Requirements for <br> Surrogate Mothers

Requirements for
Surrogate Mothers

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Are You Ready to Take the Next Step?

American Surrogacy’s number one priority is the safety of you and the child, which is why we ask our surrogates to meet several requirements to protect everyone involved.

Our initial requirement is that prospective gestational surrogates are ready for and committed to surrogacy. If you are unsure about surrogacy, or if you believe it may be difficult to not parent a child whom you delivered, surrogacy may not be right for you at this time in your life.

If you do believe you are ready for surrogacy, however, we ask that you meet the following additional requirements:

  • Age range 21–38

  • BMI of 19–32 (learn your BMI)

  • No smoking or illicit drug use 

  • At least one successful pregnancy, but no more than five vaginal births and no more than four Cesarean births

  • Six months need to pass since last vaginal or cesarean birth

  • Currently raising a child

  • No major complications from previous pregnancies

  • Pap smear completed within one year

  • Not receiving state assistance

  • Ability to travel as needed for surrogacy appointments

  • No felony convictions

  • No tattoos or piercings in the last six months

  • Cannot be on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication for 12 months

  • No untreated addiction, abuse (child, sexual or physical), depression, eating disorders or traumatic pregnancy, labor and/or delivery

*Some exceptions may be considered; contact us for more information

Screening Process for Surrogates

If you meet our requirements for surrogacy and are ready to take the next step, you may begin the surrogate screening process. This process will ensure you are physically and psychologically prepared to carry a baby to term for another family.

1. Initial Application

The first step is to complete our initial application for surrogates.

This application will ensure you meet the aforementioned requirements for surrogacy. A surrogacy specialist will review your application and will be in touch with you within 24 hours.

 

2. Surrogate Social and Medical History Form

Once your initial application has been processed and approved, you will receive the surrogate social and medical history forms. These self-disclosed forms ask a variety of questions, including those about you and your family’s medical backgrounds, to ensure you are medically viable as a candidate for surrogacy.

During this stage, we will also request:

  • your insurance card and policy manual in a PDF

  • a copy of your driver’s license

  • signed medical release for us to access your medical records from past pregnancies and deliveries

  • a letter from your OB/GYN recommending you as a surrogate

3. In-Home Assessment

A licensed social worker will visit your home and will sit down individually with you and each adult living with you. She or he will ask you various questions regarding surrogacy, including:

During this stage, American Surrogacy will also begin running the following checks on you and your spouse:

  • general background checks

  • criminal background checks

  • child abuse background checks

  • social media checks

4. Mental Health and Psychosocial Evaluation

We will ask you and your significant other to visit with a licensed psychologist for psychological testing to talk to you about various topics, including:

  • Personality testing

  • The “what-ifs” that could happen during the process

  • How you might feel when giving the baby to the intended parents after delivery

 

5. Medical Evaluation

Finally, you will visit the intended parents’ fertility clinic to perform one final confirmation that you are indeed physically ready for embryo transfer and pregnancy. At this point in the surrogacy process, you will already be matched with intended parents — this is the final step of the screening process before you can enter into a legal contract with them.

American Surrogacy is required to screen prospective surrogates by the standards and recommendations of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), which include:

  • Review of personal and sexual history

  • Physical exam to include Saline Infusion Sonohysterography (SIS)

  • Lab testing – blood and urine test

  • Letter from physician stating you passed the screening and are capable of carrying a baby to term (this will be collected early in the process with your medical history form)

Once this final step of our screening process is completed, you are then ready to complete the legal contracts and begin preparing for the embryo transfer!

If you are ready to begin this screening process, please contact us today.

Common Questions about Surrogate Screening and Requirements

Our priority is to ensure you and the baby you carry are safe and healthy throughout the surrogacy process. That’s why every woman we work with must meet a number of health requirements to be a surrogate mother.

Ultimately, it will be up to the fertility clinic to determine whether a woman satisfies all of the necessary surrogate health requirements, and many factors are considered on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, it will be up to prospective intended parents to determine what they’re comfortable having in their surrogate’s medical history, so keep in mind that while certain conditions may not disqualify you from surrogacy, they may increase your wait time to be matched with intended parents.

Here, find answers to common questions about the health requirements to be a surrogate mother.

How old can a surrogate be? Why is there an age limit to being a surrogate?

With American Surrogacy, the surrogate mother age limit is 21–38 years.  Age restrictions for surrogacy are based on IVF clinic requirements, and the upper surrogacy age limit of 35 helps limit health risks to the surrogate and baby.

To learn more about surrogate mother age requirements, feel free to contact a surrogacy specialist at 1-800-875-BABY.

Can I be a teen surrogate? Can you be a surrogate at 18?

Many women contact us saying, “I’m 18 and I want to be a surrogate. Why can’t I pursue surrogacy?” The goal of our surrogate screening requirements is to ensure that the process is safe for you and the baby. While we admire your interest in becoming a surrogate at 18, we require our surrogates to be between 21–38 years old, as this is considered the ideal age to carry a pregnancy.

However, just because you are not currently eligible for our surrogacy program, that doesn’t mean your status won’t change within the next few years. If you are interested in pursuing surrogacy once you turn 21, keep in touch with American Surrogacy and learn how you can prepare yourself for the surrogacy process.  

Can you be a surrogate after having your tubes tied? 

You certainly can become a surrogate mother after tubal litigation, or “having your tubes tied.” Because your eggs are not used in the gestational surrogacy process, surrogacy after tubal litigation is entirely possible and even preferable in some cases — it means there is no chance that you will become pregnant with your own child during the surrogacy process. 

