Surrogacy is a noble act for any woman to consider; becoming a gestational carrier for another family takes courage, compassion and commitment. It also requires some very specific characteristics, without which starting a surrogacy journey may not be possible.
Why the strict criteria for surrogates? Because the health of both the gestational carrier and the baby are at stake in this very delicate process. While the specifics may vary slightly from one fertility clinic to another, and even from one surrogate to another, the guidelines are in place to help ensure a safe, smooth experience for everyone involved.
At a reputable agency like ConceiveAbilities, several surrogacy requirements must be met right from the start:
Surrogacy is a rigorous process requiring a great deal of personal responsibility. These standards are part of our process at ConceiveAbilities to ensure that a gestational carrier is in the best possible place, physically and emotionally to manage such a unique process and pregnancy.
The requirements leave many women wondering: if all other criteria are met, does the age limit of a surrogate really matter? Can you be a surrogate after 40? While there may be rare exceptions, most gestational carriers, especially those who are matched through a reputable agency, are between the ages of 21-39 years old.
In order to ensure the healthiest possible environment for a growing baby and to offer the best chance of a safe and healthy delivery for both her and the newborn, the surrogate must be in her primary childbearing years. The pregnancy itself is more susceptible to complications when the surrogate is outside of this range. According to the Mayo Clinic, women past a certain age are more likely to:
It is in the gestational carrier’s best interest to be within the range of 21-39 years old for other reasons, too. The long-term toll on her body is not nearly as intense and most women find they have a smoother recovery.
While you technically can be a surrogate if you have gone through menopause – think of the stories of a postmenopausal woman giving birth to her own grandchild – it is not a recommended practice, due to a myriad of age-related complications.
Even better, take 5 minutes and find out if you qualify to be a surrogate with your own personalized questionnaire.