Becoming a surrogate is an exciting, life-changing experience — and if you are searching for information on how to get started, you have already taken the first step. Learning more about the process and requirements is an important stage for every woman considering a surrogacy journey.
Whether you live in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, or Alabama, here’s how to become a surrogate with Southern Surrogacy:
1. Meet Initial Screening Requirements to Be a Surrogate
The first step for any woman considering surrogacy is to complete a brief Information Request Form, which will help us determine whether you meet some basic surrogate qualifications, including:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a previous healthy pregnancy
- Be raising your own child in your home
- Be smoke- and drug-free
- Have a healthy BMI
- Be able to travel for surrogacy appointments
- And more
If your questionnaire indicates that you meet these basic surrogate requirements, you will receive a link to another, longer questionnaire that asks for more detailed and personal information about your social and medical history. Southern Surrogacy staff will review this longer questionnaire and reach out to you to discuss our program and the requirements for surrogacy in more detail.
Women who meet the general qualifications to be a surrogate can then proceed with the surrogate screening process, which includes:
- Obtaining Medical and Insurance Documents: You will be asked to provide medical records from your previous pregnancies. If you have health insurance, you will be asked to provide us with a copy of your insurance card and your benefits booklet. We will assist you in gathering these documents.
- In-Office Meeting: If you are qualified for our surrogacy program, we will schedule an in-person meeting for you with one of our Directors. The meeting usually lasts one to two hours and will cover all aspects of the surrogacy process. It may take place at one of our three convenient office locations: Atlanta, GA; Savannah, GA; or Charlotte, NC. During this meeting, we will also review the Agreement Between Gestational Surrogate and Southern Surrogacy with you, as well as the Authorization forms. (All forms will be provided to you before the meeting so you can review them and prepare your questions, if any).
- Background Check: Southern Surrogacy will conduct an online background check on you. Please note that intended parents will undergo the same background check to ensure both parties are truly ready for surrogacy.
- In-Home Visit: A representative of Southern Surrogacy (typically a social worker) will meet with you in your home. Please note that all adults residing in the home must be present for this visit. This is not a “white glove test!” The social worker is simply there to ensure that your family dynamic is supportive of the surrogacy relationship.
Once you have satisfied Southern Surrogacy’s preliminary screening requirements, you are ready to be matched with hopeful intended parents. However, after a match has been made, you will need to undergo further medical and psychological evaluations before entering into your surrogacy agreement.
2. Match with Intended Parents
After you have been admitted to the surrogate program, we will begin the matching process. We are committed to finding the right match for each gestational carrier and intended parent, and we take the time to get to know each client before introducing them to a potential match.
When presenting prospective intended parents to you, we will forward you their profile letter, including pictures and a letter from them introducing themselves to you. We will also work with you to create a similar profile that includes a written introduction, as well as some photos of you and your family. The prospective intended parents will have an opportunity to review this information, and if everyone is comfortable moving forward, we will facilitate the initial contact for you.
You may choose to text or call before meeting the intended parents in person. Some surrogates and intended parents are comfortable meeting each other on their own, while others prefer to include a Southern Surrogacy staff member in their initial meeting. We will work with you to ensure everyone feels comfortable and has the support they need throughout the matching process.
If both parties would like to move forward after the in-person meeting, it is then time to complete the medical and psychological evaluation process before moving forward with legal contracts.
3. Meet Medical Requirements to be a Surrogate
Surrogacy is a physically demanding, emotionally overwhelming, and medically complex process. Before the embryo transfer, it is important to complete additional screening to ensure you are truly physically and emotionally ready to carry a surrogate pregnancy:
- Psychological Consultation and Evaluation: Once you have been matched with intended parents, Southern Surrogacy will arrange for you to complete a psychological evaluation administered by the intended parents’ selected mental health professional. This professional will review those results and schedule one-on-one and group meetings with you and the intended parents. During these meetings, you will discuss the psychological aspects of surrogacy, as well as everyone’s expectations of each other and the process. This group meeting is invaluable and can help to avoid later issues, in the event that your expectations differ. We feel strongly that this is critical to a successful and enjoyable relationship with the intended parents.
- Medical Screening: During your first medical appointment, you will likely complete a physical, a variety of laboratory testing and a screening for sexually transmitted diseases. (Your spouse or partner will also need to be screened for STDs and other communicable diseases). You may undergo an ultrasound to determine the health of your uterus. This medical screening is the final step to be officially approved as a gestational carrier.
Once you have met all the qualifications for surrogacy and have found the right intended parents, you will be ready to begin the legal and medical surrogacy process.
4. Satisfy Legal Requirements for Surrogacy
Upon receiving confirmation from the physician that you have completed all necessary testing and are ready to proceed with the surrogacy arrangement, the intended parents’ attorney will begin drafting the surrogacy contract.
Once the contract is ready for your review, we will assist you in the selection of independent legal counsel to review the contract with you and to negotiate any changes. The intended parents will cover your legal fees for the contract review process.
Your surrogacy contract will be tailored specifically to meet your needs and those of the intended parents. It will clearly outline compensation, risks, and each party’s responsibilities throughout the process.
Once the contract has been fully executed, then you are ready to begin the medical process and start preparing for the embryo transfer.