Tips for Psychologically Screening Surrogates

When a mental health professional is retained to screen a surrogate they are not screening for the “perfect” person.  Clearly that is an unrealistic goal.  They are screening for a woman who ideally demonstrates characteristics such as empathy, responsibility, dependability, and stability in relationships, academics, pursuits employment history and parenting.  Where a woman can show that she takes care of herself and copes when challenges have come up by seeking outside support, there is evidence through discussion that she has proven resilience and can overcome mistakes or adversity and grow from these experiences. 

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Recommended criteria to be satisfied before being interviewed: 


    • She has given birth and has or is raising that child. 
    • She has self-reported that her pregnancies were uncomplicated 
    • She should be between the ages 21-42 (exceptions may be made by a medical professional on the upper age limit).  However, because of the risks involved in carrying a pregnancy, it is recommended that she be at least 25 years old.  Special attention needs to be made if the surrogate is younger than 25 years old. 
    • Weight – ultimately this is a medical decision, but the counselor should pay attention to her weight and where necessary open a discussion. 
    • Self-reports that she has a good health history.  Prior social diseases, cancer, significant medications, hepatitis, etc., should be discussed as a potential to being denied medical clearance. 
    • The counselors should have knowledge of the laws of the location where the surrogacy will take place.  If the arrangement is illegal in that location, the surrogate should be informed, and the counselor should decline to continue her screening.  If the intended parents’ names appear on the birth certificate, the surrogate should be informed.  If the surrogate’s name must appear on the birth certificate, even briefly, she needs to be informed and a discussion should occur. 
    • Surrogate indicates she has support from her spouse or significant other and family. 
    • She must be a non-smoker for at least one year. 
    • She indicates that she has no criminal history or if she has one, it should be discussed. 
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