Becoming a surrogate is truly one of the most remarkable gifts that a woman can give.

When you first consider becoming a surrogate, you may be overwhelmed and have a lot of questions that you need to be answered. In this video, our surrogate ambassadors answered the top ten questions most women ask when they’re just starting out.

1. What is a gestational surrogate?

A gestational surrogate is a woman who carries a pregnancy where the baby in no way biologically related to her. You become pregnant through an IVF procedure, where they take the eggs of the intended mother or an egg donor and combine them with the sperm of the intended father or a sperm donor to create embryos. Those embryos are then implanted into the surrogate’s uterus, and the pregnancy is carried to term, just like any other pregnancy.

2. Why would someone need a surrogate?

There are so many different types of people who may need to use a gestational surrogate to build their family – from couples who have experienced infertility to single parents and gay male couples who require a compassionate woman who can bring their miracle to life.

3. As a surrogate, do I get to select who I will carry for?

Absolutely! Making a great match is one of FSC’s highest priorities! When you reach the matching phase, we’ll give you profiles of intended parents who match your requirements. Once you feel like you might have a potential match, you can meet them via video conference to ask questions, get to know each other, and decide if you’d like to continue your journey together.

4. How much do surrogates earn?

FSC makes sure that all surrogates get a great compensation package. There’s a lot of altruism and empathy involved in becoming a surrogate, but there’s also an expectation of compensation in return for your time and effort. The compensation packages include a base compensation between $38,000 – $45,000 along with additional benefits, which could add up to $60,000 or more.

5. Do I need to have my own health insurance to become a surrogate?

It is not a requirement but is preferred. If you have a health insurance policy, FSC will review the benefits to see if there is a “surrogacy exclusion.” If no exclusion is listed, they’ll use your insurance once you are released from the fertility center and seeing your OB. Intended Parents are responsible for the cost of all co-pays and deductibles.

6. Can I be a surrogate if I haven’t had a baby?

Proof that you can carry a pregnancy safely and successfully to term is a fundamental part of the requirements to become a surrogate, and it’s a requirement that’s non-negotiable. Intended parents often go through a lot before choosing surrogacy as a method to build their family, and being matched with a gestational carrier who has a proven history of healthy pregnancies gives them the best chance of success. Having previously carried a pregnancy to term and delivered a healthy child shows that you’re biologically capable of successfully carrying a baby and reduces your chances of an emotional or mental connection to any child born through your surrogacy arrangement.

7. Can I be a surrogate if my tubes are tied?

Yes. With the IVF procedure, the embryos will be implanted directly into your uterus, so having your tubes tied does not affect your ability to be a Surrogate.

8. I’ve had a miscarriage, abortion, high-risk pregnancy, or pre-term delivery. Does this disqualify me from becoming a surrogate?

Each fertility clinic has its own rules about what pregnancy-related conditions are acceptable to become a surrogate. However, some conditions like pre-term labor, placenta previa, and miscarriage may prevent you from being accepted. Your medical records would need to be reviewed before a decision could be made.

9. I’m overweight. Can I still become a surrogate?

Being overweight does not immediately disqualify you from being a surrogate, but most IVF centers will require a BMI of 33 or less. This is not intended to criticize or shame you, but rather to ensure your physical safety, reduce complications, and maximize the chances of a successful embryo transfer and viable pregnancy.

10. Why can’t I become a surrogate if I’m on public assistance?

Gestational Surrogates are required to be in a stable living situation, both emotionally and financially. A surrogate who is dependent on public assistance can actually put the intended parents’ claim of parentage in jeopardy. In many states, if the surrogate is on any type of assistance, a judge can refuse to sign off on a parentage order because it may appear that the surrogate is under financial duress or that the intended parents have exploited the surrogate’s financial situation.

In addition to putting the parentage at stake, there are strict rules regarding disclosing income when you are on government assistance. Any reimbursement you earn as a surrogate could disqualify you and your entire family from receiving benefits. Suppose the surrogate does not report the surrogacy compensation as income. In that case, it’s possible that the household would be required to repay the benefits in full and could even be found to have committed fraud which may result in jail time.

Visit our FAQ for more frequently asked questions about surrogacy!

Staci Swiderski, CEO and owner of Family Source Consultants has been involved in the field of reproductive medicine since 2002. Staci has vigorously grown the comprehensive egg donation and gestational surrogacy agency to become a worldwide leader in the third-party reproduction field. Staci is a former intended parent herself. She and her husband welcomed their son via gestational surrogacy in 2005. Additionally, Staci had the experience of assisting an infertile couple (AKA Recipient Parents) build their family through her efforts as an egg donor, with her donation resulting in the births of their son and daughter.