and other family-building options
- How they will raise a child born via surrogacy
- And more
This questionnaire and interview process is an important first step for surrogacy professionals to determine if intended parents are ready for the surrogacy process and have an understanding of the potential challenges awaiting them.
2. Background Checks
Before intended parents can be matched with a surrogate through a matching professional, they must clear certain background checks. These checks are often of the same kind that you will undergo as a prospective surrogate, including criminal background and child abuse registry histories. These screenings help ensure that intended parents can provide a safe and stable home for a child.
Surrogacy professionals will rarely work with any intended parents who have any past convictions. You should speak with your surrogacy agency if you want more information on what kind of personal background will disqualify intended parents and keep you safe during your surrogacy process.
3. In-Home Visits
Some, but not all, surrogacy agencies will require a home visit for intended parents. This is just another step professionals take to ensure that intended parents can provide a proper home for a child born via surrogacy.
During these visits, a trained social worker will check to see if the intended parents’ house meets safety standards and is a proper environment to raise a child. The social worker may also conduct interviews with all members of the household to confirm they are ready for the surrogacy process, including its possible rewards and challenges. The home visits also give intended parents a chance to ask their social worker any additional questions about surrogacy and being parents to a child born via surrogacy.
You should ask your personal surrogacy professional to find out if they require any sort of home study investigations for intended parents.
4. Specific Agency Screening Requirements
Each surrogacy professional will have different screening requirements for the intended parents who choose to work with them. As a prospective surrogate yourself, it’s important to know what an agency’s requirements are to ensure that you are comfortable with any pre-screened matches that might be presented to you. Even if you are finding intended parents on your own, you’ll still need to complete all necessary screening before you finalize a match — to make sure all parties are sufficiently prepared for the surrogacy process ahead.
Consider speaking with one of these surrogacy professionals to learn more about their program requirements for intended parents and to find the guidelines that are right for you:
Remember, background screening is just one step in making sure that intended parents are right for you. The other step is you getting to know them through phone calls and in-person meetings. It’s important that you find the perfect match to make your surrogacy process as positive as possible, and some of that responsibility will fall on you — because the decision is ultimately all up to you.
The intended parents you choose will be a huge part of your surrogacy process, so always make sure you are comfortable with the level of screening they undergo and the qualities you’ve selected before legalizing a match through a surrogacy contract.