Standard qualifications to be a surrogate

When becoming a surrogate through a reputable agency, you must meet various qualifications. The purpose of these requirements is to have the highest likelihood you are mentally and physically prepared for surrogacy and will bring a healthy child full-term. While the requirements vary by agency, most agencies will ask the same standard set of questions to see if you have the basic qualifications. When applying to become surrogate, prepare for an agency to ask you the following questions.

Are you a surrogate with pregnancy experience?

Previous pregnancy experience shows you’re fertile and able to have an uncomplicated pregnancy. The fact that you have already carried a child also demonstrates you can handle the emotional stresses of childbirth. If you’ve had one or more pregnancies that went well, and they weren’t all emergency cesarean births, it’s a good indication that you would have a successful surrogacy journey. You’re a stronger candidate if you are currently raising a child (or children) you’ve birthed.

How old are you?

Being a surrogate in your prime childbearing years provides the best chance for a healthy delivery and makes it easier for your body to recover once surrogacy is complete. Most surrogacy agencies require you to be at least 21 years old, so if you are younger you may need to wait a few years before beginning your surrogacy journey. As far as the maximum age, it varies by agency. In general, agencies prefer potential surrogates to be no older than their mid-forties and some keep to a smaller range.

A similar line chart might be useful here.

What is your BMI?

Your body mass index (BMI) is a good indicator of possible complications one might have during the surrogacy process. A high BMI can cause someone to take longer to become pregnant. Furthermore, it increases the risk of gestational diabetes or preeclampsia and may make labor more challenging. Agencies want to make the surrogacy process as smooth as possible for you and the child. Therefore, having a BMI between 18 and 33 is ideal.

How is your physical and mental health?

It’s important for surrogates to be in good health. This helps them to recover quickly after pregnancy and the children are as healthy as possible. If you have any heart conditions, a history of cancer, blood clotting issues, or recent sexually transmitted diseases, make sure to discuss this with an agency representative. You should also mention if you have a long history of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, or personality disorders. Note any medications you are taking for these conditions.

During pregnancy, surrogates may not smoke cigarettes, abuse alcohol, or take any illegal drugs. They will evaluate your health on a case by case basis. Don’t let a lack of perfect health dissuade you from applying.

Can you pass a background check?

Trust is critically important in surrogacy relationships and for this reason, agencies run a background check on potential surrogates. If you have a partner, that person may also be required to have one done. Passing requirements vary by company, but generally minor misdemeanors, especially if far in your past, aren’t problematic. More serious crimes, especially involving child abuse or drug possession, might affect your surrogacy eligibility.

Other factors

To be an ideal candidate for agencies, there are a few other factors to consider. If married, an agency may inquire about whether or not your partner supports your decision. It’s typically preferred that a surrogate isn’t on governmental financial support. This is due to the stress it can cause the surrogate. This stress can cause complications in pregnancy and could be harmful to the child. This is evaluated by each person’s unique situation. Occasionally, agencies ask if you hold a valid driver’s license. They will also inquire if you would be willing to travel for in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Every question a surrogacy agency asks is to ensure the entire experience is as successful as possible for the surrogate, intended parents, and child. Intended parents are eternally grateful for the givingness of surrogates. If you’re seriously considering becoming a surrogate, and think you might be eligible, check with each surrogacy agency you are considering about their criteria. If you aren’t sure which agency is the best fit for you, speak with a surrogacy attorney for a recommendation.

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