Surrogacy requirements: what disqualifies me from being a surrogate mother?
Updated: May 28
Advances in technology and surrogate-friendly legislation have contributed to increased interest in surrogacy. And for anything with great reward, comes great responsibility.
Deciding to be a surrogate, also known as a gestational carrier, is a noble decision, but health is always our number one concern. Just as we screen intended parents for criminal background and mental fitness, gestational carriers must also go through a screening process.
Each agency has their own requirements equal to or more strict than guidelines set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). The reproductive endocrinologist (RE) who transfers the embryo can also have their own thoughts on what makes a good surrogate candidate, so agencies typically take the RE's requirements into consideration.
Below we will discuss the disqualifying factors at different points of the screening process.
These basic requirements help agencies and IVF clinics to assess if a woman is at high-risk during pregnancy, which can cause harm to the surrogate and baby.
No history of pregnancy
Outside of age range (21 - 38 years old)
High BMI (more than 33)
Being disqualified shouldn't discourage you. With the exception of being beyond the upper accepted age limit, all of these disqualifying criteria can be changed with a little patience and effort.
Psycho-social screen disqualifying factors
It's common to speak to a Surrogate Consultant at the beginning of your journey who will ask you questions about your pregnancy history and your reasons for wanting to become a surrogate mother. This is done to determine if you can handle the emotional responsibility of being a gestational carrier. You'll be asked about your current emotional state and how you felt during and after your past pregnancies.
If you are currently on antidepressants or diagnosed with depression, then you will be disqualified as a surrogate. Our goal is to put your health first. You can become a risk to yourself and the child you are carrying If your depression returns during pregnancy or if you stopped treatment for your depression.
Health screening dis-qualifiers
If you haven't guessed yet, the surrogate screening process covers personal details about your history. No part of the screening process is more or less important than the other, yet there are many more factors at this point that could disqualify you or require closer consideration.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) are unable to become surrogates. Women that have this condition are more likely to develop gestational diabetes, endometrial cancer, and preeclampsia. This syndrome likely leads to the Surrogate needing a C-section and having a premature birth.
Preeclampsia is a condition that causes high blood pressure and kidney damage, as well as other problems that could be dangerous to you and any baby you carry. If you develop preeclampsia during any of your prior pregnancies, you are likely to develop it in future pregnancies too.
This doesn’t automatically disqualify you; Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that affects pregnant women. Many cases of this condition can be controlled with a high fiber, low sugar diet. If you do not need to take medication for your gestational diabetes, there’s a good chance you can become a surrogate. This will be discussed during your initial consultation so that you can explain why she was diagnosed with this condition and how it was controlled.
Endometriosis is when the tissue of the uterine lining (the lining of the womb) appears on other organs in the body. This reproductive disorder can make it more difficult to become pregnant. It also increases the risk of miscarriage, and it will disqualify you from becoming a surrogate.
If you don’t have a uterus, then you would be unable to carry a child for someone else. However, the uterus is not necessary for egg donation. If you still have your ovaries then even though you cannot become a surrogate, you can still become an egg donor and help couples to have children, which is just as rewarding.
Additional conditions that disqualify you
A few more health conditions that will disqualify you from becoming a surrogate are:
More than two C-sections
We understand that Surrogacy is an exciting and rewarding experience and our purpose is to help you understand the rigor and responsibility that goes into being a surrogate. Above all else, a surrogate mother's health comes first to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy for herself, the baby and intended parents.
No two journeys are the same. We encourage you to contact Giving Tree Surrogacy to learn more about the process and make sure this journey is a right fit for you.