If you want to know how to become a surrogate in South Carolina, you’ve come to the right place. Attorney Jim Thompson can explain to you all the steps involved in becoming a gestational surrogate carrier and help you complete them today.
Surrogacy is a complicated process, and you should know exactly what to expect before you become a gestational carrier in South Carolina. Remember, you can learn more about how to become a surrogate mother by visiting attorney Jim Thompson’s website, www.JamesFletcherThompson.com, or contacting our office at 864-573-5533. Below we have described some of the basics you need to know about the processes involved in becoming a gestational surrogate.
The First Step: Screening
The first step toward becoming a gestational surrogate is passing all the screening requirements of your chosen surrogacy professional. Whether you choose to work independently and match with a family on your own, or work with a surrogacy program or agency to complete your surrogacy journey, there will be certain screening requirements you have to meet as a prospective surrogate.
If you’re looking at how to become a surrogate in South Carolina, you will have to pass certain medical and psychological screenings. These are designed to reduce the risks of a surrogate pregnancy, both to the prospective surrogate and the baby, and to make sure you’re 100 percent ready for the surrogacy journey ahead of you.
These screening requirements may vary slightly by professional, but when you work with the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson, some of the initial requirements for surrogates include:
- Being between the ages of 21 and 38 years (over 38 may be considered if had a recent pregnancy)
- Having given birth to a child that you are raising
- Being financially stable and not on any form of government assistance
- Having a healthy pregnancy history and lifestyle
- Being smoke- and drug-free
- Being a US Citizen (or permanent resident) and speaking English fluently
- Having a vehicle and valid driver’s license
- Residing in South Carolina (or within a one-hour drive of the S.C. border)
Besides completing a full medical screening, most fertility clinics require that the surrogate has no history of postpartum depression and is not using antidepressants or anti-anxiety medicine, has waited at least 12 months since her last tattoo or piercing before beginning the surrogacy process, has no significant criminal history, can travel as needed for appointments, and has a stable lifestyle and support system.
If you meet these requirements for being a gestational surrogate, you can fill out our preliminary questionnaire here. Once you submit your application, if you meet the preliminary requirements, you will receive an e-mailed link to a more comprehensive questionnaire. Here is a summary of the screening process:
- Completion of Comprehensive Questionnaire: You’ll need to submit detailed information about you and your family, including providing detailed information regarding your social and health history.
- Interview: Once your questionnaire has been reviewed, we will schedule a phone interview to discuss your surrogate questionnaire, as well as answer questions regarding our Gestational Carrier Program.
- Background Check Authorizations: After the interview, we will forward for background checks for each adult living in your home. We run background checks on the adult members of both the prospective surrogate’s household, as well as for the intended parents’ household.
- A home visit with a social worker: One of our social workers will visit your home to speak with you and your family about your goals and motivations for pursuing surrogacy. She’ll also further explain what the surrogacy process will look like for you. This social worker will become one of your case managers after you are matched with intended parents, and she’ll be available to you throughout the process.
While the screening requirements for becoming a gestational surrogate may seem extensive, they’re critical in making sure you are truly ready to pursue surrogacy. If you meet all of these requirements, then you likely will be a great surrogate — but there are some more steps involved in successfully being a gestational surrogate beyond the preliminary screening.
The Second Step: Matching
Once you have completed the preliminary screening process, we will begin the matching process. We will present you with a profile for prospective intended parents who match your preferences, and you also match what they are looking for in a prospective gestational carrier. If you agree that the prospective intended parents look like a good match for you, we will schedule a match meeting in either our Spartanburg or Charleston, South Carolina, offices. It is after that meeting when the prospective gestational surrogate and the intended parents decide whether to enter into a match and begin the surrogacy journey together.
The Third Step: The Medical and Psychological Screening
Once matched, your medical records will be forwarded to the intended parents’ reproductive endocrinologist for review. If the physician approves those records, then they will schedule the thorough medical screening, as well as medical consult to advise you of the medical risks associated with gestational surrogacy.
Surrogacy can be a stressful and emotional process, so you should speak with a mental health care professional to make sure you understand what you’re committing to and are prepared for the challenges that may arise during your surrogacy. At the same time that you are undergoing the medical screening process, you and the intended parents will be undergoing the psychological clearance process.
This is a three-step process. You and your spouse, if married, will meet with the psychologist separately. You will undergo either an MMPI or PAI assessment, as well as a counseling session. The intended parents will also meet with the psychologist on their own. After the individual sessions are completed, the psychologist will schedule a group session with the intended parents, gestational surrogate, and her spouse, if applicable.
The Fourth Step: The Legal Process
After medical and psychological screening is completed, you and the intended parents will consult with your respective attorneys regarding the proposed gestational surrogacy contract. Your attorney will advise you regarding the legalities involved in a gestational surrogacy in South Carolina.
While attorney Jim Thompson does not represent surrogates who are matched through the law firm’s Gestational Carrier Program (he represents the intended parents), you will be referred to another experienced surrogacy lawyer who will represent your interests in the negotiation of proposed contract, which usually covers:
- Compensation and expense reimbursements
- Your responsibilities as a surrogate and the expectations you have for the intended parents
- The intended parents responsibilities and expectations
- The legal process for establishing the intended parents’ parental rights
- And more
Your attorney and Jim Thompson will negotiate this contract until both parties are satisfied. Only after this is complete can the surrogacy process continue, as this is a necessary step to make sure that you and the intended parents know what to expect from the rest of your surrogacy journey.
After the legal process is complete and you understand the risks and responsibilities involved with becoming a gestational surrogate, you can move forward with the next step of the surrogacy process — becoming pregnant with the intended parents’ child.
As you’re discovering how to become a surrogate mother in South Carolina, you may be overwhelmed at first by all the different steps and processes involved. That’s why attorney Jim Thompson and his experienced staff are here — to help guide all parties through the surrogacy journey.
To learn more about how to be a surrogate mother in South Carolina, please contact our offices today.