Can I be a surrogate if I have HPV?

Depending on your individual circumstances, it may be possible to be a surrogate with HPV. In most cases, HPV will not affect a developing baby. You may speak with a surrogacy specialist or your doctor for more information.

Can you be a surrogate mother with herpes? 

Genital herpes may not disqualify a woman from being a surrogate. However, it may increase a surrogate’s wait time to be matched with intended parents, and she may need to have a cesarean section if she experiences an outbreak close to the delivery.

Is it possible to be an HIV-positive surrogate mother? 

Because of the risk of transfer to the baby, you cannot be a surrogate mother with HIV.

Can you be a surrogate after preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication that can pose serious risks to you and the baby. A history of preeclampsia would likely disqualify you from surrogacy, but you may speak with your doctor for more information. 

Can you be a surrogate after ablation?

Endometrial ablation is a procedure that destroys the uterine lining to treat abnormal bleeding. This procedure usually causes sterility, but in the unlikely event that a woman can become pregnant after ablation, it can lead to severe problems during pregnancy. Because of the risk of complications, you cannot become a surrogate after ablation.

Can I pursue surrogacy with endometriosis?

Endometriosis can reduce the chance of conception and increase the risk of miscarriage. Because of these challenges, a fertility clinic would likely disqualify you from pursuing surrogacy, though this may vary depending on the severity of your condition.

Can you still be a surrogate after menopause? 

While there have been some cases of a woman successfully serving as a surrogate mother after menopause, there are additional health risks to older surrogate mothers and the babies they carry.  To protect your health and the health of the baby, you need to be 35 or younger to work with American Surrogacy.

What pregnancy conditions disqualify you from surrogacy? 

In general, fertility clinics require that your previous pregnancies be free of any major complications in order for you to be a surrogate. This includes preterm labor, preeclampsia, and other issues that require significant medical intervention. You may ask your doctor whether you would be a good candidate for surrogacy based on your individual circumstances.

How many times can you be a surrogate? 

According to the guidelines established by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), a surrogate should have no more than five vaginal deliveries or four caesarean deliveries.

I just had a baby. How long should I wait to become a surrogate? 

American Surrogacy recommends that you wait six months after your last vaginal birth or 12 months after your last cesarean delivery before becoming a surrogate. However, you may be able to apply and complete some initial screening requirements before that time. Contact a surrogacy specialist for more information.

I’m breastfeeding. Can I be a surrogate

Breastfeeding induces the production of certain hormones which cause a lack of ovulation and periods. Because doctors will need to synchronize and control your cycle as a surrogate, you will need to stop breastfeeding and resume your regular menstrual cycle before you can begin medical surrogacy procedures. However, you can still apply for surrogacy and begin initial screening requirements before you have completely weaned.

Can I be a surrogate if I’ve never been pregnant? 

You cannot pursue surrogacy without previous pregnancy. One of the most important requirements of surrogacy is to have at least one successful prior pregnancy and be currently raising your child(ren). You need to fully understand all of the physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy and labor before carrying a baby for someone else.

Additionally, your fertility clinic will review your previous birth records as part of the screening process to ensure you are healthy enough for surrogacy. If a surrogate mother has never been pregnant, it will be difficult for her doctor to determine whether surrogacy is a safe option for her.

Is there a weight requirement to be a surrogate? 

There is no specific requirement regarding the weight of the surrogate; however, her weight does have to be proportional to her height, as determined by her Body Mass Index (BMI). With American Surrogacy, the required BMI to be a surrogate is 19–32.

Ensuring the surrogate is at a healthy weight helps ensure successful conception and pregnancy and reduces the risk of complications.

Can someone with a history of postpartum depression be a surrogate?

It depends. Your emotional well-being is just as important as your physical health during and after the surrogacy process. You will undergo a psychological evaluation during the surrogate medical screening process to ensure you are emotionally healthy enough for surrogacy. If your depression has been treated successfully, you will likely be eligible to become a gestational carrier.

Can I still be a surrogate if I have used anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications in the past? 

Yes. You will need to discontinue the medication at least 12 months prior to beginning the surrogacy process.

Do I need to have health insurance that will cover surrogacy? 

No. If your insurance plan does not cover surrogacy, it will be up to the intended parents to purchase the necessary coverage. 

I just got a new tattoo. Can I be a surrogate? 

You can be a surrogate after getting a new tattoo, but there will be a temporary delay in the process. You need to wait six months after getting a tattoo and be screened for infectious diseases before you will be approved for surrogacy. However, you may be able to begin the application and screening process prior to that time.

Can someone with sickle cell be a surrogate? 

Sickle cell disease can increase the risk of miscarriage, preterm labor, and low birth weight. Because of these and other serious risks, it is not safe for a woman with sickle cell disease to become a surrogate.

Can you be a surrogate with diabetes? 

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes present serious risks to pregnant mothers because it may be more difficult to control blood glucose levels during pregnancy. Because of the increased risks to your health, you should not pursue surrogacy with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

However, a history of gestational diabetes may not necessarily disqualify you from surrogacy. You should speak with your fertility clinic for more information in your individual circumstances. 

Can I become a surrogate with PCOS?

PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, will not automatically disqualify you from becoming a surrogate. If you are considering being a surrogate with PCOS, your doctor will carefully monitor your sugar control to ensure you are ready for a surrogate pregnancy.  

Can I become a surrogate with hypothyroidism?

It is possible to be a surrogate with hypothyroidism; you will just need to submit medical records from your thyroid specialist and be monitored closely throughout the process.