Ever since the Kim Kardashian surrogacy news came out, people are learning more about why a woman needs a surrogate to carry her baby. With that said, now women are eager to become surrogates and to know if there are any specific requirements they need to meet before they can apply with an agency.
Are there really requirements to be pregnant for someone else?
That may seem like a silly question to many women, but you would be surprised at how many women want to become surrogates, but fail to meet the basic requirements set forth to help ensure that the surrogate and the pregnancy are healthy. You may be thinking “I’m healthy and I don’t mind being pregnant for someone” but surrogacy is not just about carrying someone else’s child. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has set certain guidelines that they recommend to ensure the surrogate and baby are safe. While most agencies and physicians will agree on the main points, some IVF Physicians and other experts have their own additional specifications for potential surrogates.
The #1, most important requirement for becoming a surrogate, is being a woman who is a mom already. This means that you have had at least 1, successful, live birth with no complications and you are raising your own child/children. To give you some insight into this, it’s important that a woman have a healthy pregnancy and delivery history and that she already has her own family established.
The 2nd top requirement is that a surrogate cannot be a smoker or use drugs. This may seem like a no-brainer for some, but believe it or not, not everyone understands that smoking during pregnancy is bad for the baby as well as for the mom or surrogate in this case. This also includes women who take certain medications for mental illness on a regular basis.
Coming in 3rd is the need for women to be generally healthy and meet certain Body Mass Index (BMI) requirements. Typically this range is (healthy) 19-30 although some physicians accept slightly higher BMI of 32. There is a lot of information about infertility affecting women who weigh too little or too much. Since IVF is already considered higher risk than natural conception, it makes sense that selected surrogates are definitely healthy enough for the process.
Lastly, surrogate candidates must be between the ages of 21-39 although in some instances up to 42 years old may be accepted.
Are there any non-medical surrogacy requirements?
There are definitely other requirements for being accepted into a surrogacy program. In addition to those above, the woman must also meet these criteria:
- The candidate and their spouse/partner cannot have any prior felonies
- She must be financially stable and cannot be on government assistance. (Programs for her children are the exception)
- She must be a U.S. citizen, Canadian citizen or be a legal permanent resident of either country
Other things to consider
Some physicians may limit the amount of vaginal deliveries or c-sections a woman can have. While others may decline a woman for certain medications she takes regularly. After the basic requirements have been met, the surrogate candidate will have to undergo a medical evaluation conducted by the IVF physician and a psychological evaluation as well. Some forms of birth control like the Shot or an IUD may delay a surrogacy cycle.