Surrogate screening and surrogates’ motivations in the USA
The women who become surrogates in the US have a range of differing motivations, although there are some common themes. The screening and preparation process undertaken by surrogacy agencies and mental health professionals is key to understanding those motivations and making sure everyone is safe, protected and well matched.
How much are US surrogates paid and how important is the money?
Surrogacy in the US is compensated, with surrogates receiving anything from $30,000 up to $90,000+ (usually with some out of pocket expenses paid in addition). The range depends on the particular agency, the location of the surrogate (with higher compensation in more popular surrogacy states, such as California), and whether the surrogate has been a surrogate before (with experienced surrogates commanding higher compensation).
Compensation is an expected part of the process in the US and it helps to attract potential surrogates. Some are looking to provide security to their own family, for example by paying off student debt or paying for a deposit on a home. However, money is never the only driving factor in the decision to become a surrogate, and this is something that reputable surrogacy agencies assess as part of their screening process. In practice, surrogacy is a long and demanding journey, which means that the women who commit to becoming surrogates in the US need to also be motivated by altruism and a desire to help others.
What else motivates women to become US surrogates?
There are many reasons why women come forward as surrogates in the US, and each case is uniquely personal. It is common for surrogates to do repeat journeys, so some women volunteer because they enjoyed the experience of surrogacy and are excited to do it again. Many love, not just having an impact on their intended parents, but on the intended parents’ wider families, knowing they are helping to create, not just parents, but also grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Others have struggled with their own fertility, or identify as LGBT+, and want to help others in a similar situation. Some have watched a friend or family member have issues with trying to conceive naturally. Some have completed their own families and simply enjoyed being pregnant.
Here are some words from real US surrogates who have worked with UK intended parents we have helped:
“The happiness that my last surrogacy brought not just to the intended parents’ family, but to my own family as well, is indescribable.”
“The most rewarding aspect of surrogacy is seeing the happiness that I help to bring to another family.”
“I was inspired by my sister-in-law’s long journey and struggles through IVF. After many years of trying, she and my brother-in-law were blessed with their baby girl. I am fortunate enough to be in a position to help others and I wanted to do just that.”
“I would love to be able to give someone the gift of a child to complete or start their family”.
“Helping someone have a family seems like the greatest gift of all time.”
How surrogates are screened in the USA
Experienced US surrogacy agencies and fertility clinics play an important role in determining who can become a US surrogate. They apply rigorous screening processes for all potential surrogates by exploring their suitability, motivations, and ensuring they are making an informed decision. For intended parents, this gives a strong layer of protection, as well as reassurance that any surrogate they are matched with will be able to carry their child safely, that there are no ethical concerns, and that their surrogate is fully committed to the journey ahead. Surrogate screening in the US typically includes:
- Providing full information on the surrogacy process to facilitate informed decisions,
- A psychological evaluation to explore the surrogate’s motivations, mental health history and to exclude any risk of vulnerability or duress,
- Detailed health screening,
- Thorough background checks (including criminal records and financial checks for bankruptcy),
- Evidence of stable income and/or excluding women who are receiving state benefits,
- Similar checks of the surrogate’s partner, and
- A virtual or in person home visit to check the surrogate’s living situation.
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