Becoming a surrogate mother is a fulfilling experience. To be able to change the lives of intended parents truly feels extraordinary. If you want to become a surrogate mother, you have to be prepared because it will be a long and sometimes challenging process that requires strength and commitment.
To help you get started, you should understand the surrogate qualifications. Here’s a look:
After contacting the surrogacy agency, you will be screened. This is to ensure that you meet the qualifications set by the agency. Screening is vital at the onset because it will help protect your health and safety as well as the baby. Simply put, it will determine if you are physically and psychologically ready for the journey.
The requirements vary but there are standards released by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. The standards include the following:
• Age: you must be between the ages of 21 and 45. However, there are agencies that require their surrogates to be younger or older.
• Healthy BMI (Body Mass Index): BMI is a gauge of body fat. If you have too much body-fat, there might be health risks. To become a surrogate mother, you need to have a healthy BMI, which is 30 or less.
• Previous pregnancies: at the bare minimum, you should have at least one previous successful pregnancy. For those with more than one pregnancy, it should not be more than five vaginal births or three cesarean deliveries. More importantly, there should be no major complications from previous pregnancies.
• Mental history: the agency will also determine if you have a history of postpartum depression. Aside from that, surrogate mothers should not smoke or use illicit drugs. Finally, you should have no felony convictions.
• Discontinue medications: if you are taking anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants, it is required that you discontinue use at least 12 months prior to your surrogacy.
If you meet the general qualifications, you can proceed to the actual screening. The screening process will vary from one agency to another but in general, you have to go through the following process:
• Application: this will involve general questions about you and your motivations for
pursuing surrogacy. After you submit the application, a specialist will collect more information about you.
• Medical and social history: typically this is included in your initial application but the agency may ask that you submit detailed information about your health and your family.
• Physical examination: you should expect to meet with a fertility specialist. This is for your physical exam. At the end of the day, it will determine if you are healthy enough for the surrogacy.
• Background checks: it is important that you consent to standard criminal records as well as background checks.
• Mental evaluation: you should expect to meet with a mental health care professional. This is to ensure that you understand the psychological and emotional impact of the surrogacy. The mental health care professional will determine if you are ready for the challenges of becoming a surrogate mother.
• In-home assessment: a social worker may meet you in your home to talk about your motivations and goals for considering surrogacy. This is helpful because it will give the social worker the chance to know you better.
Without a doubt, the screening process takes time and sounds laborious but nothing should keep you if you are really interested. When it seems like giving up is the answer, think that the intended parents are also screened thoroughly.