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Why Proper Surrogate Screening Is Important

One of the first questions intended parents 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.

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