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Finding a Surrogate Mother

One of the first questions intended parents in Ireland should ask a surrogacy agency is how their surrogates are screened and if the screening is done prior to being matched. The screening process helps agencies understand women's motivations to become surrogates, what their support systems will be, as well as physical and emotional histories. It also ensures protection and security for our intended parents who match with them.

Surrogate Mother Stats at Circle Surrogacy

 Why we fully screen surrogates before matching.

Why we fully screen surrogates before matching.

The surrogate screening process is an important step in determining the strongest, healthiest and most successful surrogate mothers to be matched with intended parents.

Circle Surrogacy facilitates a full screening of their surrogates prior to matching with intended parents. This means that each and every surrogate that is ready to match has been fully vetted in our 3-step screening process. We do this because our intended parents' security – and the safety of their future baby – is our number one priority.

Circle Surrogacy's best-in-class surrogate screening process means that intended parents will be matched with a surrogate only when we've determined she is not only a good surrogate mother candidate for surrogacy, but a surrogate mother candidate who meets Circle Surrogacy's highest standards.

This thorough screening process can result in a little bit of a waiting time for matching with a surrogate for parents, but we believe a best-in-class surrogate is worth the wait.

What is the impact on intended parents if an agency doesn't fully screen surrogates?

When an agency does not fully screen a surrogate before she is matched with intended parents, it can cause stress and uncertainty for the parents. For example, intended parents could have spent time getting to know their surrogate and forming an emotional connection, only to learn later that she did not pass the psychological evaluation and is not a good candidate to be a surrogate. Then they are back to square one with matching.

Our 3-Step Surrogate Screening Process

Circle Surrogacy's surrogate mother screening process contains 3 key steps in determining if a woman will be a successful surrogate mother. We not only speak with each candidate at length, we ask questions and gather information about her that enables us to see if she's ready to take on the mental, emotional and physical commitment of being a Circle surrogate.

Read more about our 3-Step Surrogacy Screening process below.

1. Prescreening.

This first step of the screening process happens right after a woman fills out the surrogate application. Our Prescreening Team – that is made up of experienced surrogates – will connect with every applicant to talk through the answers on her application, get clarity where needed, and answer any questions she might have.

While in Prescreening, our agency team will gather the following information from the surrogate applicant:

• Health and pregnancy history
• Criminal and financial background checks
• Insurance information
• Medical Records (to be reviewed by a consulting physician)

If women meet the criteria to become a Circle surrogate after Prescreening, they will progress to the second step of the process which is to be screened by a licensed mental health professional from Circle's Social Work team.

It's important to note, that many agencies complete just this step in screening and consider a surrogate mother "screened" and ready for matching. Because of this, other agencies may have shorter or no wait times to match. At Circle Surrogacy, we encourage Intended Parents to wait for a fully-screened surrogate to match with to reduce the risk of match breaks and disappointment for all parties.

2. Social Work Screening.

Circle Surrogacy employs an in-house team of licensed social workers, whose only job is to screen and support surrogate mothers. Each of these women have screened hundreds and hundreds of surrogate applicants. They not only understand the what the surrogate process is, they have seen women through entire journeys, and that experience has informed the questions they ask to determine if a woman would make a good surrogate.

During the social worker screening, which can last approximately 2-2.5 hours, surrogate applicants are asked about the following:

  • Their motivation to becoming a surrogate
  • Their pregnancy history
  • Family and interpersonal relationships
  • Any hobbies, interests, life experiences
  • Who her support network is (women will be asked to identify a Primary Support Person for the duration of their journeys)
  • Her surrogacy journey expectations and preferences (including the level of communication with intended parents and the type of intended parents she'd prefer to work with)
  • Her views regarding termination and selective reduction

At this stage, the surrogate candidate's primary support person will also have a call scheduled with the social work team. During this call, the social workers are able to determine if the primary support person identified will provide the proper emotional support for the candidate.

3. Psychological Exam

The third and final step in the Surrogate Screening Process is the psychological assessment. Each surrogate must complete psychological testing through the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) which is interpreted by a licensed psychologist.

The test typically takes around 30-45 minutes, and is used to further screen the carrier for psychological/psychiatric problems and assess her overall psychological functioning to determine if she is a suitable candidate for our program.

A surrogacy journey can be complex, and Circle Surrogacy tries to determine the strongest candidates up front. Of course, no one could predict human behavior entirely, but we do our best to provide parents with as much confidence and security as possible.

What happens after a surrogate mother completes the screening process?

