Navigating the Medical Requirements of Gestational Surrogacy: What You Need to Know

You’ve long thought about becoming a surrogate, including the personal impact, physical and emotional changes, and financial components. One thing that many surrogate hopefuls may not consider, however, are the various medical requirements necessary to become a surrogate. 

While surrogacy requirements may seem restrictive, many of them are in place with the surrogate’s health in mind. Here are some of the most common questions we hear about the medical requirements to become a surrogate.

Does a Woman Need a Uterus for Surrogacy?

Yes, surrogacy involves a woman carrying and delivering a baby for another family. Therefore, without a uterus, you are physically unequipped to carry a child for someone else. 

Do I Need to Have Delivered a Baby to Be a Surrogate?

Yes. A potential surrogate must have previously carried and delivered a baby at least once before. This is the only way to prove that she can safely deliver a healthy baby to term. It also is proof that she will likely be able to deal with all of the physical and emotional complexities of pregnancy and postpartum.

Does Being Menopausal or Postmenopausal Disqualify Me from Surrogacy?

Not necessarily. While most surrogates are between the ages of 21 to 43, some repeat surrogates start a second or third cycle at the age of 45. These surrogates may be in menopause, but that does not automatically preclude them from being able to carry a pregnancy and deliver a baby, especially considering medications are used to help prepare the surrogate’s body for pregnancy.

Does Being Overweight Disqualify Me From Surrogacy?

It depends. Generally, a healthy body mass index (BMI) falls within the range of 18 to 30. However, many fertility clinics allow surrogates with a BMI of up to 33, as they consider multiple factors to determine a candidate's overall health for surrogacy. While weight is an important aspect of reproductive health, it is just one factor among many that are taken into consideration.

Does Gestational Diabetes Exclude Me from Surrogacy?

No, a history of gestational diabetes is not an automatic disqualification for potential surrogates. Each surrogate’s case is assessed individually, taking into account the surrogate candidate's specific circumstances, medical management, and ability to maintain stable blood sugar levels. If you have a history of gestational diabetes, it’s crucial to discuss it early on with the surrogacy agency and fertility clinic. The fertility clinic will evaluate your situation and guide proper gestational diabetes management.

Does Endometriosis Disqualify Me from Surrogacy?

In some cases, yes, but not necessarily. Endometriosis is a complex disease that varies widely from person to person. While some women with severe cases of endometriosis may be disqualified from becoming a surrogate, those with mild to moderate endometriosis may still be eligible.

Does PCOS Disqualify Me from Surrogacy?

Not necessarily. While having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can make it unsafe for some to become a surrogate, this is not the case across the board for every woman with PCOS. Similar to endometriosis, PCOS affects every woman differently, and the severity of the condition can vary greatly.

Does Preeclampsia Preclude Women from Surrogacy?

Again, not necessarily. While preeclampsia can complicate a pregnancy, having a history of it does not automatically disqualify you from becoming a surrogate. Like endometriosis and PCOS, each case of preeclampsia is unique, and only one factor that’s considered when reviewing a potential surrogate’s overall health.

Does Breastfeeding Exclude Me from Surrogacy?

Yes and no. Reproductive endocrinologists require surrogacy candidates to stop breastfeeding their children. Additionally, they’re required to have started their monthly menstrual cycle before starting the process. During lactation, hormones may work differently to produce breast milk, making them less predictable. With surrogacy, your hormones are manipulated, possibly affecting your body’s breast milk production and quality.

Does Depression Disqualify Me from Surrogacy?

It depends. For some agencies, currently or previously having depression or taking antidepressants can mean an automatic rejection. Candidates may be considered on a case-by-case basis, including whether you’re currently or previously on medication. 

Familiarize Yourself With Your Agency’s Surrogacy Requirements 

Becoming a gestational surrogate is a generous, life-changing endeavor. However, many medical factors must be considered before taking the first step and applying. The medical requirements for surrogates are complex and not always easy to define in black-and-white terms. Ultimately, each potential surrogate is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with fertility clinics taking into account a wide range of factors. To learn more about the surrogacy journey, including surrogate requirements, the surrogacy process, and compensation we invite you to connect with Fertility Source Companies.