Meeting the Surrogate Requirements & Qualifications

Are you considering applying to become a surrogate? We are so grateful to hear this and know your future Intended Parents are also. Surrogacy is an extraordinarily fulfilling and exciting role. It is also a considerable commitment which requires several involved steps.

Smiling black woman doing her research on surrogate requirements

Surrogate Mother Requirements in the USA: What Are They?

To protect everybody involved—surrogates, Intended Parents and coming babies—there are several legal requirements to be a surrogate in the US. To avoid any disappointment, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the legal requirements for surrogacy before submitting an application.

In the US, surrogacy laws are often determined on a state-by-state basis. This can have an impact on local surrogate mothers’ requirements. Some agencies and IVF clinics might also have their own rules and conditions to consider. While there are some differences, many requirements for surrogacy remain set in stone, regardless of location.

In general, American surrogates must:

  • Be between the ages of 21-45 (EC has a unique program for carriers between 39 and 45 years of age)

  • Have a BMI below 36 (EC has a unique program for carriers with a BMI between 30 and 36)

  • Have no more than 5 c-sections (EC has a unique program for GC’s with 3 or more c-sections)

  • Have no more than 8 deliveries (EC has a unique program for carriers with more than 6 deliveries)

  • Have given birth previously and currently live with their child

  • Not smoke or have any illicit drug use, nor have any history of illicit drug or alcohol dependence

  • Be financially stable and not receiving- section 8/HUD or welfare

  • Be a US citizen or Permanent Resident

  • Have a driver’s license and/or reliable transportation

  • Have no previous felonies (same goes for spouse/partner and any other adults living in the household)

  • Have no history of the following mental health diagnosis- schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder or major depressive disorder

  • Currently not on any medication unsafe for pregnancy, including medication for mental health issues (including anxiety or depression) and/or the ability to safely wean from the medication

medical requirements to become a surrogate

Medical Surrogate Mother Qualifications

Many of the aforementioned surrogate mother qualifications are medically related. It is paramount for surrogates to be both physically and mentally healthy!

There are several surrogacy requirements surrounding medication itself. Unfortunately, certain medications, including some forms of birth control and antidepressants, will render you ineligible to become a surrogate. If you are unsure whether or not your medications are surrogacy-sanctioned, get in touch with our team.

Once you have established that you meet the basic health requirements and all of your medications are surrogacy-friendly, you can apply to become a surrogate. Being completely honest about your health in your application and interview is crucial! You will undergo extensive psychological and physical screening after matching with a family to confirm your medical eligibility. You can only proceed with your surrogate agreement upon medical clearance.

To receive medical clearance, you will undergo a series of medical exams and screenings. These will include:

  • Full physical exam
  • Cervical swab
  • HIV test
  • Hepatitis test(s)
  • Syphilis screening
  • HTLV-1 test
  • Hormone and prolactin level checks
  • ABO typing
  • RH typing
  • Drug test
  • Psychological Screening

Personal Surrogate Mother Qualifications

Your personal circumstances will impact your eligibility to become a surrogate. Perhaps the most significant of these surrogate requirements is experience. The only people who are eligible to become surrogates are parents themselves. All surrogates must have previously given birth to their own child(ren,) and are required to still live with them.

Other lifestyle factors impact surrogate eligibility. We require all of our surrogates to have a clean record with no criminal history. They also must be entirely drug and tobacco-free and financially stable.

If you dream of becoming a surrogate but don’t meet all of the personal requirements, get in touch with our team. In some cases, making lifestyle changes (like quitting smoking) could help you become eligible for this role.

Smiling pregnant woman holding her belly, wearing a white top and a light cardigan.
A surrogate mother practicing yoga pose in a studio with white brick background.

BMI Requirements for Surrogacy

Weight and BMI can be sensitive topics, and we are well aware that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes! It’s important to remember that while requirements for surrogacy are very rigid, they exist for your benefit. Women with a higher BMI can have a harder time conceiving. Further, they have a higher statistical risk of developing certain dangerous conditions during pregnancy, like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.

As Extraordinary Conceptions serves all of North America, our BMI requirements differ slightly depending on location. Here in the US, we accept applications from surrogates with a BMI of up to 36. This rule also applies to our Canadian surrogates.

These numbers may feel restrictive, but they are not fixed. If you can bring your BMI within the eligible range, you can apply to become a surrogate!

Age Requirements for Surrogacy

Like BMI, the age limit for surrogacy may feel restrictive. However, there is a bit of flexibility surrounding these requirements, depending on experience. Some applicants over the age of 39, like those who have previously been a surrogate, may still be considered eligible. This will depend on several factors.

If you are older than the general age requirements for surrogacy but believe you would be a great fit, please contact our team.

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Who is Eligible for Surrogacy Pay?

Eligibility for surrogacy compensation is determined by location. In many US states, commercial surrogacy is legal. Surrogates in those states will be eligible to receive payment; this compensation tends to be between $49,000 and $60,000. Surrogate compensation is paid on top of benefits and pregnancy-related reimbursements.

While all surrogates in commercial-supported states are eligible to receive compensation, amounts can vary. “Higher-demand” surrogates (often those with more experience or in popular locations) may be paid a higher amount.

Surrogacy Requirements by State

Your surrogacy requirements might look different depending on where you live. Surrogacy itself is a state-by-state issue, and it is not currently legal everywhere.

Do You Have the Qualifications to be a Surrogate?

If you indeed meet all of the requirements for surrogacy, congratulations! You might be on your way to making your dreams of helping another family into a reality. That’s where our services come in. Our team works closely with our surrogates and intended parents to create an intimate and supportive environment for everyone involved.

Register here, and our team will contact you shortly about your next steps. We are so excited to speak with you and help you along your journey.