Surrogacy is a common aspect of fertility treatment. Surrogacy provides a gestational carrier to women who have fertility issues that make carrying a child impossible, or for gay couples who want a genetic link to their child.
When working with a surrogate, patients at the Center For Fertility and Gynecology, serving Los Angeles, CA, Tarzana,CA, Bakersfield, CA, and surrounding areas, may choose to work with a known surrogate or one chosen from a surrogate agency. Whichever situation patients prefer, it is vital that the surrogate is an ideal candidate for fertility treatment. Here we discuss surrogate qualifications that are considered during the screening process to find suitable surrogates.
Physical Qualifications for Surrogacy
Pregnancy always carries a degree of risk. When selecting a surrogate, it is important that the candidate is in ideal physical shape to carry a pregnancy full-term, with minimal risk of complications. For women who are considering becoming a surrogate, or for couples who have a friend or family member who is interested in serving as a surrogate, there are certain physical qualifications that they should be aware of. Every surrogacy agency has their own unique guidelines, but generally potential surrogates are expected to meet these physical qualifications:
- Be within the reproductive stage of their life (at least 21 years of age, but younger than 40)
- Have a healthy BMI (body mass index)
- Have carried at least one pregnancy to full-term
- Have a history of pregnancy (or pregnancies) that are free of complications
- Have used no antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication for at least 12 months prior to the surrogacy
- Have received no new tattoos or piercings 12 months prior to starting fertility treatment
Psychological Qualifications for Surrogacy
Physical health is only one aspect of surrogate candidacy. It is also vital that potential candidates meet psychological qualifications. Surrogates and their families should be well-prepared for the mental and emotional toll of surrogacy.
Surrogates will work with their intended families for approximately one year. During that time, a great deal of their energy will be focused on fertility treatment. Surrogates will attend regular doctor’s appointments and will meet and/or speak with their intended families often throughout treatment. This can put a strain on the surrogate’s usual routine, especially as the body changes and hormone levels fluctuate throughout pregnancy. It is essential that surrogates have a plan for handling these challenges, and that they are prepared for the different emotions they may feel throughout the pregnancy.
Completion of a Surrogacy Screening
Even if an intended surrogate meets the physical qualifications of surrogacy and believes that they are emotionally prepared for the experience, they do not get to decide if they are an ideal candidate for the process. Potential surrogates must undergo medical and psychological screening with a surrogacy agency or with a fertility clinic. It is only after thorough fertility testing and discussions with psychologists and/or surrogacy professionals that someone can be deemed an appropriate surrogate.
If you are considering fertility treatment with a surrogate, the specialists at the Center for Fertility and Gynecology would be happy to assist you in learning more about the process, and in finding a well-qualified surrogate. To learn more, send us a message online, or call (818) 881-9800.