Working with the right surrogacy agency can make becoming a surrogate mother easier. For example, qualified agencies know how to help you navigate the requirements for being a surrogate, which include:
- Physical (medical) surrogacy requirements
- Psychological (mental health) surrogacy requirements
- Surrogacy applications
- And more
If you think you are ready to start your surrogacy journey, contact us today for more information. But, if you want to find out more about surrogate mother requirements, continue reading.
Requirements for Being a Surrogate
Before you can become a surrogate, it’s important to recognize that you’ll have to meet certain criteria for being a surrogate. These requirements exist to:
- Protect your safety and interests
- Protect every other party in the surrogacy process
The qualifications for being a surrogate mother will vary by surrogacy professional, so to learn what is required to be a surrogate mother with a particular surrogacy agency or fertility clinic, you can speak to a surrogacy specialist.
However, most professionals’ rules for surrogacy do follow the same general guidelines recommended by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Physical Requirements to Become a Surrogate
The physical requirements for being a surrogate mother exist so your surrogacy professional knows you can carry a gestational pregnancy to term safely and without complications. After all, when you become a surrogate, you will be carrying a child for someone else while carrying their hopes and dreams of parenthood.
As mentioned, each surrogacy professional will set their own medical rules for surrogacy, but, in general, all surrogates must:
- Be between the ages of 21-35
- Have a healthy BMI
- Have completed at least one successful previous pregnancy
- Have no major complications in previous pregnancies
- Have no new tattoos or piercings within 12 months of starting the process
- Be off anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication for 12 months
Your surrogacy professional will work with you and the intended parents’ fertility clinic to arrange any necessary medical screenings. These will confirm that you meet all the necessary surrogacy requirements for a successful gestational pregnancy. When the screenings take place in your surrogacy process will depend on your professional’s program.
Psychological Requirements for Being a Surrogate
Surrogacy can be emotionally complicated because you are carrying a child for another person while maintaining your responsibilities. And the hormones associated with pregnancy can make these emotions more powerful.
This is why surrogacy professionals require you to meet certain psychological requirements to become a surrogate. A mental health professional will make sure you:
- Are aware of the commitments of the surrogacy process and how you will balance those with personal responsibilities
- Have no untreated addiction, abuse, depression, eating disorders, or traumatic pregnancy, labor, or delivery experience
- Understand the emotions of carrying a child for someone else
Who Can Become a Surrogate Mother?
The number of women who want to become gestational surrogates continues to grow. But, not every woman who wants to be a surrogate can pursue this path.
Surrogate mother requirements exist for a reason. They protect everyone involved and ensure they have the best possible chance of success. This is because:
- Intended parents want to work with a woman who can successfully and safely carry a pregnancy to term
- Surrogacy professionals want to work with surrogates who are healthy and dedicated to the process
We know it can be frustrating to be deemed ineligible from a dream you are invested in, but remember that rules about being a surrogate exist first and foremost to keep you safe.
How to Meet the Criteria to Become a Surrogate
All professionals will differ but, generally, here is how they find out whether you meet their particular surrogate mother requirements:
Step 1: Fill out an Initial Application
The first step in your surrogacy process will be completing an initial application with a surrogacy professional. Often, you’ll be able to complete an application online. The professional may require you to list personal and medical information about yourself to determine if you meet the basic requirements to become a surrogate mother.
Step 2: Speak With a Surrogacy Specialist About Your Application
Once you submit an application to become a surrogate, a surrogacy specialist will usually review your application before setting up a phone call or in-person meeting. At this meeting, the specialist will:
- Talk you through your application and ask any additional follow-up questions
- Confirm that you meet the requirements to become a surrogate
- Discuss any possible exceptions
- Answer your surrogacy questions
- Help you decide if surrogacy is the right path for you
Step 3: Complete a Mental Health and Psychosocial Screening and a Medical Screening
If your surrogacy specialist determines that you meet their basic surrogate mother requirements, they will usually move forward with scheduling a mental and physical health screening.
Typically, the mental health and psychological screening is completed before matching with intended parents, and the medical screening is completed by the intended parents’ fertility clinic after you are matched (but before you sign your legal contract).
This screening will always be free to you as a prospective surrogate, whether you end up meeting the requirements for surrogacy or not. Only after both of these screenings are completed and you’re approved to become a surrogate can you and the intended parents sign a contract and begin the medical process of surrogacy.
Next Steps to Becoming a Surrogate Mother
The requirements for being a surrogate may seem extensive, but surrogacy is a complicated process that is incredibly important to all involved. Meeting these requirements at the start is an important step to making sure the journey proceeds as smoothly as possible.
If you’re still wondering, “Am I eligible to be a surrogate mother?” the best thing to do is contact a surrogacy professional.
Surrogacy specialists can give you more information about their program’s requirements for becoming a surrogate mother and help you get started with the surrogacy process when you are ready.