When you become a surrogate, you are making a life-changing decision — not only for the intended parents you are helping but also for yourself. Surrogacy is one of the most amazing gifts you can give to another couple or individual, but it is also a long and sometimes challenging process that requires strength, selflessness and commitment. This leads many women to wonder: Is this the right path for me? Am I ready to begin the process? How do I become a surrogate mother?
If you are considering surrogacy, this guide will walk you through the screening, medical and legal requirements to help you decide whether you are ready to begin the surrogacy process.
Screening Requirements for Surrogates
Women looking for information on how to be a surrogate should first understand the initial requirements for prospective surrogate mothers. After contacting a surrogacy professional, the first step to becoming a surrogate is to meet the agency’s qualifications and pass its screening requirements. This screening process helps protect the health and safety of the surrogate as well as the baby and ensures you are physically and psychologically ready for the surrogacy process.
Surrogate requirements vary by agency and general qualifications for becoming a surrogate may include:
- Be within a certain age range.surrogates should be between the ages of 21 and 35;
- Have a healthy BMI of 30 or less
- No smoking or illicit drug use
- Have at least one previous successful pregnancy and no more than five vaginal births or three cesarean deliveries
- Be currently raising your child(ren) in your home
- Have no major complications from previous pregnancies
- Have no felony convictions
- Have no history of postpartum depression
- Discontinue use of antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications at least 12 months prior to surrogacy
- Wait at least 12 months since last tattoo or piercing before beginning surrogacyBe able to travel as needed for appointments
- Have a stable lifestyle and support system
If you meet our surrogacy professional’s general qualifications for surrogate mothers, you can proceed with the screening process. The surrogate screening process will vary depending on the requests of our patient, but it will often include the following elements:
- An application
- Social and medical history information
- A physical examination
- An in-home assessment
- Background checks
- A mental health evaluation
While the screening process may seem laborious, it is important for everyone involved. You can take comfort in knowing that intended parents will also be screened to ensure they too are ready for surrogacy.
Legal Requirements for Surrogates
One of the most important requirements in any surrogacy arrangement is the legal contract. Every surrogacy agreement is different depending on your circumstances and your relationship with the intended parents. Your specific legal rights and obligations will be outlined in your contract.
Prior to beginning any medical procedures, you and the intended parents must agree to and sign the contract, which will clearly outline all of the legal aspects of the surrogacy, including:
In most cases, the intended parents’ attorney will draft the contract. You will then review the contract with you own attorney to ensure that all of your requests have been included. Once all necessary revisions have been made and both parties agree to the terms of the contract, you and the intended parents will sign the paperwork and the contract becomes legally binding. At that point, you can begin receiving payments and prepare for the embryo transfer.
- Possible risks
- Your responsibilities as the surrogate
- Relinquishment of the child
- And more