The Core Essentials of Surrogacy

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The Surrogacy Experience Blog

October 27, 2015

6 Requirements to Become a Surrogate Mother

requirements to become a surrogate mother
Whether you are thinking about becoming a gestational or traditional surrogate mother there are some initial requirements to be aware of.
 While specific requirements to become a surrogate mother may vary from agency to agency, there are typical industry standards to be aware of. For the sake of this blog we are going to discuss the requirements for becoming a Gestational Surrogate Mother (aka Gestational Carrier). Surrogacy agencies rely on the guidelines set forth by ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine), fertility clinics specializing in third party reproduction, fertility counselors/social workers, and reproductive attorneys. At The Surrogacy Experience we want to be a resource for those exploring the possibility of becoming a gestational carrier to make a difference in someone else’s lives.

Below are the initial requirements to become a gestational carrier and we will discuss them in-depth. If you can answer yes to these questions, you have taken your first steps towards surrogacy.

  • Do not reside in one of the following states: AZ, DC, IN, LA, MI, NE, NY, OK, WA
  • Are between 21 and 43 years of age
  • Have given birth to a live child and are raising / or have raised that child
  • Are not receiving (nor anyone in your household) state sponsored medical insurance or housing assistance
  • Are a Non-Smoker
  • Currently not under the care of a mental health profession for anxiety, depression or post-partum depression.

Let’s discuss further why these initial requirements are a key factor in starting your journey.

State Laws – When reviewing state laws there are two main components to think about, 1) does your state recognize compensated surrogacy contracts; 2) what is the legal process in which the intended parents can get their names on the birth certificate. The laws governing these items can vary state by state and are constantly evolving. If a particular state does not have a statute nor a ruling from the state’s high court governing the process, the question of pre-birth orders will be determined on a county by county and even a judge by judge basis. We always recommend that you consult a reproductive attorney within your state to answer any questions you may have and to provide you with the most up-to-date information on surrogacy. To view our interactive map that provides a summary of currently U.S. surrogacy laws by state, Click Here

Age – Age requirements vary by agency and fertility clinic requirements. The recent guidelines (21 – 43 years of age) are based on many factors. Reproductive Attorneys and Fertility counselors feel that anyone under the age of 21 should refrain from becoming a surrogate. Due to the legal complexities, the inherent risks of pregnancy and the emotions components throughout. Most fertility clinics have a cut-off age of 43 years to begin a surrogacy journey and require that you become pregnant by 45 years of age. Each clinic has their own reasons for this but common concerns are pre-menopause and other risks for the baby and carrier’s health.

Confirmed Pregnancy - The health of the “birthing mother” is top priority which is why it is mandatory that a potential carrier have had at least one pregnancy, without complications, resulting in a live birth. Fertility clinics will conduct a thorough review of one’s prenatal and labor delivery medical records to ensure the medical side of surrogacy is safe for all parties. They will look for pregnancy related illnesses (such as gestational diabetes, pre-term labor, etc.) and review labor & delivery records to ensure there were no complications.

Government Assistance – it is understood that assistance can be a means to help someone during a difficult time. However, due to the fact that gestational carriers are compensated a potential carrier should wait until that assistance is no longer needed. Assistance is general provided based on income and as a gestational carrier their income will increase and assistance can potentially reduce or be eliminated. No one would want to cause financial hardship for a carrier and her family.

Non-Smoker – based on the guidelines from the American Gynecological & Obstetrical Society there are many risks associated with smoking before and during pregnancy. During the per-screening process all potential carriers will submit to a nicotine test and their contract may require them to testing throughout the pregnancy to ensure they are compliant.

Mental Health – a surrogacy journey can be filled with emotional highs, twist and turns and is heavily emotional based. Ensuring a carriers mental health is a high priority for all parties. Fertility clinics have their own restrictions when it comes to the types of mental health issues one may have as well as the medications they are or have taken in the past. Because of the nature of this journey post-partum depression is commonly an automatic disqualifier into their program. All carriers will undergo a psychiatric review; in some cases numerous times.

To see our detailed requirements of how to become a surrogate mother for the TSE Surrogate Program, click here
If you'd like to learn more about surrogacy actually is, click below to get your copy of our Process Reference Guide: The Core Essentials of Surrogacy
The Core Essentials of Surrogacy