No one can argue that a gestational surrogate is anything less than a strong, selfless, amazing woman. Still, surrogates are required to complete a thorough pre-screening process before beginning their journey.
The screening process is designed to ensure all surrogate candidates are truly prepared for the adventure to come. The nature of a surrogacy agreement—carrying someone else’s child—makes it imperative to leave no stone unturned regarding the medical, pregnancy, emotional and criminal history of the carrier.
Before a surrogate candidate can be matched to IPs and begin her journey, she and her significant other (if she has one) must agree to a background check/investigation. There will also be a review of her medical records and records of past pregnancies.
IPs need to trust their surrogate intrinsically, and there needs to be an ongoing level of transparency between all parties. If there are any red flags in the surrogate’s history—whether it’s felony charges, criminal activity, or general immoral activity—it’s important to acknowledge them with their surrogacy agency. If a candidate ever has concerns about something from her past, she should contact the agency and ask if it might pose a problem.
Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI)
The PAI is a 344-item personality test that assesses the surrogate’s personality and psychopathology, and takes roughly up to an hour to complete. It’s divided into 22 scales, including anxiety-related disorders, alcohol and drug problems, aggression, dominance, warmth, inconsistency, and negative/positive impressions.
The psychological evaluation requires the prospective surrogate to speak with an agency psychologist. The meeting can be scheduled in person or conducted via facetime/Skype.
During the interview, the psychologist will ask a series of questions about the surrogate and how she plans on pursuing certain aspects of her surrogacy journey. The psychologist will ask who her support system will be, why she decided to pursue surrogacy, who she would like to carry for, and other important decisions, such as selective reduction or termination.
In addition to interviewing the surrogate candidate, the psychologist will also request to speak with her spouse/significant other. It’s important for the surrogate and her partner to be on the same page throughout the surrogacy journey.
As long as the surrogate is evaluated effectively, expectations are clear, and all parties understand the process and its outcomes, then both the IPs and the surrogate can anticipate a healthy, happy surrogacy journey.