Once a surrogate mother applicant completes all 3 steps to the surrogate screening process, she will sign a form known as the "Commitment Letter", which says she has considered all aspects of surrogacy and is ready to move on to the next step: matching with intended parents!

At this point, the Circle Surrogacy team will work together to match the screened surrogates with waiting intended parents. Once you are matched with a surrogate, it will be time to come to the U.S. to meet her and complete the medical screening at the IVF clinic.

Additional resources for intended parents

What is the timeline for a surrogacy journey?

See the steps involved in the surrogacy process for intended parents, plus a surrogacy timeline.

Surrogacy process

What are the legal requirements for surrogacy?

The legal aspects of a surrogacy are some of the more complicated elements of the process.

Legal Support

What are the success rates for surrogacy?

How successful a surrogacy agency is should be one of the criteria intended parents use to find an agency. Circle Surrogacy has a success rate of 99.3% for parents

Success Rates

What are the considerations for matching intended parents and surrogates?

When gestational carriers and intended parents begin working with Circle, they are asked questions to help determine the best possible match.

Surrogate mothers will work with their prescreening coordinator to find the best match. Surrogate matching criteria includes her preferences on:

• Level of communication during the journey
• Location of the intended parents (in the U.S. or international)
• Number of embryos to transfer
• Views on selective reduction and termination

Intended Parents will work closely with their Program Coordination team in identifying their needs and wants in a surrogate mother. Intended Parent matching criteria includes their preferences on:

• Level of communication during the journey
• Location of the surrogate
• Number of embryos to transfer
• Views on selective reduction and termination

3 criteria for matching intended parents and surrogates.

Circle focuses on 3 factors when determining a good match between intended parents and surrogates.

1. Appropriate Legal Fit.

In the United States, each state has its own laws regarding surrogacy. In addition, each country we assist has different requirements and laws regarding surrogacy. Therefore, our legal team ensures that the laws of the surrogate’s home state (where the delivery will take place) complement the laws of intended parents' home state/country. The legal department will always approve a match from a legal standpoint before a surrogate profile is presented to intended parents. We will never knowingly present matches that are not a safe legal fit.

Surrogacy laws by state
2. Personality Fit and Surrogacy Expectations.

Once the legal team presents its list of safe matches, the matching team reviews the list to ensure good personality fits, since we want this to be a comfortable relationship throughout the entirety of the journey. Both surrogates and intended parents undergo phone calls or in-person meetings with the Circle team early in the process; these meetings helps determine your personality as it relates to surrogacy. We also look at IP and surrogate’s expectations and hopes for the journey including number of embryos to transfer and communication styles.

More about matching
3. Expectations Surrounding Termination and Selective Reduction.

We ask IPs and surrogates their views on termination of a pregnancy as we want to create a match of IPs and surrogates who share similar views. In the United States, all women have the constitutional right to choose whether or not to undergo an abortion. Therefore, we want to ensure that the views of the surrogate and the views of the intended parents align in the event a situation arises where a reduction or termination is considered. In our experience, many intended parents prefer the option to make the choice of termination.

What is surrogacy?
 Meeting your surrogate for the first time.

Meeting your surrogate for the first time.

Once we have a potential match between a surrogate and intended parents, our matching team will email both parties each other's profiles with all identifying information removed. Circle will request that everyone reviews the profiles as soon as possible. If both parties are interested, we assist in scheduling a Skype call. If everyone feels that it is a good fit after the call, you are considered officially matched! If either party does not want to proceed with the match, we will find new suitable match options for both parties.

What if I don't like the first match I'm sent?

While our matching team does a phenomenal job of matching parents and surrogates, there are times when a match is sent that doesn't feel right. And that's ok! Giving honest feedback on why you are saying no to a match will help us get it right the second time.

What if I'm unsure of the match?

Many times, if you're unsure about a match, we may suggest that you go ahead and Skype to see if the match is a good fit. Because this process is most likely new, it's sometimes hard to know what criteria to use to determine if a match is right for you. In some cases, it takes seeing your match and getting to know them via a video call for you to truly make a decision.

What criteria should I use to determine if a match is right for me?

The criteria you use to determine a good match is personal to you. Some parents look to hear why a surrogate had applied to do a surrogacy journey. Some gestational carriers like to hear intended parents' past - how they met, and why they are interested in growing their family. Other times, it's a gut feeling that it's "right". One surrogate shared with us, "When we started our video call to get to know the intended parents I connected with them instantly and just knew immediately that I wanted to help them!"