For many women, surrogacy is a lifelong dream. They don’t want anything to stand in their way of helping intended parents have the family of their dreams. Because of this, a common question we get is “Am I eligible to be a surrogate mother?”
Deciding to be a surrogate means you can change someone’s life. You’ll be giving a hopeful individual or couple the chance to have a biological child of their own. Most intended parents have struggled with infertility, want to become a single parent or are LGBT couples. Whatever journey has brought them to surrogacy, you are the catalyst for them having the family they’ve always wanted. If you’re new to the process, you might not be familiar with the requirements to be a surrogate. You might be asking “Can I be a surrogate mother?”
If you’re ready to begin your surrogacy journey or have questions about what it takes to become a gestational carrier, reach out to a surrogacy professional today.
Screening for Surrogate Eligibility
If you’re looking for answers to whether or not you’re able to become a surrogate, a good place to start is by researching the surrogacy requirements. Every surrogacy agency’s requirements may vary slightly, so be sure to check with your chosen surrogacy professional to verify their specific requirements. No matter which agency you work with, you will go through a screening process to confirm that you are physically, mentally and emotionally prepared for the surrogacy journey.
Most surrogacy requirements are based on information and regulations put in place by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The requirements include:
- Be within 21-45 years of age (or your agency’s specific age range)
- Have a healthy BMI
- No smoking or drug use
- Have at least one previous successful pregnancy
- Have no felony convictions
- Be STD free for at least 12 months
- Be off antidepressants for at least 12 months before pregnancy
- Wait at least 12 months since last tattoo or piercing before beginning surrogacy
If you meet all of the preliminary requirements to become a surrogate, you will be able to move forward in the surrogacy process. The next steps of your journey are:
- Fill out an application: Before you can do anything else, your application must be approved. The application will ask general questions about yourself and why you want to be a surrogate. Once you’ve submitted the application, you will be contacted by a surrogacy professional to get more information.
- Submit your medical information: When you’re starting your surrogacy process, you will be asked to go into detail about your medical history. Your surrogacy professional will also likely ask you to present documentation of your previous pregnancies and deliveries and a letter of recommendation from your doctor stating that you are a good candidate for surrogacy.
- Complete a medical assessment: You will need to meet with the fertility clinic that the intended parents have chosen. You will undergo a series of tests to ensure that you are physically able to sustain a safe and healthy pregnancy.
- Receive ann in-home assessment: Your surrogacy professional will arrange for a licensed social worker to visit your home to perform this assessment. You also need to submit a federal and state background check.
- Complete a psychological evaluation: In addition to the responsibilities of being a surrogate, the hormones that accompany IVF and pregnancy, surrogacy can be an emotional experience. Being in a stable and positive headspace when you begin your surrogacy journey can set the tone for the rest of the process. Your surrogacy professional will organize a mental screening where you will be asked about why you are choosing to become a surrogate, as well as other questions about your attitude toward surrogacy.
Medical Requirements for Surrogates
Your health and safety are a top priority during your surrogacy process. You will undergo a thorough medical screening process, and your health will be closely monitored from the time you start the process until the baby is born. Your doctor will administer fertility tests and medications to make sure your body can safely sustain a pregnancy to term.
The medical requirements for surrogates can be thought of in several stages:
- Medical screening: 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. They will also run a series of tests to check for STDs and make sure you will be able to become pregnant and carry a baby to term.
- Fertility treatments: Once you have been medically cleared and you and the intended parents have signed the legal contracts, you’ll begin preparing to become a gestational carrier through fertility treatments and injections. These drugs will help regulate your hormones and cycle so that your body will be ready for the embryo transfer.
- Embryo transfer: This is one of the biggest steps for everyone involved in the surrogacy process. During the embryo transfer, the intended mother’s egg or an egg from a donor will be fertilized with the intended father’s or a donor’s sperm. The embryo will be allowed to incubate for a short period of time before it is transferred to your uterus. This is a quick procedure that doesn’t require anesthesia. You will likely be asked to stay at the clinic for a few hours for observation before you can return home.
- Prenatal care: Prenatal care is incredibly important to ensuring the safety of you and your baby throughout your pregnancy. This prenatal care will come in the form of blood tests, ultrasounds and frequent checkups to make sure you and the baby are healthy.
If you’re wondering who can be a candidate to be a surrogate mother, or if you have questions about any of the surrogate requirements, reach out to a surrogacy professional today.