If you are thinking about becoming a surrogate, you should know that the act of surrogacy is something wonderful; the generosity of surrogates makes it possible for people experiencing infertility, LGBTQ+ families, and single individuals to have a child. The call to become a surrogate is unique – not everyone can devote so much of themselves to being a gestational surrogate. Being a surrogate requires an enormous amount of time and energy, as well as changes to your body and mind. Before you make this commitment, you need to make sure you’re confident about the decision.
Before you begin surrogacy, ask yourself the following questions. Based on your responses, you’ll know if you’re ready and able to complete the process.
1. Am I healthy enough to become a surrogate?
You need to be sure you are healthy enough to be a surrogate – physically, emotionally, and mentally. You’ll know if you’re healthy enough quickly, as one of the first steps in becoming a surrogate is to undergo a medical screening process. Your doctor will have to give their approval that you can carry a healthy pregnancy.
The intended parents’ fertility clinic will want to review your medical records. These include prenatal obstetrician (OB) records from your past pregnancies; labor and delivery records from the hospital(s) where you delivered; a clearance letter from your OB, stating you’re cleared to carry another pregnancy; and recent Pap results from the last 12 months.
Not only do these requirements safeguard your health, but they also protect the baby and intended parents. You must meet the following qualifications to be accepted as a gestational surrogate:
- You are between the ages of 21-44 years old.
- You have a body mass index (BMI) of 18 to 33. The BMI estimates your amount of body fat and helps assess risk factors for certain health conditions.
- You are a non-smoker.
- You have a healthy pregnancy and delivery history.
- You are willing to undergo a psychological evaluation.
While all requirements are important, particular attention is given to your pregnancy/delivery history and your current household and support system.
2. Do I fulfill the other requirements for becoming a surrogate?
Aside from health-related requirements, there are also several other requirements that potential candidates must meet to become a surrogate. Some of these include:
- You are currently raising a child who you have given birth to.
- You are not reliant on government assistance.
- You are willing to undergo a criminal background check for yourself and all adults 18+ within your household.
If you’re raising a child you gave birth to, this shows your compassion and dedication to family. You are also less likely to develop emotional attachment issues. Being reliant on government assistance may disqualify you from the surrogacy program, as the compensation you’ll receive may interfere with your government assistance. Potential surrogates and every adult member over the age of 18 within your household must undergo a criminal background check. While having a criminal record doesn’t automatically disqualify you, we’ll need to consider your specific situation.
3. Do I have a good support system in place?
Your current household and support system play vital roles in your surrogacy qualifications. You can expect your surrogacy agency case manager to discuss your decision with your partner, if any, as well as your family and friends, to ensure you have all of the support you may require. And, we’ll speak with other important members of your surrogacy team, including your medical team.
4. Do I love being pregnant?
If you’ve carried previous pregnancies to term with no major complications, and they were relatively easy, that’s a good sign. We’ll also want to see if you experienced any postpartum symptoms, which may prevent you from qualifying. And, having a history of serious mental health issues may disqualify you. In addition, you cannot have been on antidepressant medications for at least 6 months before starting the process. These drugs may be associated with neonatal adaptation syndrome, a condition that may cause your baby to experience such symptoms as restlessness, jitteriness, difficulty breathing, and irritability.
5. Am I ready to commit to the surrogacy process?
Keep in mind that depending on the specific fertility clinic, the entire surrogacy process can take from 15 months to two years, from the time you submit your application until the intended parents hold their newborn. As such, you must be sure you can commit to the full timeline.
Schedule An Surrogacy Consultation
While surrogacy is rewarding, it does represent a substantial commitment. If you have questions or concerns about your qualifications, please contact Reproductive Possibilities for a consultation today.