We all know that among the most important requirements to the surrogate mother is her excellent health condition. Each woman who wants to become a surrogate mother has to meet all these requirements in order to give birth to the absolutely healthy baby.
From the surrogate mother, each couple expects the healthy baby and the absence of any health complication after the child birth. Genetically native parents spend significant money amount for surrogate mother, her medical examination, and procedures during the whole period of pregnancy. There is also the emotional side of surrogacy because besides money the couple invests their emotions and a great deal of their time in surrogacy and, of course, what everything to be excellent.
If you are going to try yourself as a surrogate mom, you have to meet the certain requirements for your health. These standards were created in order not only to ensure that you are able to go through such difficult medical procedures as in-vitro fertilization but also to carry and give birth to a healthy child.
Health requirements for surrogate mothers may differ in different clinics but here is a certain order of screening which will be held when you decide to become a surrogate. This screening is similar in all surrogacy agencies and includes several steps:
- Filling the application form. The first step is to provide the surrogacy agency with the information about you, your motivation to become a surrogate mom, and your previous pregnancies or surrogacies (if any);
- Background screening. The second step of screening consists of checking the criminal background and financial state of a surrogate in order to ensure that she is not going to be fully dependent from the compensations from genetically native parents of a child. This step is necessary for biological parents to ensure that the surrogate fits their requirements and doesn’t have a criminal past;
- Psychological screening. It’s obvious that the surrogate has to be healthy not only physically but mentally also. At this stage, a specialist from the surrogacy agency, as a rule, arrange an appointment and check the mental health of a surrogate and her spouse (if any) in order to ensure that woman is absolutely ready to surrogacy process. The specialist checks the surrogate’s mental condition now and asks some questions which can help him to understand how the surrogate will feel during the pregnancy and after giving birth to a baby;
- Health screening. The stage of health screening is the most important as each couple after paying significant money amount and spending a lot of their time and efforts, wants to get a healthy baby without any complications after its birth. The doctor will carry the general examination of the surrogate’s health condition, check her sexual life, and do lab analyses of the urine and blood. Also, the fertility specialist will check the surrogate in order to ensure that she is ready for carrying such medical procedures as in-vitro fertilization and to be pregnant.
These are only three steps or rather stages of the preparation to the surrogacy process. Each surrogate agency has its own requirements about the health condition of a surrogate and it’s quite hard to find the one and only list with these requirements on the Internet. The requirements that are similar for all agencies are that the surrogate has to completely abandon alcohol and smoking during the whole period of pregnancy in order to bear the healthy baby. Among other requirements that are similar at the majority of agencies are that the surrogate has to have its own healthy child and spouse support for conducting surrogacy.
We created this article in order to give answers to the most frequently asked question about the surrogate health. Here we have twenty the most common questions which we found on various surrogacy forums online. Check them all and hope you will find the necessary answers to questions that you also wanted to ask.
20 FAQ to the Surrogates
Question #1: Can a woman be a surrogate if she has diabetes?
Even despite the fact that with a diabetes woman can bear and give birth to an absolutely healthy child, the majority of surrogacy agencies prefer to disqualify the candidate with such diagnosis just to be completely reinsured from all possible health problems to the surrogate and the baby. In addition to this, if the surrogate has a diagnosis of Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes it will be difficult to control the glucose level in the blood during the period of pregnancy.
Question #2: Can a woman with a sickle cell become a surrogate mother?
Speaking shortly – no, she can’t. With such diagnosis as a sickle cell, it is too risky to become pregnant. And this risk spreads not only on a surrogate but on a baby also. With this diagnosis, the probability of complications during and after pregnancy is dangerously high. Also, there is a high risk of miscarriage or premature birth. These are more than enough reasons to disqualify such candidate from the list of women deciding to try themselves as surrogate moms.
Question #3: If in the family of a woman were cases of mental illness, can she become a surrogate?
Mental illness of the surrogate or members of her family can be a serious reason to disqualify her from the list of candidates. As it was mentioned above, the surrogate has to be mentally and physically healthy in order to give birth to a healthy baby. Moreover, the surrogacy process is full of different emotions, so the surrogate has to be emotionally stable to cope with all of the positive and negative moments during her pregnancy and after childbirth.
Question #4: Are there some weight limits to a surrogate?
The majority of the modern surrogacy agencies and clinics choose a surrogate by basing on their body mass index (or BMI standard). With this index, it becomes clear whether it is normal and healthy to have such weight for the surrogate’s height. This index is calculated by specialists but the surrogate can also do it easily. The normal body mass index is equal to 19-33. The main reason of such calculation is to eliminate all the possible risks during the pregnancy period and after it.
Question #5: How many times can a woman be a surrogate mother?
You will hardly find a clear answer to this question. The final decision about how many times can a woman be a surrogate is always by the surrogacy agency or clinic specialists. There are a lot of moments that should be taken into account prior to deciding whether it’s possible for a woman to be a surrogate again or not. To get the clear answer woman should pass through some medical examinations and tests. Without them, it’s impossible to state that the current number of pregnancies is too much or not.
Question #6: Can a woman be a surrogate if she doesn’t have her own child?
We all heard that one of the main requirements of surrogacy agencies is the presence of at least one healthy child of a candidate to the surrogate mom. But what if a woman doesn’t have it or even has never been pregnant? In the most cases, such candidate nowadays will be refused. The explanation of such decision is very simple – a lot of uncertainties. What does it mean? In case if a woman has never been pregnant doctors don’t know will she be able to carry a healthy child in time or maybe she even can’t become pregnant? To avoid possible risks, the answer to this question will be – no, she can’t.
