In a perfect world, anyone who wanted to enact the noble deed of carrying a child for someone who cannot would be given the green light to do so. Our least favorite part of what we do is telling a hopeful applicant that she has not been approved for a surrogacy journey. No matter how kind, safe or practical our reasons for declining an applicant, it feels just as bad to say no as it does to hear it.
There are myriad nuances to the surrogacy approval process, but for simplicity’s sake I will focus here on the most common reasons for disqualification:
- A surrogate should be between the ages of 21-45.
- A surrogate must have had at least one previous, uncomplicated, full-term pregnancy (37+ weeks), and no more than two C-sections.
- Surrogates must not have any serious underlying health conditions or other conditions which may cause a high-risk pregnancy.
- A surrogate must have a stable and supportive family environment.
- A surrogate must be financially secure, which means not fully dependent on state or government financial aid.
- A surrogate should not be a current smoker or abuse drugs or alcohol (a surrogate would also not qualify if there is a history of smoking, drug or alcohol abuse noted in previous pregnancy records).
- Have a BMI between 19-34 (although most doctors prefer under 32).
- Surrogates must be off any anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication for at least 3 months and receive approval from their MHP that it is safe for them to move forward with a pregnancy without the use of psychiatric medications.
- Surrogates cannot be on certain types of birth control (such as IUD or implant), and must have a minimum of 3 normal menstrual cycles after removal.
- Surrogates must be legal US citizens.
For a much more detailed and broader description of surrogate qualifications in the United States, please visit the American Society of Reproduction’s (ASRM) surrogate guidelines at www.asrm.org.