Because surrogacy is such a complex process there are a number of surrogate mother requirements you will need to meet before you can embark on this beautiful journey.
By choosing to become a gestational carrier, you are making the meaningful decision to give a hopeful couple the gift of a child. The surrogacy process has a lot of twists and turns but the destination is well worth it in the end. The intended parent(s) will have the child they have waited so long for, and you can take pride and satisfaction in knowing that you were the catalyst for making their dream a reality.
Not everyone has what it takes to become a surrogate. Being a gestational carrier is a time commitment that comes with physical challenges and complex emotions. This is why agencies have certain surrogate requirements in place to confirm that all gestational carrier candidates are emotionally, physically and mentally prepared for everything that comes with the surrogacy process. This ensures a smoother experience for you and gives the intended parents peace of mind.
So, what are the requirements to become a surrogate? While surrogate requirements will vary depending on the agency you work with, there are typically five stages these requirements can be broken into. Always be sure to research your chosen surrogacy professional’s requirements, but in the meantime, you can continue reading below to learn more about the requirements to become a surrogate mother.
1. The Application
No matter what surrogacy agency you work with, you will need to fill out an application before you can become a surrogate. This application will ask you a series of preliminary questions to determine if you meet the basic requirements before you can advance further in the surrogacy process. Your surrogacy professional will be able to walk you through the application and answer any questions you may have.
A few of the basic requirements for being a surrogate you will likely need to meet are:
- Being within the agency’s preferred age range
- Being within the agency’s preferred body mass index (BMI)
- No smoking or substance abuse
- You are currently raising child
- You have no felony convictions
- You have not been on antidepressants for 12 months
- No complications in your previous pregnancies
- Have had a pap smear in the last year
Always check with your chosen surrogacy professional about their set of gestational surrogate requirements.
2. Complete a Medical History Form
Once your application has been approved, you will be able to move on to stage two: filling out a medical history form. This is one of the most important requirements to be a gestational surrogate These forms will ask you questions about the medical background of you and your family to verify that you are physically capable of having a safe and healthy pregnancy and that there is no risk to you or the baby. You will also likely be asked to sign a medical release that grants the agency access to your medical records and documentation of your past pregnancies. Some agencies may even ask for a letter of recommendation from your OB/GYN confirming that you are a viable candidate for surrogacy.
3. A Preliminary Home Visit
You will need to complete an in-home assessment before you can move forward with the surrogacy process. Your surrogacy professional will arrange for a licensed social worker to visit your home to perform this step. During this visit, the social worker will interview each member in the home about why you want to be a surrogate, any questions or concerns you have and how your partner (if applicable) will be supporting you through your surrogacy. You will also likely be asked to complete state and federal background checks.
4. Psychological Evaluation
While meeting all of the physical surrogate requirements is integral to a successful surrogacy process, ensuring that you’re mentally and emotionally prepared for the ups and downs and of surrogacy is just as important. While you are eager and motivated by the desire to make a person or family’s dream come true, surrogacy does have its emotional challenges.
Surrogacy is a time commitment that you can expect to dedicate up to a year of your life. Having to alter your schedule and your lifestyle to accommodate this pregnancy can be a lot to process. Between attending doctor’s appointments before and during your pregnancy and going to meetings with your attorney and surrogacy professional, being a gestational carrier will occupy a lot of your time. It’s important that you are mentally prepared for the additional responsibility that surrogacy will add to your everyday life.
Your surrogacy professional will ask you and your significant other to undergo psychological testing to get an idea of where you’re at mentally and emotionally. The psychological evaluation will consist of a general questionnaire about your mental health, how you plan to approach any potential challenges of the surrogacy process and how you imagine you will feel once the surrogacy process is over. Your surrogacy professional will also sit down with you to prepare you for any potential emotional challenges and answer any questions you might have.
5. Medical Evaluation
The final stop before the pregnancy portion of your surrogacy journey will be your medical evaluation. This evaluation is an integral surrogate mother requirement. This will likely take place at the fertility clinic that the intended parents will be working with. This is just an additional confirmation that you are physically healthy enough to sustain a pregnancy before entering into the legal stage of the surrogacy process. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) typically asks that surrogacy professionals screen for the following:
- A physical and saline infusion sonohysterography
- Blood and urine test
- Letter from your physician that confirms you are able to safely conceive and carry a child
All the requirements to be a surrogate mother exist to ensure a positive and successful surrogacy process for everyone involved. If you have questions about any of the surrogate requirements, reach out to a surrogacy professional today.