The Surrogate Intake Process
March 15, 2023 by Frank Golden
If you are reading this, you are either someone interested in becoming a Surrogate or my mom reading my writing. Hi mom! If you are the former, let me start by introducing myself. I am Frank Golden, the co-founder and agency director of Golden Surrogacy, one of the nation’s leading surrogacy agencies. If you are the latter, what are your plans for next Sunday? Can I drop the kids off for a couple hours while I grocery shop?
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s jump right into the topic at hand, the Surrogate intake process. Whether you are a second-time Surrogate or have no idea what a Reproductive Endocrinologist does, I am going to give you a play-by-play of everything that happens during the 30-90 day onboarding process with my agency. Before we get into the thick of it, I want to address the question that just popped in your head. “Frank, 90 days is a long time. Why does it take so long to onboard me as a Surrogate?” Let me just say that the onboarding process can take up to 90 days, and at the end of it there is no guarantee you will be approved.
Now I want to address the second thought that just popped in your head. “It can be 90 days and I might not even get approved? Frank, you are not doing a good job selling your agency.” I cannot stress enough how important the 30-90 days of onboarding are. I know you are excited and ready to get started on your journey towards becoming a Gestational Surrogate, but we need to back up. Your health, safety, and general wellbeing as a Surrogate are at the forefront of everything we do here at Golden. The onboarding process is a time we use to ensure that we are embarking on this journey in the safest way possible for all parties involved. We know your heart is in the right place, but we do not want you in a situation that could end up hindering your own health. We care about you and do not want to move forward until you are fully prepared.
“Okay, Frank. You care about my wellbeing. I appreciate you looking out for me. But what does the onboarding process look like?” Great question! Let’s get back into it.
The first step on your journey to becoming a Surrogate would be to visit our website and check our Surrogate requirements. We have a set of requirements and health criteria that all women need to pass to be approved. Golden is more stringent with requirements than other agencies because we want to elevate the experience for all parties involved on a journey. Our goal is uncomplicated, vaginal deliveries for the sake of our Surrogates and Intended Parents. Some of our requirements include being between the ages of 23-37, no more than 3 previous deliveries, and no more than 1 previous c-section. I can hear your questions already. “Frank, I would never meet those requirements.” Or “My previous pregnancy was fine, why do I need to follow requirements?” Or “Good job writing, sweetie, your dad and I are so proud of you.” More great questions and comments, please keep them coming. It is important for you to understand that every agency has a set of requirements. These requirements are in place to prevent any unnecessary risk to your health. The fact that we do not accept every person who applies to become a Golden Surrogate is a good thing. We care about you too much to accept you if you are not physically, mentally, or financially prepared to embark on a surrogacy journey.
The next step on your journey would be to fill out an application on our website. Following the submission of your application, one of our Intake Specialists will give you a call, review your health history, and make sure you are preliminary qualified to begin your surrogacy journey. Your Intake Specialist will ask preliminary questions to ensure you meet the base criteria as well as personal questions to get to know you. Questions like, “Why do you want to become a Surrogate and help create families?” Or “What brought you to surrogacy?” Or “How does your partner feel about your decision?” We simply use these conversations to get a better understanding of your motives and beliefs. Additionally, if you have a partner or spouse, we would love to talk to them and see if they are supportive and ready to be just as involved with this process as you are.
If those preliminary conversations go well, we would send you to meet with your OB to have a complete physical workup. Here at the agency, we would also start requesting all your medical records. We would look at prenatal records, delivery records from the delivery hospital, and even request your PCP (primary care physician) records to see if there are underlying health conditions that were not reported during your pregnancies. While this is happening, in the background our intake department will schedule your in-person psychological assessment as well as your home visit. Because these steps are so important, we want to ensure that we do not miss anything. Are you keeping up?
To recap what has happened so far, we have spoken with you and your spouse/partner (if you have one), sent you to your OB, have all your records incoming, sent you for your physical evaluation, and have a social worker ready to visit your home.
The last part would be to make sure your Surrogate profile here at the agency is complete. This is an important step because this is what your potential Intended Parents will be reading to determine if they want to move forward with a match.
Here are just a few items that would be included on your profile for Intended Parents to see:
• Your name
• Your age
• The city and state you live
• Your relationship status
• Your current place of employment
• Your education history
• If you are more introverted or more extroverted
• Your favorite TV show and/or books
• Your reason for wanting to become a Surrogate
• What you are looking for in Intended Parents
The very last component is that we take your profile, your psychological assessment, your home study, all your medical records, your interview notes, everything that we have compiled here at the agency on your behalf, and we transmit them to a Reproductive Endocrinologist to have them comb through it all and give us preliminary approval. In case you are the reader who does not know what a Reproductive Endocrinologist is, they are an OB who specializes in reproductive medicine. This is the stage of onboarding where the “up to 90 days” can become a reality. At every step of this onboarding process, there is an opportunity for things to get delayed. However, we most often see a Surrogate’s onboarding process get delayed during the gathering of medical records. Medical records can take 30-60 days to come to the agency. We do everything we can to speed along the process but sometimes it takes longer than we would like. We know no one likes to be delayed, but rest assured we are doing everything in the most expeditious manner possible. Let me give you a tip: to help us at Golden move your onboarding process along, fill out and send back any documents we send you as quickly as possible. Then, if there is a delay with other steps, we can move forward in other areas and get the process completed faster.
If you have made it past this point, congrats! You have been approved to become a Golden Surrogate. Your journey is only taking off and I promise the best is yet to come. Now that we are confident you are fully prepared, let’s get you matched!
Once you have received approval, we have a meeting with you to recap your matching preferences and present profiles that closely match your matching criteria. With that, you have completed Golden’s surrogacy onboarding and intake process.
“Frank, I found that information incredibly helpful! But what happens in the matching process?” Or “I can’t watch the kids Sunday but would Saturday work?” If you are wondering about what happens next in the matching process, check out our other blogs and podcast episodes. Give us a call, send us an email, or slide into our DMs! I would be more than happy to answer any additional questions you may have and get you started on your journey to become a Golden Surrogate today!