The Surrogacy Matching Process

A women on a call and going through the surrogacy matching processWhen an individual or couple decides to embark on a surrogacy journey to have a child of their own, their journey can only begin when they find a surrogate match. This surrogate will be a like-minded individual who will carry and deliver their baby. 

When a woman decides to become a surrogate to help intended parents start their family, her journey can only begin once she has found intended parent partners.

Usually, if the intended parent and the surrogate do not know each other, they will choose an agency to help with the matching process. Surrogacy agencies have multiple profiles of potential surrogates for intended parents to choose from, so they can feel as though they can choose someone who meets their needs and wants.

So, how does the matching process actually work?

The Screening Process

For Surrogates

Although the matching process happens at the beginning of the surrogacy journey, it is not actually the first step. When a prospective surrogate first realizes she wants to pursue surrogacy and contacts an agency to get started, the first step (aside from answering her questions, of course) is the screening process.

The screening process will begin with an interview so the agency and the surrogate can get to know each other and see if they are a good fit to work together.

Then, the prospective surrogate will fill out paperwork. The paperwork will first require her to fill out her basic information, then will address medical history and health. She will address any complications she had with past pregnancies, past periods, and any overall health problems. She will answer lifestyle questions and write about her diet and exercise routines, including any medications she may be on. This section will conclude with an emotional wellness section, where she will detail out her mental health history and any treatment she has received.

All potential surrogates must agree to have a criminal background check.

Once all of the paperwork is filled out, some less formal (but still very important) questions are discussed. These include conversations about her support system (a surrogate’s partner and anyone she is currently living with must support her decision). It may also include any pregnancy preferences she wants to discuss (including whether or not she is okay with carrying twins and anything specific she wants to voice) and her personal motivation for wanting to pursue surrogacy.

The last step of the screening process includes a discussion about compensation. Your intended parents need to know this amount so they are aware of their costs.

For Intended Parents

The first step in the intended parents screening process is the same first step as the prospective surrogate screening process – an interview. The interview helps reveal if the agency and intended parents are a good fit for each other, and it also helps an agency to debrief prospective intended parents on the type of commitment needed to pursue parenthood via surrogacy.

Intended parents also must consent to background checks. These checks examine criminal records, high school and college degrees, driving records, proof of employment and credit history, and sometimes even social media accounts. There will also need to be provided proof of the intended parents’ current living space. These checks help to ensure the intended parents are fit in all ways to raise a child.

There will be a mental health examination for all prospective intended parents. It is always conducted by a certified mental health professional, though it may take place at the intended parent’s doctor’s office, at an agency-recommended or local clinic, or at the agency’s office.

Some agencies require drug tests, as recreational drug use is prohibited for all prospective intended parents.

The less formal questions for intended parents include those about their support system, and their preferences for a surrogate mother partner. It is important that intended parents are able to provide the communication and respect that a surrogate will need during her journey.

Once the screening processes are completed for both sides individually, the agency will partner up a surrogate and intended parents who they believe will be a good fit for each other. They will meet to discuss their preferences, to talk about compensation, and to begin a friendship.

The Matching Process

After the initial interview and paperwork, a surrogacy agency’s matching and legal teams will work together to narrow down their options based on their preferences. They consider factors such as where both parties live, if the surrogate already has health insurance, and any specific preferences that intended parents and surrogates voiced during their interviews.

Surrogate Matching Criteria

A surrogacy agency will ask all prospective surrogates a number of questions to understand their preferences. Surrogates will only be placed with intended parents who can meet all of her preferences, or come very close and are willing to discuss a compromise. These questions include the following, though there may be more:

  1. Communication: The surrogate will be asked whether she wants a low level of communication with her intended parent partners, or if she prefers more communication. Some partnerships like a casual communication system where they text each other on a loose, unscheduled (but often frequent) basis. Others prefer a monthly Zoom call where they do a “check-in” and prefer no other communication in between. These options and any option in between these are valid.
  2. Location: The surrogate can choose her preferred proximity from the intended parents she partners with. If she prefers to create a closer bond with her partners, she may choose to work with intended parents who live close by. She may also choose to only work with intended parents who live out of state.
  3. Number of Embryos: Some surrogates prefer not to carry multiples (twins or more), while others don’t mind or even prefer the added pay benefit while carrying more than one child. Both options are valued.
  4. Personal Viewpoints: All prospective surrogates will be asked their opinions on selective reduction. Selective reduction involves terminating one or more fetuses so the surrogate only gives birth to one child. If the surrogate mother does not want to carry multiple fetuses, this option may be explored.

Intended Parent Matching Criteria

  1. Communication: As described above, intended parents also get to make the decision on how much communication they want with their surrogate partner. They will be paired with a surrogate mother who has the same wants as they do.
  2. Location: Just as the surrogate can choose the proximity in which her intended parent partners live from her, intended parents can also decide how close they want to be to their surrogate partner. International cases may have a little less flexibility, but we are open to a discussion with all cases.
  3. Number of Embryos: If intended parents prefer twins, the surrogacy agency will match them with a surrogate who would like to carry twins.
  4. Personal Viewpoints: Selective reduction may be used to ensure only one child is born. We value everyone’s opinions on selective reduction and we will create partnerships that share the same values.

Once the surrogacy agency finds two parties who fit, the match is made! The intended parents and intended surrogate meet for their first discussion to decide for themselves if they want to work together. If they don’t, the surrogacy agency will go back to the drawing board to find better fits for each party. If they do, the journey begins!

Ready to begin your journey with surrogacy? Contact us here.