Understanding BMI Surrogacy Requirements

BMI Requirement for Surrogacy & How It Affects Pregnancy

What you need to know about BMI surrogacy requirements

A lot of prospective Surrogates often ask about BMI requirements and why it is important. Body Mass Index (BMI) uses a person’s weight and height to determine which of the following group they belong to:

  • Underweight (BMI less than 18.5)
  • Normal (BMI 18.5 to 25)
  • Overweight (BMI 25 to 30)
  • Obese (BMI greater than 30)

While BMI may not be 100% perfect, it is still a good medical screening tool.

We often receive applications from women looking to become Surrogates but fall under the obese or underweight category, based on their BMI.

Although Physician’s Surrogacy would like to admit everyone who applies to be a surrogate into our program, there are certain guidelines that we need to follow. Our agency considers every application on an individual basis. However, we have to be sure that we will be able to pair an applicant with a physician who will be ready to work with them.

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How to Calculate Basal Metabolic Index

All you need to calculate your BMI are your weight, height, and probably, a calculator. The formula is pretty simple:

BMI = (703 x weight in lbs)/ (height in inches x height in inches)

Example: for someone that weighs 130 lbs and measures 5ft 6 inches in height, the calculation would be:

BMI= (703 X 130)/(66 X 66)
= (91,390)/(4,356)
= 20.98

There are also many resources on the internet for calculating your BMI without needing to relive your 7th-grade mathematics class. One example is the BMI calculator by the CDC (center for disease control and prevention).

Is It Necessary for All Surrogates to Have a Certain BMI?

If you are thinking of becoming a surrogate, it’s important to bear in mind the health risks associated with a high BMI when you’re pregnant.

For example, there is a higher chance of gestational diabetes, which means the surrogate’s kidneys are more likely to be stressed. Babies developing diabetes in their adulthood has also been associated with being carried by a woman that has gestational diabetes.

Although BMI might not be the only thing that makes a healthy person or a healthy pregnancy, it is very important in surrogacy.

No matter which category you belong to, BMI can be a great starting point to determine your present health needs, goals, and risks. If your BMI is less than 18.5, it may be a sign that your body is not absorbing adequate nutrients or that you aren’t taking enough calories to maintain your lifestyle.

Also, if your BMI consistently falls within the obese range without any underlying factor, it can help guide and encourage you to talk to your dietitian or physician about the best way to meet your body’s health needs.

A Surrogate Pregnancy Is a Bit Different Than Your Own

Each of our Surrogates is a Gestational Carrier. This means that they share no genetic link with the baby they carry in their womb.

These women conceive through IVF using the donor eggs and sperm of the Intended Parents.

Surrogates are usually assigned a medical protocol by their Intended Parents’ clinic. This includes various medications to prevent ovulation and ready the womb lining for an embryo transfer.

Patients with a very high BMI don’t respond well to medications, which can result in canceled or failed IVF cycles. This is one of the reasons for BMI requirements during surrogacy.

Our utmost priority at Physician’s Surrogacy is the health and safety of our Gestational Carriers. Every pregnancy comes with its own risks. With a surrogate pregnancy, the physicians want to mitigate risks and optimize the chance of a healthy child and a healthy Surrogate.

A higher BMI can cause a more complicated surrogate pregnancy with elevated risks of surrogacy including:

  • hypertension
  • diabetes
  • postpartum hemorrhage and
  • the need for a C-section.

It may also result in surgical and anesthetic complications if surgery is done. A too low BMI has also been linked to a higher risk for premature birth and small-for-gestational-age (SGA) babies.

Another Reason for BMI Requirements During Surrogacy

Typically, surrogacy professionals accept BMI requirements for surrogacy between 19 and 32 and this range excludes most women who are medically underweight or obese.

A BMI greater than 35 (regarded as class II obesity) can increase the amount of time it takes a woman to be pregnant by 100%, whereas being underweight (BMI > 19) can increase the time to conception by 400%.

A longer time to conception during surrogacy can mean a greater investment of money and time for the Intended Parents. It can also cause more stress for all the parties involved.

Risks of Becoming a Surrogate While Being Overweight

A higher BMI can indicate whether a woman is overweight/obese. Apart from the weight playing a huge role in a successful pregnancy, it being overweight also presents dangers for the Surrogate too.

Women who are overweight are more likely to have the following complications during pregnancy:

  • Difficulties in getting pregnant
  • High blood pressure, preeclampsia, blood clotting problems
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Being pregnant past your due date
  • Difficulties during labor and birth, may include a longer postpartum hospital stay
  • Increase chances of cesarean-section
  • Miscarriage or stillbirth/pre-term birth
  • Increase chances of infections during pregnancy
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

Thankfully it is possible to reduce these risks by having a healthy weight, and that is a big reason why surrogacy specialists maintain a strict demeanor towards a Surrogate’s BMI. The Intended Parents are looking for a healthy Gestational Surrogate to carry their child and if you fall into the overweight or obese category, it becomes harder to match with Intended Parents.

Other requirements to become a surrogate

At Physician’s Surrogacy, we take great pride in our “picky” attitude, which has helped shape our initial Surrogate screening process and our partnerships with fertility clinics.

A BMI within the 18-32 range is a must-have requirement to apply to be a Gestational Surrogate with our agency.

We keep to the standards and expectations set by the fertility clinics we work with, so we don’t accept any applicant with a BMI outside this range. It is crucial to be truthful about your BMI when submitting your application and during the screening process.

Other important requirements to become a surrogate are:

  • Be between 21-39 years of age
  • Be a non-smoker residing in a non-smoking home
  • Have previously given birth to and raising a baby
  • Have no history of complicated pregnancies and deliveries
  • Have no history of mental health issues

What can be done

One good thing about the BMI surrogacy requirement is that it can be addressed.

If your BMI is the only thing stopping you from being a Surrogate, consult with your physician about lifestyle changes, like eating a healthy diet and doing more exercise.

At Physician’s Surrogacy, we want to help you realize your dream of assisting others, but we also need to keep your best interest in mind. However, you can prepare yourself for success by being 100% healthy and helping lower possible health complications and risks.

We know the various opinions out there regarding BMI can be difficult to interpret. But it’s good to note that BMI is essentially a simple formula that uses your weight and height to determine the amount of fat present in your body.

We also know that BMI is not the only factor that determines your health. However, it’s an important requirement to commence the surrogate screening process at our agency since it gives us an idea of your overall health.

If you are wondering whether you meet the health requirements to become a Surrogate, simply fill out an application and find out within 72 hours.

If you have more questions regarding BMI requirement or gestational surrogacy, use the chatting option.

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