Surrogate Disq1ualifications: How do I know if I Am a Good candidate for surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a journey that many intended parents decide to embark on every year. Surrogates might have many reasons for wanting to help intended parents on this journey, but those dreams sometimes never become a reality. Some things will disqualify a potential surrogate from taking this journey. Some of those things can be changed and controlled by the surrogate, while many are out of her control.
Let’s take a look at what those standards are and why not meeting them can cause a surrogate to be disqualified.
Most agencies require that potential surrogates are at least twenty-one; however, some may require a different age. Made in the USA Surrogacy notes that intended surrogates be at least 23 years old. They also stop allowing surrogates at 38. The upper reach is also different for many agencies. For example, in contrast to Made in the USA Surrogacy, My Surrogate Mom, a website dedicated to surrogates seeking to start their journeys but not associated with an agency, indicates that a woman can potentially become a carry a child for a couple until age 45. While these age requirements change by agency, the general consensus is to be an adult female within typical childbearing years, and the IVF clinic will always have the final word on whether or not the woman is a suitable surrogate.
Previous Pregnancy Status
Agencies are adamant that a surrogate has at least one uneventful pregnancy in her medical history. Some potential surrogates may question this practice, but there is a logical explanation for requiring women to have had a previous successful pregnancy. The main reason that agencies require previous pregnancies is that some women never experience successful pregnancies. Without a previous pregnancy, a potential surrogate may not know she is unable to successfully carry a child to term. Another reason is to make sure that a woman is psychologically prepared to carry a child. Additionally, the potential for the surrogate not to be able to handle pregnancy or carry a child to term can keep the intended parents’ dreams of growing their families from becoming a reality.
Simply being overweight does not prevent a woman from becoming a surrogate. However, being obese or morbidly obese by medical standards (BMI) is a disqualifying factor. Additionally, women must be in good health overall and several medical conditions are associated with being over or underweight.
On the other hand, there is no minimum weight listed on most agency websites, but the need for a healthy surrogate would indicate that if a woman were underweight and had health complications, she would not be permitted to be a surrogate. There are several medical conditions and possible pregnancy complications from being underweight, so some agencies do list a range for healthy weight and the lower end is generally 19 or 20. Therefore, women interested in becoming a surrogate should maintain a normal BMI.
Drugs and Lifestyle Choices
While smoking and drinking are not illegal behaviors for the women who meet the age requirements in the US, they are not healthy habits for pregnancy. Women with a recent history of illegal drug use or tobacco smokers will be eliminated. With vaping technology becoming so popular, it is important to note that many agencies will likely exclude any nicotine usage, even if it doesn’t come from tobacco products. Some agencies may even have stricter policies; for example, Made in the USA Surrogacy also requires that their surrogates not live in homes with smokers.
Also, women with more than typical alcohol habits will be excluded from becoming a surrogate. Does this mean that adult women considering surrogacy can never have a drop of alcohol? Absolutely, not. It simply means that women who are frequently heavy drinkers with addiction concerns will not be permitted to be surrogates.
Surrogates receiving state assistance, experiencing financial instability, or carrying felony convictions can be rejected by agencies. It is important to make sure that surrogates live in stable environments without negative effects on the health of an unborn baby.
Other Major Health Concerns
STIs, depression, anxiety, mental health challenges, intellectual disabilities, and uncontrolled health conditions can also negatively affect a woman’s ability to become a surrogate. While some of these conditions can be controlled or treated with medications, some of those medications could be harmful to developing children. Intellectual disabilities and some mental health concerns can also hinder the surrogate’s ability to recall or understand what is happening or why. This is to protect the surrogate as much as the baby.
Many agencies have their own requirements that were not included on this list. These requirements can be specific to the agency, but some are common. Citizenship or permanent residence in a state or province that allows surrogacy, certain cesarean section restrictions (often two or less), delivery restrictions (varies by agency), and other health, lifestyle, and geographic requirements may apply.
Be sure that you research the agency you ask to represent you as a surrogate before committing to them so that you can familiarize yourself with their standard requirements.
It is important to remember that you meet all of these requirements but still not be chosen as a surrogate. Intended parents and agencies also have their preferences that go beyond the requirements that they list on websites or application forms. These are minimum expectations. You will need to pass medical and psychological screenings in addition to these requirements anyway.
Remember, you can control your reasons, weight, when you apply (age), recreational drug use, alcohol use, tobacco and nicotine use, and related factors, but you cannot change your history, medical conditions, or genetic predispositions. Try to present yourself in the best possible light, do what you can to minimize the negative impact of your choices, and everything else is out of your control.