How to Become a Surrogate

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Being a surrogate mother is a life-changing and rewarding experience in which you carry a pregnancy for a loving family in waiting.

Many say there is no greater gift to give. Indeed, most surrogates report surrogacy as a top 3-lifetime experience.

If you recently came across the idea, you’re probably wondering exactly how to become a surrogate.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to become a gestational surrogate, from application to delivery.

Of course, if you have questions now or after reading this article, feel free to explore our surrogate FAQs or contact our team of surrogacy professionals. Similarly, if you’re ready to be a surrogate, we encourage you to fill out our surrogate application now. 

Overview of How to Become a Surrogate

To become a surrogate, you will need to:

Once you are pregnant, you are technically a gestational surrogate. 

Of course, you’ll want to complete the job by carrying the pregnancy to term and delivering a happy, healthy baby.

Now that we have a basic overview of how to become a surrogate, let’s examine these essential steps on the path to surrogacy in detail.

Research Research Research

Helping bring a child into this world is one of the most amazing and selfless gifts you can give to someone.

While everyone at Surrogate Steps is passionate about surrogacy, with most acting as surrogates themselves, it may not be for everyone.

Some people may be lured by how much money you can make as a surrogate without considering the true commitment of surrogacy.

Surrogacy is a long and sometimes difficult undertaking that requires bravery, support, selflessness, mental and physical strength, and commitment.

This rightfully leads many to wonder, is surrogacy right for me?  If you’re not quite ready, take your time.  Read as much as possible about what it means to be a surrogate and about the surrogate process.

And if you prefer to ask questions to an experienced professional, you can always contact our team for additional support. 

Of course, if you are asking how to become a surrogate because you already know its something you MUST do, then make sure you meet all the basic requirements below and apply.

Meet all of the basic requirements

The first official step to becoming a surrogate is the surrogate application.

The initial surrogate application’s primary purpose is to ensure you meet all the basic qualifications of being a surrogate. The application and subsequent screening help protect prospective surrogates and ensure the intended parents are working with qualified individuals.

Before you spend your valuable time applying to be a surrogate, ensuring you meet the basic requirements is a wise first step.

Surrogate requirements can vary from agency to agency, but generally follow the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s guidelines.

At Surrogate Steps, our basic requirements are as folllow:

  • Have a proven birth record (have given birth with no major complications in pregnancy or childbirth)
  • Be a US citizen with valid government identification
  • Live in a surrogate-friendly state (You can NOT live in Nebraska, Louisiana, or Michigan)
  • Be between the age of 23-45
  • Be in good general health
  • Have no criminal record
  • Have no history of illicit drug or alcohol abuse
  • No current smoking or heavy drinking
  • Not currently on Section 8 housing

If you meet all the basic requirements, the next step in becoming a surrogate mother is filling out the application.

Apply to be a surrogate

Surrogate applications are often split into multiple phases. At Surrogate Steps, we have an initial application and a more in-depth questionnaire that prospective surrogates fill out after passing the initial screening.

The initial application involves several questions to determine if you meet the basic requirements of being a surrogate, your readiness to start, and ensures you understand the time and bodily commitment of surrogacy.

Once you pass the primary screen, a surrogate intake coordinator will ask the prospective surrogate to fill out a more in-depth questionnaire covering your pregnancy and medical history, social and living situation, and more.

If everything looks good after you’ve completed the long-form questionnaire, you’ll be one step closer to becoming a surrogate mother.

The next steps include obtaining pregnancy clearance and examining your medical records thoroughly.

Obtain Clearance from an OBGYN

A relatively simple step on the journey to becoming a surrogate, all prospective surrogates must obtain a letter from their OBGYN stating they are medically cleared for pregnancy.

Of course, your OBGYN will only approve your surrogacy journey if you are healthy and ready to carry another pregnancy.

Pass a Medical Records Review

All prospective surrogates must pass a medical records review to ensure that the information you disclosed on your application/questionnaire is truthful – namely, that you are generally healthy, have not had any pregnancy or delivery complications, and appear otherwise fit for pregnancy.

