Becoming a surrogate is a one-of-a-kind experience with Giving Tree Surrogacy & Egg Donation because of our requirements and support. 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.
Learn if you qualify with the basic surrogate criteria below.
Learn what’s required to become a surrogate
Women interested in becoming a Giving Tree surrogate must meet the following requirements:
- Have had at least one healthy full-term pregnancy with no complications and documented medical records.
- Are currently raising at least one child in the home.
- Must be between the ages of 21 and 38.
- Have a healthy height-weight ratio with a BMI no higher than 31.
- Must be a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States. If a legal resident, you must provide documentation that is valid for at least 2 years.
- Must have a valid Driver License
- Must reside in the United States in a state that is surrogacy friendly (at this time, we are not accepting surrogates who reside in Michigan, Louisiana, Nebraska, or outside of the United States).
- Must be a non-smoker in excellent health.
- Must not have a history of alcohol or substance abuse.
- Must have a strong support system including the support of her spouse/partner if she is married or in a relationship.
- Must be willing to undergo a criminal background check (if married, your husband must also be willing to complete a background check).
- Must be willing to travel to fertility clinics to complete the IVF process.
Our surrogate requirements help us and our partner IVF clinics assess if a woman would be at high risk during pregnancy, which could potentially cause harm to both her and the baby she carries. However, being disqualified shouldn't discourage you. With the exception of being beyond the upper accepted age limit, many of these disqualifying criteria can be changed with a little patience and effort.
Psycho-social screen disqualifying factors
At the beginning of the surrogacy screening process, all surrogate candidates will speak to a surrogate consultant 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
The surrogate screening process covers personal details about your medical 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 still 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 could disqualify you
A few more health conditions that will disqualify you from becoming a surrogate are:
- More than two C-sections
- Pre-term births
- Hepatitis C
- HIV positive
- Essure procedure
- Post menopause
- Sickle cell
Surrogacy is an exciting and rewarding experience, and for anything with great reward, comes great responsibility. Above all else, a surrogate mother's health comes first to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy for herself, the baby, and intended parents. To learn more about surrogate requirements, contact Giving Tree Surrogacy & Egg Donation.
We’re here for you at every step.