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Surrogate Medical Requirements FAQs

2021-07-30

We are honored whenever a woman chooses to talk with us about becoming a surrogate. And, we have many safeguards in place to help ensure that surrogacy can be a healthy and successful experience for both the surrogate and the baby. During our screening process, ConceiveAbilities takes a holistic approach to all considerations and puts significant investment into a surrogate's medical and obstetrical history with review by registered nurses. Why does this help our surrogate applicants? 95% of our surrogates are medically cleared by their intended parents' fertility center, ensuring that we safeguard your time, efforts, and emotions.

What are the specific surrogate medical requirements?

There are several basic qualifications we first consider when we screen surrogates. The primary requirements to become a surrogate include a "yes" answer to each of these questions:

  • Have you given birth to at least one child?
  • Are you between the ages of 21 to 39 years old?
  • Is your BMI lower than 35, and ideally lower than 30?
  • Did you have uncomplicated pregnancies and deliveries?
  • Are you a non-smoker?
  • Do you have stable mental health, with no bouts of severe anxiety or depression?

As part of surrogacy process, you will also undergo a medical screening with a fertility specialist to make sure that you able to sustain a pregnancy. All of the records for your previous pregnancies will be reviewed to ensure they were healthy and uncomplicated. You should be upfront about any experiences with preterm labor or miscarriage when applying to become a surrogate.

Can I become a surrogate without a previous pregnancy?

No. It is a strict requirement that surrogates have carried at least one of their own children to term in a healthy pregnancy. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine includes this in their guidelines for surrogacy and it will be a requirement with any reputable surrogacy agency, fertility clinic, and reproductive endocrinologist.

What medical conditions can disqualify you to be a surrogate mother?

ConceiveAbilities will do a thorough review of your medical and obstetrical history, conducted by registered nurses, to ensure a surrogacy journey can be healthy and successful for you, along with the baby you would carry. We consider everything from the health of your heart, to the health of your reproductive organs, to the health of your endocrine system, and more. Agencies, and the fertility clinics they work with, can vary in what medical conditions disqualify a surrogate applicant. Your doctor is also a valuable resource to advise you on your specific circumstances.

With that said, there are several conditions which may disqualify you from becoming a surrogate mother.

  • HIV can be transmitted to the baby during pregnancy or birth, so surrogates cannot test positive for HIV.
  • Preeclampsia in previous pregnancies leads to a higher likelihood in later pregnancies. The high blood pressure and kidney damage that come with preeclampsia present a health risk to the surrogate and the baby.
  • Ablation destroys a part of your uterine lining, which makes a successful implantation more unlikely. It also increases the risk of miscarriage if you do become pregnant and will disqualify you from becoming a surrogate.
  • PCOS impacts the likelihood of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and other health risks which can impact your ability to carry a baby. Your doctor can best determine the impacts of PCOS on a potential pregnancy, but PCOS may disqualify you from becoming a surrogate depending on the severity.
  • Endometriosis can make it harder to become pregnant and increase health risks to the baby if you do become pregnant. Since the severity of endometriosis varies, it’s important to seek the guidance of a doctor on how this might impact your surrogacy journey.

This is not an all-inclusive list, and there are unique medical considerations for many surrogate applicants. If you have questions, ConceiveAbilities and your doctor can educate you about how your medical conditions may impact your qualifications to become a surrogate.

I've had healthy pregnancies. Why all of these considerations?

Becoming pregnant through IVF is different than getting pregnant without intervention. The process is medically intricate, delicate, and precisely synchronized. Adherence to FDA and industry guidelines is required to maximize success of embryo implantation into your uterus. Hormone level and uterine environment have to be "just right" for an embryo to be successfully implanted.

Can you become a surrogate if your tubes are tied?

Yes. Since ConceiveAbilities is a gestational surrogacy agency, the egg used will always be from the intended mother or an egg donor. Getting your tubes tied, or a tubal ligation, works by stopping your own ovulation. It doesn’t impact the ability to transplant an embryo into your uterus successfully. Read more here.

Can you be a surrogate after a c-section?

Yes. We can accept applicants with previous caesarean sections. It is important to discuss any past C-sections with your doctor to determine the potential impacts they may have on surrogacy.

Can you be a surrogate after menopause?

No. We have an age requirement that all surrogates must generally be younger than 40 years of age and typically menopause occurs after this age. By nature, menopause is your body letting you know the reproductive period of your life has ended. Even if you are post-menopausal and meet this age requirement, becoming pregnant after menopause is highly unlikely and presents many risks to a successful surrogacy journey.

Can you be a surrogate if you have HPV?

Yes. We require the additional documentation of your colposcopy results if you are HPV positive. In the majority of cases, HPV does not impact the healthy development of a baby. It can be transmitted to the baby if you are experiencing an outbreak of genital warts, which is one of the most common side effects of HPV, during birth. If this is the case, you should be prepared to give birth via C-section.

Can you be a surrogate if you have high blood pressure?

Generally, no. High blood pressure increases the risk of preeclampsia and other pregnancy risks. It can decrease blood flow to the placenta, which may lead to low birth weight or premature birth. It can also lead to the slower growth of the baby or injury to your own major organs. Hypertension is linked to many health risks, if uncontrolled, for both you and a developing baby.

Can you be a surrogate mother if you or your children are not vaccinated?

ConceiveAbilities welcomes applicants who represent a wide range of backgrounds, values, and beliefs. We understand that there are many viewpoints surrounding vaccination and do not disqualify surrogate applicants based on whether they or their families are vaccinated. We get to know our applicants to facilitate a perfect match and supportive relationship from the start, so during your screening you should plan to discuss your beliefs and reasoning about vaccinations. ConceiveAbilities will work with you to navigate how this may impact your path to becoming a surrogate.

Reputable surrogacy agencies like ConceiveAbilities have years of experience crafting their medical requirements for surrogates with the goal of increasing chances of a successful surrogacy journey. The health of you, the surrogate, and the baby throughout surrogacy is our top priority, so we uphold strict medical standards, developed with the considerations of fertility clinics. If you have any questions about medical requirements to become a surrogate, don’t hesitate to talk with us. We are here to help every step of the way.

And, are you a woman who enjoyed a healthy and successful pregnancy? Do you have friends or family who have suffered from infertility or need assistance from someone else to build their family? Have you ever considered the role you could play in helping someone else build their family - as a surrogate? Talk to us to learn more about the possibilities to help someone else's dream come true.

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