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Surrogacy Requirements – How to Qualify to Be a Surrogate

The process of becoming a surrogate is very complex and detailed. It takes several rounds of screening to make it to the finishing line of embryo transfer at the fertility clinic. Below is a quick and simple guide to the most basic level requirements to start the application process to become a surrogate.

If you meet all of the below requirements and would like to move forward with a screening phone call, please fill out this short form so we can connect!

Basic Surrogate Requirements

You Must Be a Biological Mother

In order to be a surrogate, you must have a history of healthy pregnancy and delivered a baby to full-term without any major medical complications.

Age Requirements for Surrogates

Minimum Age for Surrogates

Surrogates must be at least 21 years. If you’re super eager to get rolling on the process, you can start gathering up your information and get appointments scheduled when you’re 20.5 years old. So that way you can get going on your journey soon after your birthday.

Maximum Age for Surrogates

The maximum age for a surrogate really depends on the clinic and the intended parents. For a long time, the maximum age was 38. But in more recent times there’s been more leniency and I’ve seen clinics accepting surrogates up to 45-years-old. Although, keep in mind that most intended parents are looking for surrogates under 35-years-old. But if you’ve got great health and fertility, there’s still hope for a surrogacy journey.

Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking Requirements for Surrogates

Surrogates cannot be smokers of any kind. This includes cigarettes, vaping, any nicotine products, marijuana or THC products, etc. This also includes any secondhand smoke in your household or work environment. Most ethical agencies will require that a surrogate applicant be smoke-free for at least 3 months before she can apply.

Be aware that all surrogates will be tested regularly for drugs, alcohol and smoking, and there can be serious consequences if you are caught with positive tests for these substances.

IVF Injection Medications

Almost all modern day surrogates are gestational carriers, meaning that they get pregnant through IVF fertility treatments. This requires daily injections of hormone medication for many weeks. These shots are taken at home, either self-injected or given by a family member. It is important that all surrogate applicants understand the process, and are comfortable with needles and injections.

BMI Must Be Under 34

The BMI requirement for surrogacy is a very hot button issue, many women take issue with it. Keep reading to get the details.

What is BMI?

BMI is a simple screening tool that provides an estimate of a person’s body fatness and is commonly used to determine whether a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. BMI stands for Body Mass Index, which is a measurement used to assess a person’s body weight relative to their height. It is calculated by using height in inches and weight in pounds. You can calculate your own BMI here.

What’s the problem with BMI calculations?

BMI does not directly measure body fat or differentiate between fat and muscle mass, so it may not always accurately reflect an individual’s health status or risk for certain health conditions. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal weight, 25 to 29.9 is overweight, and 30 or above is considered obese. By these standards, the majority of women who have given birth to children would be considered overweight or obese.

Many people consider BMI to be an outdated and inaccurate tool to measure health, especially for women.

The Sad Reality of the BMI Requirement

The plain and simple truth is that the fertility clinics who work with surrogates are still using the BMI calculations to determine eligibility. And there’s no end in sight to this rule. Statistically speaking, there is a higher chance of medical complications in IVF patients who have a higher BMI. Also, the medication for IVF is pre-dosed for women under a certain BMI. So if a patient is over the BMI threshold, not only is she a more expensive patient because she’ll require more medication, the current medication protocols are likely to be less effective and she may never get pregnant.

BMI Requirements Vary By Clinic

Most IVF clinics in the United States require a surrogate to have a BMI of 32 or less. Some of them go as low as 28, and very rarely does a clinic go as high as 34.

Legal Status in the United States

Most of my professional experience in the surrogacy industry has been with US domestic surrogates (but many international intended parents). The majority of surrogacy agencies in the states require that their surrogates be either US citizens or permanent residents.

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