Question #7: Can a breastfeeding woman become a surrogate?
A woman can continue breastfeeding at the stage of application and screening but after that, she will have to stop it and resume her normal menstrual cycle, otherwise, there are no guarantees that the process of in-vitro fertilization will be successful. Specialists claim that the breastfeeding causes lack of ovulation so the chances of successful implantation an embryo will be significantly lower in comparison with the non-breastfeeding woman.
Question #8: How long should a woman wait after the previous childbirth to become a surrogate?
The minimal term to wait after the childbirth to become a surrogate is three months in case of a vaginal delivery and six months in case of cesarean-section. This term may be prolonged by the decision of a surrogate agency and, as a rule, differs from one agency to another.
Question #9: Which of the previous pregnancy complications can be reasons to refuse the application?
One of the main aspect to accept the application and give a woman a chance to become a surrogate mother is her previous healthy pregnancy. Doctors will carefully examine the conditions of your previous pregnancy and in case of such complications as miscarriage, preterm labor or placenta previa you will more likely to be refused in order to prevent similar complications in case of the next pregnancy. Each candidate should talk to a specialist who will make the final decision about whether you are ready to become a surrogate or not.
Question #10: Can a woman with menopause apply as a candidate to surrogacy mothers?
As a rule, menopause comes when the woman’s age is forty years and higher, that is more than the majority of modern agencies require. But even if skip this fact, menopause is a great risk of complications during the pregnancy for both surrogate and a baby. The chance that such woman can become a successful surrogate mom is too low to accept such application.
Question #11: Can a woman with the adenomyosis diagnosis be a surrogate?
Woman with such diagnosis can be treated with the hormone therapy and then become a surrogate, however, it’s entirely up to the doctor whether a woman with adenomyosis is able to successfully pass through the embryo implantation process or not. Because adenomyosis means that the endometrial tissue growth into the uterus (its muscle layer) there is a high risk that problems with the embryo implantation may occur. In many cases, such candidate will be refused in order to minimize all possible risks.
Question #12: Can a woman with a polycystic ovarian syndrome can become a surrogate?
As the PCOS affects the woman’s ovulation, it also may affect the gestational-type pregnancy. As a rule, a woman with such diagnosis has a high risk to give birth to the preterm baby, to experience gestational diabetes or endometrial cancer, and in the majority of cases require the cesarean section. It should be the decision of a doctor but most probably such candidate will be refused in order to prevent possible harm to the health for both the baby and the surrogate.
Question #13: Can a woman with endometriosis diagnosis apply for a surrogate position?
In this case, everything depends on how severe your condition is. As a rule, endometriosis influences your chances to become pregnant and significantly increase the risk of miscarriage. It should be the decision of your doctor but in many cases, this diagnosis may affect your chances to carry and give birth to the healthy baby.
Question #14: Can a woman after ablation be a surrogate?
Specialists claim that after ablation chance to get pregnant is much lower but even if a woman got pregnant, there is a high risk that some complications may occur during the pregnancy. Also, such women have the increased risk of miscarriage which is highly not desirable in case of surrogacy maternity. Most of the modern agencies and clinics will disqualify the candidate with such diagnosis.
Question #15: Can a woman be a surrogate after the preeclampsia?
It should be the decision of your doctor but in the majority of cases, preeclampsia after occurring once can develop again. This condition threatens both surrogate’s and baby’s lives as it causes high blood pressure and kidney damage. Each case is specific and the answer to his question depends on how severe your condition is but in the most cases such candidate will be disqualified.
Question #16: Can the HIV-positive woman become a surrogate?
The answer to this question is pretty obvious but we will write it – no. Because of the fact that HIV in the most cases spreads to a baby during a pregnancy, you will be immediately disqualified from the list of candidates to surrogate mothers if your HIV test showed positive result.
Question #17: Can a woman with herpes become a surrogate?
In according to the medical statistic, there were only a few cases when a baby was born with defects because of the surrogate mother with helps diagnosis. However, in such case, it should be noted that such candidates need only cesarean section.
Question #18: Can a woman with human papillomavirus (HPV) be a surrogate mother?
This case is similar to the previous one and the risk that child will be born with some defects is minimal. AS well as in the previous case, such candidate may need the cesarean section in order to prevent the virus transmission to the baby.
Question #19: Can a woman after a tubal ligation become a surrogate mother?
After the procedure of tubal ligation woman is not able to have her own child but in case of gestational surrogacy when the egg of a genetically native mother or donor is used, she can carry a healthy baby without any complications. The tubal ligation doesn’t prevent the procedure of implanting an embryo into the surrogate’s uterus.
Question #20: What are the age limits for a surrogate?
There is no certain answer to this question as different surrogacy agencies have different age requirements. However, in the most cases, the age of a surrogate varies from ninety to forty years. If a candidate is older than forty years the risk of complications during pregnancy significantly rises, so nine of ten surrogacy agencies will prefer a younger woman to minimize all possible risks.
So, we presented answers to the most frequent questions about the surrogate’s health, however, these questions may vary from one agency to another. It’s important for intended parents to discuss all health requirements with the surrogacy agency and your doctor in order to prevent risks to the surrogate’s and your baby’s health.