Surrogate Mother Requirements and Qualifications
Many compassionate women become Surrogates to help Intended Parents fulfill their dream of starting a family. Gestational Surrogacy itself brings hope for intended mothers who cannot conceive a baby and members of the LGBTQ community.
If you have ever thought of becoming a Surrogate, then chances are that you have done a lot of research about it. It is likely that you have read up on the medical procedures involved, the laws and legal aspects of the surrogacy process in the United States, and of course, how much do Surrogates get paid as compensation as well as why legal contracts are important.
However, before diving straight in, how do you know if you qualify to be a Surrogate in the first place?
In today’s blog, we will look at the basic health requirements to become a Surrogate in California. We will also answer some of the most common surrogacy related FAQs about things that can disqualify you from becoming a gestational carrier (Surrogate).
Health requirements to become a surrogate mother?
Surrogate Mother requirements can vary from different fertility clinics and agencies in California. At Physician’s Surrogacy, we have a comprehensive Surrogate requirement list a woman has to meet before signing up with us. Here are some of them:
- Must be between the ages of 21 to 37 (Traditional Surrogates must be below 35)
- Have already carried a pregnancy to full term and delivered their own healthy baby
- Have a BMI of less than 33
- Be willing to administer injectable medications
- Be a non-smoker and live in a non-smoking environment
- Be ready to abstain from alcohol all through the medical process and pregnancy
- Be free from any sexually transmitted diseases that can pose serious harm to you and the baby.
- Not have a mental illness or be on antidepressants
- Be able to give us contact information of previous obstetricians or doctors so that we can get her medical records.
- Sign important documents that will give us access to her health records from past pregnancies and surrogacy journey.
- Have not been to a country infected with Zika within the last six months.
The screening process for Surrogate Mother requirement
Most surrogacy agencies will require that you complete some sort of screening in order to become a Surrogate Mother. The Surrogate screening may include:
- Initial application: Here, you will have to answer some general questions about yourself. It reveals your intention to become a Surrogate and your previous pregnancy history.
- Background screening: During this screening process, surrogacy agencies usually perform background criminal checks and financial screenings. It is to ensure that you are still able to care for yourself without depending too much on Surrogate compensation.
- Psycho-social screening: The agency’s social worker will interview you and your spouse (if you have one) to know your mental state. The interview also clarifies whether you have emotionally preparedness for the journey ahead.
- Medical screening: You will have to visit a fertility expert to complete the medical screening process. The expert will carry out some tests to make sure that you are medically suitable to be a Surrogate. This may involve the laboratory testing of your urine and blood samples. These tests help to find out if you are ready to undergo fertility treatments and can handle the pregnancy.
- Other Commitments: Aside from these requirements, you will also need to agree to stay away from alcohol, smoking, and drugs during your Surrogate pregnancy. This is to increase your chances of a successful pregnancy and childbirth. Generally, potential Surrogacy candidates are expected to have the support of their partner. They should have already given birth to a baby, and be financially independent.
FAQs regarding surrogacy requirements & qualifications:
1. Can I be a Surrogate with Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is said to occur when the tissues lining the uterus are found in other organs in the female body. Endometriosis makes it difficult for a would-be Surrogate to conceive. This condition also raises the risk of having a miscarriage. Therefore, Endometriosis can disqualify you from becoming a Gestational Surrogate.
2. Can I be a Surrogate with PCOS?
No, you cannot, if you are suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. This is because women with this condition have a higher risk of developing Endometrial Cancer, Preeclampsia, and Gestational Diabetes. Also, they are more likely to need a Caesarean operation to give birth to a baby.
3. Can I be a Surrogate after Preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is a serious medical condition that can lead to high blood pressure, kidney damage, and other issues. These can be dangerous to you and the Surrogate baby. It can even be life-threatening. If you have a history of Preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy, the odds of developing it again in later pregnancies are very high.
Having Preeclampsia does not completely rule you out of surrogacy. However, it can hinder your chances of becoming a Gestational Surrogate.
4. Can I be an HIV-positive Surrogate mother?
Apparently, no. You cannot be a Gestational Surrogate if you have HIV. The disease can be transmitted to the child during pregnancy or childbirth.
5. Can I be a Surrogate with hepatitis C?
Sadly, both hepatitis B and C have no known cure. Like HIV they too can be transmitted from a pregnant woman to the baby she’s carrying in her womb. Since these medical conditions can be extremely dangerous, women with hepatitis cannot become Surrogates.
6. Can I be a Surrogate if I had Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational Diabetes is a type of Diabetes that affects women when they are pregnant. The blood sugar levels of these women rise during pregnancy. Although, this condition usually goes away after the delivery of the baby. With that being said, you can still be a Surrogate mother even if you have had Gestational Diabetes since the condition can easily be controlled by taking a low-sugar, high-fiber diet.
7. Can I be a Surrogate if I have depression?
Women who are on antidepressant drugs or have a previous history of depression are not qualified to be a Surrogate. The reason is that you may harm yourself and the baby inside of you. It may occur if you don’t get the necessary treatment for your depression on time or if the condition resurfaces during pregnancy.
8. Can I become a Surrogate if I’m overweight?
You cannot be a Surrogate if you are overweight to the point that you can be regarded as obese. It is noteworthy that, when your BMI is more than 33, you are classified as obese. Women looking to become Gestational Surrogates should have a healthy BMI. This helps ensure a successful pregnancy and lower the risk of complications.
9. Can I be a Surrogate if I have not had a baby?
No, you cannot be a Surrogate mother if you have never given birth in the past. Surrogates need to be able to prove that they can carry a baby in their womb and deliver the baby without any complications and the only way to do that is to have had a child at some point in the past.
10. Can I become a Surrogate during or after menopause?
If you have gone through menopause or are going through it, you cannot be a Surrogate mother. Menopausal women are typically above 40 years of age, which is more than the expected age. Besides, getting pregnant after menopause can be very risky for you and your baby, so it is very unlikely that you can be a successful Surrogate after reaching menopause.
Can I be a Surrogate if I’ve had C-sections?
Having a C-section in the past won’t automatically disqualify you. Although, we recommend that you talk to your doctor to know whether your previous C-sections can affect your future pregnancies. A lot of surrogacy agencies have a specific number of previous Cesarean sections you can have undergone in their health requirements.
11. Can I be a Surrogate if I’m breastfeeding?
Naturally, breastfeeding prevents women from ovulating and from having menstrual periods. So, breastfeeding can make the embryo transfer or implantation difficult or even impossible if you are trying to conceive. Therefore, to ensure a successful cycle of the in-vitro fertilization process, you will need to stop breastfeeding and start having regular menstruation in order to be a Surrogate.
The above FAQs & their answers show that, there are multiple variables that come into play when looking at surrogacy process & Surrogate health requirements in California. We recommend that you talk to your personal doctor, your surrogacy agency, and your fertility center about any health conditions you have before proceeding. The easiest way to find out is to apply and see if you qualify.
If you or someone you know is interested in surrogacy, Physician’s Surrogacy is always here to help! We are a surrogacy agency located in San Diego, CA and are the only physician managed surrogacy agency! Our experienced medical staff is ready to support you every step of the way.Fill Out An Application