Surrogate mother wanted: you’ve seen the ads by various agencies looking for women to enter into commercial surrogacy and help an infertile couple start a family. But what types of health and medical qualifications do women need in order to carry a surrogate pregnancy? Learn about these surrogacy issues and requirements here.
If you have decided that you would like to become a surrogate mother, or if you are an intended parent with a potential surrogate mother in mind, it’s time to examine if you are able to move forward based on medical qualifications for commercial surrogacy. This is also important for intended parents to view, as they need to know the rules to qualify women who carry surrogate pregnancies.
Most of the following health requirements and surrogacy issues are not set in stone, and must be examined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the intended parents, the clinic, and the surrogate’s primary doctor.
If one of the requirements are not met, do more research on the topic before giving up on your surrogacy dream, or, in the case of intended parents, before giving up on your potential surrogate.
Surrogate Mother Wanted Who Has Given Birth Before
This is the single most important of the health requirements for surrogacy: a candidate for surrogate pregnancy must have given birth to at least one child, either vaginally or by c-section.
This rule is set in stone.
In order to become a surrogate mother, you need to have given birth before. No clinic will allow a woman to carry a child for someone else who has not proven that she is able to carry.
Why? Three main reasons:
No Proven Fertility
Commercial surrogacy is extremely expensive. A set of intended parents pay more money for the opportunity to start a family than most people make in a year.
And its just the “opportunity” to start a family; nothing is guaranteed.
Some intended parents only get one try to make it and cannot financially afford another.
A woman who has had no children prior to attempting surrogacy is unable to determine if she is even able to have children herself. Infertility is widespread these days.
It would be heartbreaking for intended parents to put all their financial and emotional efforts into a woman who has the same problems conceiving or carrying a pregnancy that they do.
Emotional Attachment Issues
A woman who has not had her own children is unable to determine what sort of feelings she might experience carrying and giving birth to a baby. A surrogate pregnancy is not the time to determine if she is prone to postpartum depression.
A surrogate mother who has her own children, even if she may be sad at the birth of her surrogate baby, still has her own children to go home to at the end of the day. A childless woman does not. This may be very detrimental to her, despite her good intentions.
Risks of Surrogate Pregnancy
Pregnancy, and surrogate pregnancy, still has its dangers. Though a woman dying via pregnancy or childbirth related instances is practically unheard of in America these days, it is not uncommon for a woman to experience the loss of her reproductive abilities from any given pregnancy.
Many intended mothers are intended mothers because of complications from a prior pregnancy. It would be heartbreaking to have a childless woman, in an attempt to help another family, lose the ability to ever have her own.
This rule, that a surrogate mother must have had at least one baby prior to commercial surrogacy, has no exceptions. It is also advisable, though not a hard-and-set rule, that all women considering surrogate pregnancy are done having their own children, due to the surrogacy issues and risks mentioned above.
Surrogate Mother Wanted Who Has Given Birth Without Complications
If a woman has a history of pregnancy related medical complications, she is most likely not a good candidate for surrogate pregnancy. Here are a few conditions that would warrant further investigation:
- premature birth
- multiple miscarriages
- placenta previa
- gestational diabetes
- ectopic pregnancy
- conditions requiring full bed rest
Having one or two prior miscarriages is usually not a problem, as long as there are not other overwhelming complications or surrogacy issues present.
Surrogate Mother Wanted Who is Healthy
A woman considering commercial surrogacy needs to be in general good health. She should not have any conditions which could cause her to have a difficult pregnancy, or which could put the baby at risk. She should not be taking any medication that can pass through to the baby.
Surrogate Mother Wanted Who Has Weight Under Control
Weight is a touchy subject as one of the health requirements with surrogacy. Most clinics will allow a surrogate mother to be overweight, to a certain extent, while other clinics have very strict rules when it comes to a surrogate’s weight.
If you are considering commercial surrogacy and are currently overweight, you may want to consider losing a few pounds. Even losing as little as 5% of your overall body mass can go a long way towards better health. If you decide not to, it will not eliminate your chances of becoming a surrogate, though it might limit your options.
Surrogate Mother Wanted Free of STDs
Most clinics will not work with a surrogate mother who has any STDs.
Complete testing will be done of a potential surrogate mother and her partner prior to the transfer.
If you or your partner has an STD, it would be in your best interest to disclose this at the start of your matching process.
If you or your partner has Herpes or HPV, it may not disqualify you, though it will limit the potential intended parents and clinics that would be willing to work with you.
A clinic or set of intended parents may be willing to work with a surrogate mother who has Herpes or HPV so long as she agrees to a mandatory c-section.
These viruses can pass to a child at birth when the child is born vaginally, but cannot be transmitted if the surrogate mother has a c-section.
Surrogate Mother Wanted in Good Mental Health
In most cases, a candidate with a long history of mental health problems would not be considered a good candidate for surrogacy. There may be an exception to this of the surrogacy issues, depending on circumstances. A woman who is on medications for a mental health condition would not be allowed to become a surrogate mother.
Surrogate Mother Wanted Who Does Not Smoke
Most women who smoke would not be considered an appropriate match for commercial surrogacy.
Exceptions to this rule would be made on a case-by-case basis, and would usually be made by the intended parents themselves.
Those who live with smokers who smoke indoors may also run into some difficulty, due to the risks of second-hand smoke.
If you are considering becoming a surrogate mother, it would be in your best interest to quit smoking immediately.
Surrogate Mother Wanted Age of Surrogate Mother
Most clinics prefer to work with surrogates between 21-40.
Any younger and the woman might not be mature enough to handle surrogacy.
As we get into our 40’s, there is a higher risk of complications when pregnant.
Having said that, there are several surrogates who have been younger, and many who continue to help others via surrogacy well into their 40’s.
These are general health requirements, and must be viewed on a case by case basis.
For women over 40 who are looking to become surrogates, it helps if they have recently given birth.
Another huge exception to this rule, it is common for the mother of either the intended mother or intended father to become a gestational surrogate mother and give birth to her own grandchildren. These grandmother surrogates are usually in their 50s, though a few have even been in their 60s. Menopause does not affect gestational surrogacy.
Surrogate Mother Wanted Traditional Surrogate Specific
Though all of the above surrogacy issues and requirements apply to both types of surrogacy, there are a few additional requirements to traditional surrogacy, since the woman who is carrying the baby is also the biological mother of the child.
When working with traditional surrogates, intended parents prefer a surrogate mother with a strong family medical history. A series of birth defects in the family, or issues of family members dying of cancer at early ages would not be looked upon favorably in a traditional surrogate. Birth defects, learning disorders, and illness in a traditional surrogate’s children would also need to be considered.
- Getting Started Guide
- Surrogacy Requirements: Family
- Gestational Surrogacy Medications
- How to Give an Injection
- Gestational Surrogacy Transfer