FAQ: What disqualifies a surrogate mother?

November 27th, 2018
What disqualifies a surrogate mother?

If you’ve considered becoming a surrogate mother, you’ve likely done plenty of research: about the medical procedures, compensation, legal contracts and more. But before you get that far, you’re probably also wondering - how do I know if I’m a candidate for surrogacy? These are some of the most frequently asked questions about what will disqualify a gestational carrier.

Can I be a surrogate anywhere in the United States?

No. Because surrogacy laws are not federally mandated and can vary from state to state (even county to county), not all states are favorable towards gestational surrogacy. Michigan, for example, forbids compensated surrogacy (altruistic surrogacy is legal), while New York bans surrogacy completely.

As an agency, it’s our responsibility to advocate for both you and the intended parents, and we can only facilitate a match if you live in a surrogacy-friendly state. Stay tuned, though; the tide is turning quickly and several states, including New Jersey and Vermont, secured laws protecting surrogacy in 2018.

To see an overview of other surrogacy laws by state, read our previous post here.

Can I be a surrogate mother if I’ve never been pregnant?

No. We do require that you have given birth to and are raising at least one child. This is partly to ensure there are prenatal and delivery records to review and confirm that you’ve had uncomplicated pregnancies and births. The other reason is emotional – it’s difficult to do something of this magnitude for someone if you haven’t done it yourself. Having already experienced pregnancy, you have some idea of what you’re undertaking as a gestational carrier.

Can I be a surrogate if I’m not married?

Yes. Being married is not a requirement, but it is important to consider who will be your support system during the surrogacy journey. You will, of course, have your match manager readily available to answer questions and offer support, along with your Surrogate Sisterhood in monthly and online support groups, but that only meets part of the need. From emotional support to the everyday logistics like childcare and housekeeping, it helps to have someone – perhaps a network of people – you can reliably depend on during the year or more of your surrogacy engagement. All gestational carriers, married or not, benefit from that support. Consider who those people are in your own life and how they might best be able to rally around you.

Can I be a surrogate if I’m receiving government assistance?

It depends. We are not able to work with women who are currently receiving welfare, using Medicaid, or supplemental security income (SSI) but other assistance programs such a supplemented childcare are not disqualifying. You should however consider whether the compensation you receive as a surrogate will make you ineligible for certain support programs.

Can I be a surrogate mother after tubal ligation?

Yes. Because it does not impact your uterus, you can be a surrogate after having a tubal ligation or getting your “tubes tied.” This form of permanent birth control will prevent you from getting pregnant naturally when an egg enters the fallopian tube to be fertilized. But because it is not your egg being used in a surrogate pregnancy, your fallopian tubes don’t need to function to become pregnant through In Vitro Fertilization.

Conversely, a woman who has had her tubes tied can have her eggs retrieved directly from her ovaries and undergo IVF to become pregnant.

Can I be a surrogate at any age?

No. Preferred candidates for surrogacy are between the ages of 21-39. Studies indicate this is the optimum age range for childbearing, meaning fewer complications and, typically, a faster recovery.
Some studies suggest the general age range is a bit broader at 19-42 years old, but for the purposes of surrogacy, it is more conservative.

For a full list of qualifications to be a surrogate mother, visit our website for surrogacy requirements. If you meet the criteria, we’d love to learn more about you! Contact our team to get started on a journey that will change your life and help create a family.