You’ve signed on as a Client – Now what?
Once you sign with CFC and your initial payment is received, we immediately begin the search for your special Gestational Surrogate. We are constantly placing professional ads in various online classifieds and forums. Additionally, we are always receiving applicants from personal referrals, our website, Facebook, and various online surrogacy communities. These applicants form an ever-evolving pool of candidates that we screen and consider for all of our Intended Parents. Of course, we would only consider matching you to those candidates who match your preferences and requirements, and who also pass our stringent pre-screening process. In fact, the majority of applicants will be rejected during our initial screening, but new applicants are being considered each and every day. For this reason, the stream of candidates is regularly evolving and frequently changing, but overall numbers of viable candidates per month tend to remain on a similar track.
You can trust that we are always working to find you the perfect Gestational Surrogate. We want to present you with someone that is perfect for YOU, after we have done all of our due diligence: after we have received clearance from your IVF Center as to her written application and OB form; after we have completed two to three extensive reference interviews; and after we have completed an in-home interview. Then, when our team agrees that the candidate and you are the perfect match, we will present her to you.
Much time and thought go into our process – which no doubt also explains why such a vast proportion of our pre-screened candidates go on to pass their medical and psych screening. We are told that many of the IVF Centers’ success rates are higher when embryos are transferred to our Gestational Surrogates.
Dear Surrogate Letter
While we concentrate on finding your perfect match, we will ask that you turn your attention to writing what we call your “Dear Surrogate” letter. This letter will eventually go to the woman you hope to be matched with – but for now, we will hold onto it for you. In your letter, be warm, be personal, be open – but most of all, be yourself! Talk about your family, your hobbies, your support system, and let her know a bit about what led you down the road to surrogacy. It’s also great to talk about any children in your life, your relationship with them, and what it will be like for a child to grow up in your family. Most “Dear Surrogate” letters are about a page and a half in length.
A sample “Dear Surrogate” letter will be provided to you for reference after you sign with CFC.
As initial ad responses pour in, candidates are directed to a our short automated Pre-screening Application that analyzes applicants based on initial qualifying factors. The Pre-screening Application evaluates incoming candidates on the basis of state of residence, pregnancy history, age, height/weight, basic medical and mental health history, and financial stability. Those who are qualified will then go on to receive our full application.
The full CFC Application for Gestational Surrogacy goes into great detail about the candidate’s life, her medical history, her family, her education, and her views on pregnancy and surrogacy in general. We pay special attention to the “hard pregnancy questions” – which are those issues surrounding termination for genetic abnormalities or for Down Syndrome and for selective reduction. Such questions are a vital part of the matching process, and we will only match you with a candidate who completely defers to your right to make the “tough decisions” for your own family.
CFC Doctor’s Form and GC Medical Records
When a candidate qualifies to receive our full application, we immediately ask her to request her full pregnancy and delivery records. At the same time, we send her our “Doctor’s Form.” This is a short form that the candidate will send to the OB who handled her prior pregnancies, and can typically be received much sooner than her full medical records. In addition to asking for her pregnancy medical history, it asks her OB for the doctor’s subjective opinion on her suitability as a Gestational Surrogate candidate. It asks whether she kept her appointments and followed patient protocols, and whether there are any medical risk factors that the doctor is aware of that could impact a future pregnancy. This form is sent directly to us from the doctor, and is strictly an extra and early indicator to provide another layer of comfort to you as the Intended Parents as we screen candidates and await full medical records. All candidates will be subject to a thorough medical review by your selected IVF Center and psychologist as part of the full screening process prior to a GC Contract being signed.
Once we have determined that a candidate “looks good on paper” — that is, her application and Doctor’s Form have been received and preliminarily approved by your clinic — we move on to our active internal screening. At this stage, we will be having ongoing conversations with the candidate, answering any questions she may have, and we will begin making reference calls. We ask every candidate to provide us with two to three references with whom she has discussed her plans to pursue surrogacy: 1) A close family member 2) A close personal friend of 3 or more years and/or 3) A professional reference. We will ask all of the “usual” questions you might expect from a reference check, however, we also talk to the points specific to surrogacy – ie, we ask about her support system, her home environment, and her reasons for pursuing this opportunity. The final question we ask each reference is, “If you were unable to carry a pregnancy yourself, and wished to pursue surrogacy in order to have a child, is this the woman you would want to carry your baby for you?” It is imperative that this answer is an enthusiastic “YES” from all three references, with solid reasons to support their answer.
The final step in the CFC pre-approval process is an in-home visit. This is our opportunity to meet with the candidate, in the home environment where your baby will living “in utero” for nine months. We take this opportunity to ensure that the neighborhood and the home are safe and inviting. We interview the candidate and any other adults living in the home in order to revisit the application questions and evaluate the candidate’s support network. The over-riding question we ask ourselves during the in-home visit is, “Would I feel happy with this person carrying my baby in this environment throughout this process?” If we can say yes, then the in-home has been a success. We will write up a report (including photographs) on our findings and include it in the candidate’s file.