A gestational surrogate or a gestational carrier plays a very integral role in the process of surrogacy. A couple who have waited for years to start their journey as parents, finally find hope in a surrogate. They invest a great deal of time, money, emotions, and trust in the surrogacy journey. Thus, as a surrogate, you hold a crucial responsibility.
Considering the great role a surrogate has to play, surrogacy professionals and intended parents look for certain criteria in a potential surrogacy candidate. These criteria in surrogacy terminology are referred to as ‘requirement to become a surrogate’.
These requirements evaluate a candidate on several grounds – physical, medical, psychological, to decide whether she is fit for becoming a surrogate mother or not. These health and lifestyle standards ensure that you are fit to go through fertility treatments and medical procedures. It also analyzes if you are fit for carrying the pregnancy to full term with no complications for you and the child.
If you’re considering becoming a surrogate mother, you must know these criteria. If you pass them, your journey as a surrogate will kickstart. However, there are certain things that disqualify you from becoming a surrogate mother.
What are these? Let’s find out.
What can disqualify you from becoming a surrogate mother?
- History of depression or consuming antidepressants
If you are struggling with depression or have a past history of consuming antidepressants, you can’t become a surrogate. If you didn’t receive proper treatment for depression or if it resurfaces during the pregnancy, you can become a risk for yourself, the child, and the intended parents.
- Diagnosed with PCOS
PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a condition in which small cysts develop in the ovaries that can decrease your chances of conceiving a baby. It is one of the biggest causes of infertility in young women. If you have PCOS, you cannot enroll as a surrogate.
- Condition of Preeclampsia
It is a condition that leads to kidney damage and high blood pressure. If you have this condition, it can create problems during pregnancy. And, if you had it once, chances are you are likely to develop it in future pregnancies as well. Hence, surrogacy professionals never allow women with preeclampsia to become a gestational carrier.
One of the primary requirements of becoming surrogate is a healthy BMI. If you’re overweight or obese, you cannot become a surrogate. A healthy weight is important to deliver a healthy baby and experience a happy pregnancy period.
- Condition of Lupus
Lupus is a very rare condition. Less than 50% of pregnant women who have lupus can face complications. Still, Lupus pregnancies are considered very risky. It can lead to premature birth, miscarriage, and preeclampsia. It can also develop heart problems in the baby. So, if you have lupus, it discourages you from your dream of becoming a surrogate.
- You never had a baby
In gestational surrogacy, one of the primary requirements for becoming a surrogate mother is to have at least one successful pregnancy and a child through it. Having past experience of pregnancy can simplify things for you and the agency. This simply means you know how to take care of you and your baby during the pregnancy term to ensure safe and healthy delivery.
- Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B patients
Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B are liver infections that can transmit from the pregnant mother to her child in the womb. If you are diagnosed with any of these conditions, there is a risk that the child can also inherit the same from you. Hence, agencies and intended parents avoid taking this risk.
- Undergone Hysterectomy
The uterus is integral for carrying the baby. As a surrogate, it is true that you will not have any biological link with the child, but still, your uterus will serve as a host for the baby. If due to any reason, you have undergone hysterectomy i.e. removal of the uterus, you cannot become a surrogate. However, the removal of the uterus does not affect the functioning of egg production, and you can still become an egg donor.
- Aged over 40
The ideal age of a surrogate mother must be between 18 to 40 years. This is because this is the most reproductive stage of a woman. Some agencies even prefer women between 20 to 28 years as a surrogate. So, if you’re above 40 years of age, your chances of getting selected as a surrogate are less. However, you can still try, as some agencies have a relaxation of up to 45 years as well.
- Condition of endometriosis
Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue of the uterus lining appears on the outer side of other reproductive organs. A woman with endometriosis can still have her regular periods but they are painful as the endometrial tissue thickens and bleeds.
- Being HIV positive
Though medical science has made great advances in HIV treatment and its prevention, still there is a risk of HIV getting transmitted to the unborn child. Surrogacy professionals normally avoid permitting HIV-positive women to serve as a surrogate. Still, you can ask your agency once to know their policy on the same.
- Living in surrogacy-ban areas
There are some regions like New York or Michigan where some elements of surrogacy contracts are banned. Surrogacy regulations and laws vary greatly from country to country and even in states within the same country. Before becoming a surrogate mother, you must carefully study the surrogacy law of the state. If you belong to a region where surrogacy is not considered legal, it can decrease your chances to become a potential surrogate.
Apart from these factors, not meeting the required lifestyle standards can also disqualify you from being a surrogate. Like being a smoker or a drug addict or living in a locality or household where members smoke.
Surrogacy requirements and disqualifications can vary from agency to agency too. To know more, you must contact a surrogacy agency and ask them to share the requirements with you.