At Surrogate Steps, all prospective surrogates have their medical records reviewed twice, once by our staff nurse and once by the intended parent’s fertility clinic staff.

Get matched with an Intended Parent

A bit of a given, but all surrogates must match with intended parent(s).

After passing the basic reviews and entering a surrogacy program, your profile will be shown to various intended parents.

Once selected, the prospective surrogate will be shown the intended parents profile. A match meeting will occur if the surrogate thinks they will be a good fit.

If the match meeting goes well, then the match will be officially made.

Pass a medical examination

The next step in becoming a gestational surrogate is to pass a medical exam by a fertility clinic.

The medical exam may vary slightly from clinic to clinic, but most follow the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s surrogate screening protocols and include infectious disease screening/testing, preconception laboratory testing, and uterine evaluation.

Pass a mental health evaluation 

Being cleared for surrogacy usually involves a mental health professional experienced in gestational carrier evaluations performing a psychologic evaluation.

The evaluation typically looks to:

  • assess/screen for mental/behavioral disorders
  • obtain a history of: mood and anxiety disorders, major depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis, eating disorders, etc
  • Assess for coercion
  • Perform an overall mental status evaluation to determine if they are cognitively and emotionally ready for gestational surrogacy
  • perform implications counseling, which ensures the gestational carrier fully understands the treatment protocols, informed consent, potential complications, the potential psychosocial impact of pregnancy – especially carrying someone else’s baby, the risk of becoming attached to the child, and more.

ASRM guidelines suggest that a surrogate should be disqualified for some of the following and more:

  • insufficient cognitive functioning to provide informed consent
  • financial or emotional coercion
  • alcohol/drug abuse or addiction, child abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, anxiety, eating disorders, depression
  • traumatic pregnancy, labor, and/or delivery
  • a history of psychological disorder
  • interpersonal or environmental instability
  • evidence of an inability to emotionally separate from/surrender the child at birth
  • failure to exhibit an altruistic commitment to becoming a GC

Pass a home study evaluation

A home study is an opportunity to learn more about the prospective surrogate home environment and meet everyone living there.

A third-party social worker living near the surrogate usually conducts the home study.

The home study aims to ensure the home is a safe and supportive environment for the pregnancy.

Sign a Gestational Carrier Agreement

After passing all the required screenings, the next major hurdle to becoming a surrogate is the gestational carrier agreement. 

A gestational carrier agreement is a contract between the gestational carrier and intended parents.

The agreement covers the GC and IPs’ intentions, rights, obligations, and more in the surrogacy arrangement. It addresses parental rights, custody issues, future contact between the parties, delivery location, how medical bills will be paid, how the surrogate will be compensated, and much more.

The intended parent and the prospective surrogate will have independent legal counsel to review and negotiate the contract to ensure both parties are represented adequately. 

Getting pregnant

You’re officially a surrogate once you’re pregnant with someone else’s future child. 

While this is the final step in “becoming a surrogate,” it is by no means the last step in the surrogacy journey.

Gestational carriers establish the surrogate pregnancy using an embryo transfer – the final step in an IVF cycle.  

Notably, the embryos used to establish a gestational surrogacy do not come from the surrogate’s own eggs, meaning they are not the biological mother to the child they later deliver.

This makes handing the child back to the intended parents much easier.

After carrying the pregnancy for nine months and delivering the child, the surrogate’s job is complete, and they are sent their final payment.

How to Become a Surrogate Recap

We hope reading this article has helped answer all your questions about how to become a surrogate.

To recap, becoming a surrogate involves:

  • Have a proven birth record (have given birth with no significant complications in pregnancy or childbirth)
  • Be a US citizen with valid government identification
  • Live in a surrogate-friendly state (You can NOT live in Nebraska, Louisiana, or Michigan)
  • Be between the age of 23-45
  • Be in good general health
  • Have no criminal record
  • Have no history of illicit drug or alcohol abuse
  • No current smoking or heavy drinking
  • Not currently on Section 8 housing

Of course, we encourage you to contact us if you have questions or to learn more about becoming a surrogate mother; AND if you’re ready to begin your surrogate journey, we invite you to fill out our application today!


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