How to Become a Surrogate Mother – Requirements & Qualifications

By Babygest Staff
Last Update: 07/07/2018

Becoming a surrogate is a big responsibility, hence the existence of an extensive list of requirements and qualifications prior to being allowed to carry a child for someone else.

If you meet all the basic requirements concerning your age, health, financial situation, etc., it's also important that you agree to being mentally and medically screened.

Provided that you meet all the requirements that you'll find explained in detail below, you'll be ready to take the first step towards being a surrogate mother.

Basic requirements

Surrogacy is a major act of altruism above all, and for that reason commitment and compassion are the most basic requirements expected from women who want to become surrogates.

Aside from that, there are many other factors to take into account that you can find explained below:

Age considerations

Actually, this requirements is not set in stone, but it is a well-known fact that most surrogacy agencies in the US accept surrogates that are between the ages of 21 and 42.

In some cases, agencies accept women who are 37 or even older as long as they have given birth within the past two years and have clearance from their physician.

Prior births

Having at least given birth to one child and being rising him or her is the single most important requirement to being a gestational carrier. In fact, you can't be accepted if you don't meet this requirements.

Every woman who wishes to carry a child for someone else must prove that she is able to do so, and that can only be proved if you have been pregnant and given birth to a healthy child before.

Financial stability

This is another major requirement. For surrogacy agencies, it's important that surrogates are not collecting government assistance. This requirement is used as a filter to make sure that you're becoming a surrogate for the right reasons, and not solely for money.

If you decide to sign up to become a surrogate, you should understand this requirement, which doesn't mean it's not a great thing to do it in order to receive extra funds for the future, too.

Moreover, the stress that may result from going through financial difficulties can cause complications in a pregnancy, which usually gives rise to instability as well. In other words, not being financially sound poses a risk factor to the surrogacy process.

Healthy lifestyle

For obvious reasons, a woman must be in a state of good health and free from any condition that has been documented as having a detrimental effect upon the a developing baby, including Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).

Overweight, smoking, street drug consumption... are also factors that make clinics turn away candidates to become surrogates. Medical history is also comprehensively considered.

Not only you'll be medically pre-screened, but also mentally. Stress factors should be avoided at all costs, especially during a period that demands such a great deal of personal responsibility.

Although legal requirements vary widely from state to state, all surrogacy agencies will conduct a background check of your criminal and driving records.

You should work with an attorney during this phase, especially when it is time for you to review your insurance policies to make sure that the pregnancy and delivery are covered.

You must agree to sign a contract with the intended parents, which is intended to establish financial responsibilities of the intended parents, issues concerning abortion, agreement on medical insurance and payments, etc.

Are you an intended parent? If you are reading this, it's because you have considered surrogacy to start a family, and are already looking for a gestational surrogate.

You may therefore be interested to know and understand the costs involved.

Other qualifications

The following is a list of other basic surrogate mother qualifications that the majority of agencies take into consideration before you are matched:

  • Your BMI (Body Mass Index) should be of 31 or less
  • You have been free of anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication for at least 1 year under the guidance of a doctor
  • You agree to undergo a psychological interview in person
  • You agree to undergo social disease testing for you and your significant other

For potential surrogates that are married and have their own children, their decision should be a decision shared with family members.

Keep in mind that this process can sometimes become lengthy and intense, but it is necessary for you, the future child, the intended parents and even your family.

FAQs from users

Can the idea of gestation of an embryo that is not one's own cause psychological problems or sequels? And giving the baby after birth?

By Amalia Bayonas MD (psychologist).

Everything depends on the personality, values, emotional state and attitude towards the surrogate motherhood of the pregnant woman. It is not the same to give up your own child than to do it when you know from the beginning that you are pregnant with another couple's child. And it is not the same to do it for exclusively economic reasons or forced by circumstances than to do it freely, consciously and with the idea of helping third parts.

Can you be a surrogate if you have HPV?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

It depends on the state of the condition. If you have HPV in a benign, undetectable state, then the answer is yes, you can be a surrogate, as it is unlikely to have any effect.

But if a pap test comes up positive, then you won't be accepted, as the infection could be passed on to the baby during delivery. Particularly, when the baby passes through the area that is typically infected, that is when the HPV can be passed along to the child.

Fertility clinics conduct pap tests to confirm that potential surrogates are free from this type of STD. If your pap test is unclean, you won't be eligible to become a surrogate.

Can you be a surrogate if you have depression?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

If you are under anti-depressants, you can't become a surrogate. If you're not, it depends on the results of the mental screening.

If a professional determines that you're unable to become a surrogate because you won't be able to bear the process from the psychological viewpoint, then you won't be eligible.

Can you be a surrogate without having a child?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

Absolutely not. As explained above, this is a major requirement for all potential surrogates. For a woman to qualify as a surrogate, she must have given birth to at least one child and be currently raising.

Can you be a surrogate at 18?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

Typically, fertility clinics and surrogacy agencies accept women who are between the ages of 21 and 4 because these are the healthiest years for a woman to carry a pregnancy. At 18, it is more unlikely that a woman has already given birth to a child. In any case, it depends on a case-by-case basis.

Can a daughter be a surrogate for her mother?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

Yes, it is a possible option that is referred to with the term intrafamilial surrogacy by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). In these cases, the surrogate is thoroughly screened as well. In case the intended mother's eggs cannot be used, they will use donor eggs.

Can you be a surrogate if you've had a miscarriage?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

If you've had a miscarriage once in your life and you have been able to have subsequent children without problem, there's no reason to be concerned. But if it's a case of recurrent miscarriages, then it's unlikely that you can become a surrogate.

Suggested for you

There exists a prior phase before you even go through this recruitment process. You have to prepare yourself before applying to become a surrogate, and beware of all it takes. In this sense, learning about the advantages and disadvantages is essential: Becoming a Surrogate Mother – What Are the Pros & Cons?

If you are thinking of being a surrogate and are already in the process to become one, you may be interested in learning how you'll become pregnant. Read: What Is IVF Surrogacy? – Process, Success Rates & Cost.

We make a great effort to provide you with the highest quality information.

πŸ™ Please share this article if you liked it. πŸ’œπŸ’œ You help us continue!