Being a surrogate is beautiful and amazing, but it’s also quite intense, which is why it isn’t for just anyone! Even if you’re genuinely passionate about helping someone start a family, you’ll first need to meet some strict criteria – and know what disqualifies you. 

Let’s go over the things that could prevent you from becoming a surrogate. 

The wrong location

The first thing that will disqualify you is if you don’t live in the United States. Surrogacy laws in the U.S. are generally favorable, which is why we at Family Source Consultants only accept candidates who are residents of the U.S. 

However, you may also be disqualified if you live in one of the U.S. states that don’t allow surrogacy, such as Michigan, Louisiana, and Nebraska. 

An unhealthy BMI

Your BMI plays a big part in qualifying as a surrogate. 

For a start, being overweight reduces the success rate of fertility treatment and IVF, which is obviously not ideal for a surrogate.  

A higher percentage of body fat increases your risk of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gestational diabetes, and many other problems. In other words, it’s risky for both you and the baby. 

Intended Parents need to know that their surrogate is healthy enough to carry their much-longed-for baby. 

Relying on public assistance

Being financially stable is a must. Both the agency and the Intended Parents need to know that you can take care of yourself, and their unborn child, without relying on government assistance. 

It’s also important for IPs to know that you’re not choosing to become a surrogate solely for the monetary benefits.  

You haven’t given birth before

Even if you’re perfectly healthy and have no physical or medical reasons for not being able to carry a pregnancy, you can’t become a surrogate if you’ve never given birth before. Your Intended Parents need to know that you can carry a pregnancy to term and give birth to a healthy child. 

You also must be raising or have already raised at least one child. This helps to reduce the chances of you having an emotional connection to the child you give birth to as a surrogate.

You’re under 21 or over 42

While some agencies may accept women up to age 45, the general age range for surrogates is 21-42. And for good reasons. 

When you reach your 40s, your risk of pregnancy-related difficulties increases substantially. You are less likely to get pregnant and more likely to suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth. You’re also at a higher risk of gestational diabetes and other complications, like aches and pains, a cesarean birth, and low birth weight. 

If you’re under 21, a different set of reasons apply, most of which have to do with physical and emotional maturity. Having a baby takes an enormous amount of time and commitment, which can be both socially and psychologically challenging. 

In some states, specific laws require gestational surrogates to reach a minimum age before becoming a surrogate. 

Your lifestyle choices aren’t suitable

Smoking or using drugs (including marijuana) is simply out of the question. Both tobacco and recreational drugs deliver harmful toxins into your bloodstream, which is a serious risk to your own health. Worse still, these toxins increase the risk of miscarriage, congenital deformities, asthma, premature birth, and low birth weight. 

A criminal history will also rule you out of becoming a surrogate, as will having a partner who has a criminal history. Again, Intended Parents need to know that their baby is being carried by someone with a stable background and good moral sense.

You’re on medications for depression or anxiety

It’s important for surrogates to be honest about their mental health and you’ll need to be able to pass a mental health screening to become a surrogate. There’s no shame in having used antidepressant medication, but in order to become a surrogate, you must be in good mental health without any medication.

Additionally, just like smoking or alcohol pose harm to the baby you’re carrying, these medications may also increase risks.

Most agencies require that you stop using any antidepressants and/or anxiety medications for 6 months to a year.

You are currently breastfeeding

To become a surrogate, you cannot be currently breastfeeding. This is because your body produces different hormones when producing breast milk, which can cause difficulties with taking fertility medication. During surrogacy, your hormones will be controlled, which could affect the quality and production of your breast milk. You will also need to have returned to a normal monthly menstrual cycle. 

Your partner doesn’t agree

Your partner’s support is crucial. Being a surrogate is an emotional rollercoaster of ups and downs, and you need to be loved and cared for at all times. Your psychological health plays a major part in your pregnancy, and it makes sense that the baby’s future parents will want you to be happy and healthy throughout. You’ll also need to rely on your partner to be there to take you to appointments if necessary or be there for you if something goes wrong. 

Need more information?

If you’re still not sure whether you’ll qualify as a surrogate, please get in touch with Family Source Consultants. We’re always eager to hear those who are interested in joining our amazing team. And there’s no question we can’t answer! 

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.