Become a Surrogate: The Requirements You Need to Meet

There are several requirements for becoming a surrogate mother.

Surrogate Qualifications and Requirements

There are several crucial requirements for surrogates. All surrogate mother requirements exist to protect everybody involved: the surrogate, the intended parents, and of course, the coming baby. Although some of these qualifications differ from state to state, agency to agency and between IVF clinics, most apply across the country.

All 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

Surrogacy Requirements: Medication

There are certain surrogacy requirements surrounding medication. Although some meds are fine for surrogates to take before and during their pregnancies, others will render them ineligible.

As we touched upon in the list above, women who are taking medications for mental health reasons will not be able to become a surrogate. Unfortunately, certain forms of birth control are also disqualifying factors. However, if you have an IUD or are taking birth control shots, we still encourage you to apply.

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.

We’re Here to Help!

Navigating surrogate mother requirements can be tricky, but that’s why we’re here. At Extraordinary Conceptions, we work closely with our surrogates and intended parents to create an intimate and supportive environment for everyone involved. Should you have any questions or concerns about whether you are eligible to become a surrogate, we are only a phone call away!

If you are ready to begin your application process, congratulations! 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Becoming a surrogate is an incredibly rewarding experience many women cherish for their whole lives. However, as special as being a surrogate is, it’s not exactly an “easy” job. Surrogates are expected to comply with several requirements and mandatory procedures. These rules are in place to protect everybody involved: the surrogate, her Intended Parent(s), and of course, the coming baby.

If you are considering surrogacy, it’s best to know exactly what is expected of a “typical” surrogate. Before even qualifying to go on an agency database, potential surrogates must fit a long list of requirements and attend a thorough interview. 

Once matched with an Intended Family, she will be expected to undergo extensive medical and psychological screening, develop and sign a detailed legal contract, take required medications, and attend several monitoring appointments prior to implantation and pregnancy. While it’s a tall order, the joy of bringing a family together makes it worth every moment for most surrogates. 

Requirements for surrogacy differ slightly depending on location. With Extraordinary Conceptions, all eligible surrogates must:

  • Have previously given birth and currently be living with her child(ren). However, only women who have had less than five C-sections are eligible. In the US, only women who have given birth under eight times are eligible. 
  • Be between 21 and 45 years old
  • Have a BMI below 36
  • Be a nonsmoker with no history of alcohol dependence or illicit drug use
  • Be financially stable. In Canada, surrogates will be expected to prove income. In the US, surrogates cannot be receiving welfare or section 8/HUD
  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of either the US or Canada
  • Have reliable transportation/a driving license
  • Have a clean record with no previous felonies. This requirement also extends to partners/any other adults living in her household.
  • Be in good mental health, with no history or diagnosis of schizophrenia, BPD, bipolar disorder, or depression  
  • Not be taking any medications deemed unsafe for pregnancy, or be able to wean off it safely. This includes certain types of birth control and some forms of mental health medications. 

Please note that exceptions are possible! If you think you’d make a great surrogate, but don’t tick every box, get in touch with the Extraordinary Conceptions team. Depending on your history and circumstances, we might be able to make something work. 

If you consider becoming a surrogate in Mexico, the requirements are slightly different.

While we wish we could add every hopeful surrogate to our database, it’s our responsibility to protect everybody involved. Unfortunately, certain things will always disqualify potential surrogates. 

You are not eligible to be on our database of surrogates if:

  • You have never given birth
  • You or your partner have a criminal record
  • You are on certain medications*
  • You are only in the US or Canada on a short-term visa
  • You have been diagnosed with a personality disorder or mental illness, including schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, depressive disorder, or bipolar disorder
  • You do not have a reliable income or, if in the US, are receiving welfare or 8/HUD
  • You’ve had more than five C-sections. In the US, you also cannot have given birth more than eight times.
  • You are under 21 and over 45. In some cases, this can be flexible
  • Your BMI is over 36. In some cases, this can be flexible.

*If you are wondering whether your specific meds are okay for surrogacy, get in touch with our team.

Women eligible to become surrogates must meet several requirements before applying. Once you’ve checked your eligibility against our overall surrogate requirements, you can apply to enter our database. However, this doesn’t mean you’re automatically cleared for surrogacy. Several steps help everyone ensure you are the right person for this exciting role.

Once we receive your application, we will contact you about an interview with our team. By meeting you, we’ll be able to learn more about why you’d make a great surrogate. From there, we’ll add you to our database and let you know when Intended Parents like your profile. You’ll have a chance to meet them. If it’s a mutual match, you’ll be expected to attend several medical and psychological screenings to ensure eligibility. These tests are in place to protect both you and your matched family. Once you’ve been professionally cleared, you can proceed with the surrogate process.

In most of the world, agencies require their surrogates to be within a certain BMI (Body Mass Index) range. This is the case across North America. With Extraordinary Conceptions, our US and Canadian surrogates must have a BMI of 36 or lower. In Mexico, the BMI maximum is 27. While these numbers can feel restrictive, they are not fixed. As soon as you get within the allowed range, you are eligible again. 

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 the requirements to be a surrogate are very rigid, and they are in place to protect and provide an easier experience for you. 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. 

Hopeful surrogates outside the required BMI range are invited to still get in touch with our team. We might be able to work something out.

After you match with your Intended Parents, you will undergo extensive psychological and physical screening. Once you receive medical clearance, you can proceed with the next steps of your surrogacy, like signing a contract, taking medication, and preparing for your IVF implantation and pregnancy.

In order 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

In order to receive clearance to proceed with surrogacy, you will also need to be psychologically screened. While this might seem intimidating, many surrogates find this experience very helpful. This screening process works more like a meeting. Here, you will meet with a trusted third-party Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist or a social worker in a comfortable environment. You get the opportunity to ask them questions and speak honestly about your potential surrogacy experience. They will also take this time to ensure that you are in the right emotional mindframe to become a surrogate.

The legislature surrounding surrogacy changes depending on where you live. In some parts of the world, like much of the US, commercial surrogacy is legal. With commercial surrogacy agreements, the surrogate receives compensation. This compensation tends to be between $49,000 and $60,000. 

In Canada, however, commercial surrogacy is against the law. Instead, surrogates and Intended Families enter an altruistic agreement. With altruistic surrogacy, there is no payment. However, the surrogate will be reimbursed for her pregnancy-related expenses, from missed work days to groceries. 

While many US states are very surrogate-friendly and allow for commercial agreements, every state has its own laws and regulations. If you are planning to embark on this process in the USA, we recommend researching the individual surrogacy legislature in your state. This will give you a better idea of what to expect from your surrogacy experience. We’ve created a map of local laws to get you started.