When you choose to become a gestational surrogate, you provide an incredible gift to hopeful parents, and your journey will likely be one of the most profound and rewarding experiences you’ll ever have.
Of course, there are many requirements and responsibilities that come with being a part of this process. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) sets forth guidelines which they believe should determine the eligibility of surrogates. Most surrogacy agencies and fertility clinics follow the ASRM guidelines before approving a surrogate (some agencies and clinics have even stricter requirements). In addition to the ASRM guidelines, surrogacy agencies also approve surrogates based on the preferences of recommendations of the doctors they partner with.
Here are the typical requirements for becoming a gestational surrogate, as well as some factors that might disqualify you.
Qualifications for becoming a surrogate mother
- You must have had one or more easy pregnancies and deliveries.
- You must be between the ages of 21 and 40.
- You must have at least one child of your own living with you.
- You must be a non-smoker.
- You must have reliable transportation.
- You must be financially stable.
- You must have a good support system.
- You must have a desire to help another in a special way.
Things that may disqualify you from becoming a surrogate
Again, requirements vary from agency to agency, but the following factors will likely disqualify you from being a surrogate:
Never having given birth in the past
Most clinics require surrogates to have carried to term at least one child who they are currently raising. This enables clinics to review potential surrogates’ prenatal and delivery records and confirm that there were no health complications for the surrogate or her children. If there were issues in past pregnancies or deliveries, this can indicate that similar problems may occur with subsequent pregnancies.
Clinics also want to ensure that potential surrogates know what to expect for the most part and will be better prepared for the challenges of pregnancy.
Body mass index (BMI)
While weight is certainly not the only indicator of good health, it can affect the success of your pregnancy. For this reason, every prospective surrogate must have a healthy BMI in order to be approved. Generally, surrogacy professionals will set BMI requirements between 19 and 30. A pre-pregnancy BMI outside this range can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy.
Number of pregnancies
A high number of past pregnancies can increase the risk of complications in subsequent pregnancies. To help protect the health of the surrogate and the child, many surrogacy agencies set a cap on the number of previous pregnancies.
A history of preeclampsia
Preeclampsia can lead to high blood pressure, kidney damage, and other health problems that can be very dangerous (and even life-threatening) to you and the baby you’re carrying. If you’ve had preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy, you’re more likely to experience it again in subsequent pregnancies. This will likely disqualify you from becoming a surrogate.
Number of previous C-sections
Having had a C-section will NOT automatically disqualify you from becoming a surrogate. However, you will need to talk to your doctor about your past C-sections to determine the potential impacts they may have on surrogacy.
Exclusive breastfeeding can temporarily delay your fertility postpartum. If you want to become a surrogate, you will have to stop breastfeeding and resume your regular menstrual cycle.
No support system
Having a surrogate support system is absolutely essential for a successful journey. Pregnancy is taxing under any circumstance, but as a surrogate mother, you’ll also be navigating fertility treatments, additional doctor’s appointments, and a natural range of emotions. Before you begin your journey, make sure you have family and friends who are ready and willing to step in as needed.
As a reminder, requirements vary from agency to agency, and your application process will determine whether surrogacy is the right fit for you. We highly recommend speaking to your personal doctor, fertility clinic, and surrogacy agency about any health conditions you have and how they may impact your ability to carry a health pregnancy to term.
Learn More About Becoming a Surrogate with Surrogate Parenting Services
Surrogate Parenting Services is proud to celebrate 30 Years of helping to bring dreams to life! Founded in 1990, Surrogate Parenting Services (SPS) is a full-service surrogacy program that offers both parties an exceptionally supportive environment throughout the surrogacy relationship. We’re passionate about creating ideal matches between surrogates and intended parents, so the journey is fulfilling for both sides and the future child is brought into this world in the best possible circumstances.
Learn more about our Surrogacy Program online or by calling (949) 363-9525.