Being a surrogate mother is a life-affirming experience. For most, it's not about the money: the financial compensation is certainly helpful, as the complete process (including recovery time) can take longer than a year. There is also the benefit of helping intended parents start a family which they would otherwise be unable to have, one which includes their own genetic offspring. There are many situations which make this otherwise unattainable, such as biological impediments or same-sex relationships.
Becoming a surrogate mother is a big decision. In addition to the requirements on a surrogate's time, personal convenience, and lifestyle, there are the same risks as are associated with any pregnancy.
Surrogates and intended parents may have many questions, including “what is the surrogacy process?” “How long does the entire surrogacy process take?” “Who are the intended parents?” “What role do intended parents play during pregnancy?” and “What will it be like to give up a newborn?” Each of these questions is entirely valid, and is naturally a part of the surrogate process.
Surrogate mother requirements are in place to help ensure that those who are selected from our pool of applicants are physically, emotionally, and psychologically prepared for the challenges of surrogacy. They exist to protect the surrogate, and to ensure that the intended parents' experience is everything that they imagined it would be. Most importantly, the requirements for becoming a surrogate mother are there to ensure the health and safety of both mother and child during the course of the child's development.
For ConceiveAbilities to accept her application, a candidate for becoming a surrogate mother must be between the ages of 21 and 39 years old. This takes into account studies which suggest this as the optimum age range for childbearing in general. Complications are least likely to occur during pregnancy when the mother is within this range. The mother's body will also recover more completely, and more rapidly, once the baby is born. It is worth noting that, according to some studies, this range actually begins at the age of 19, or extends as far as 42.
A surrogate mother must have given birth to, and currently be raising, at least one child of her own. Any pregnancies and deliveries in the past must have been uncomplicated, with prenatal and delivery records bearing this out. The potential surrogate's OB/GYN must also provide a clearance letter.
There are lots of different people out there, and – as the saying goes – it takes all types to make the world go 'round. ConceiveAbilities is not in the habit of condemning the lifestyles of healthy and independent adults; rather we have no judgement. The process is borne from experience and best practices and is based purely on that extent to which the safety of the unborn child is concerned.
That said, three of the primary tenets for surrogacy include:
The surrogate mother must be healthy overall, with a body mass index of between 18 and 34 (click the preceding link for an official BMI calculator). Responsible lifestyle choices are key to being accepted as a surrogate mother. Candidates must demonstrate the ability to make good decisions regarding their health, as well as that of their family members. A home check from ConceiveAbilities staff, with all persons and pets in residence being present, is a prerequisite for our consideration of a surrogate application.
There can be no history of criminal activity in the surrogate mother's background. While such activity will be taken into consideration regardless of its extent, a variety of factors are of particular importance. These include the frequency and severity of such behavior, whether or not it was committed with associates or alone, and how recently it occurred.
If you are interested in finding out more about Surrogacy, please view the links below or contact your local ConceiveAbilities contact. We’re here to assist in any aspect of the process!
Click here for ConceiveAbilities' surrogate application! We also offer additional information here about our surrogate sisterhood events!
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) offers a series of informative articles on the subject of gestational surrogacy.
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.