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Becoming a surrogate is an incredible way to help a family have a family that they otherwise may not be able to have. However, surrogacy can be a very serious and complex process to navigate if you aren’t aware of the risks and expectations that come with such a large decision. The best way to make sure that you are fully prepared before making this decision is to ask a professional any questions that come to mind.
There is often confusion around some of the conditions and requirements set forth for surrogates, as well as many misconceptions around the necessary health qualifications for an acceptable candidate.
In this article, we will address some of the more common questions and misconceptions, in hopes to help you make the choice to become a surrogate more confidently.
When you apply to become a surrogate, there are basic requirements that surrogate candidates must meet. For example, one of our requirements for surrogates is that they must have given birth with a healthy pregnancy and delivery to at least one child. Most surrogates have already completed their families prior to becoming surrogates.
If you are currently breastfeeding, it can affect your reproductive hormone levels. You will need to stop breastfeeding and wait for a normal menstrual cycle to return. The hormone prolactin is produced during breastfeeding, and it will stop you from ovulating and having a menstrual cycle. Normal menstrual cycles are crucial for your uterus to be prepared for an embryo transfer. While you are waiting for a normal menstrual cycle to return, you can start the application and preliminary screening process.
Having a previous C-section will not automatically disqualify you from becoming a surrogate. However, most IVF physicians do limit the numbers of previous C-sections because multiple C-sections can increase scar tissue formation that may interfere with the success of implantation of the embryo into the uterine lining. Multiple C-sections could also increase risks of premature birth and complications during delivery. Different IVF physicians have different requirements. Typically, IVF physicians cannot accept surrogate candidates who have had more than 3 C-sections.
Miscarriage will not disqualify you from becoming a surrogate as long as it is not a recurrent issue. Multiple miscarriages could be a concern to your ability to carry a pregnancy to full term. If you had more than one miscarriage before, we would recommend obtaining your previous medical records of the miscarriages, and an IVF physician will review the records to decide on case-to case basis.
Most IVF physicians can work with you if your BMI is below 32. If your BMI is over 32, we can begin the application process and work with you on bringing your BMI number down to an appropriate level. We believe that no one should be ashamed of their body weight; the reason that we require a certain BMI range is because the risks of high BMI have the potential to impact your pregnancy, your health and the baby.
These risks include:
Again, being overweight is not an automatic disqualification of becoming a surrogate, but we do need to make sure that a surrogate’s BMI will be within the acceptable range in order to proceed with surrogacy.
The answer is yes. You can be a surrogate if you had tubal ligation or had your tubes removed. This is a common misunderstanding. If you have undergone a tubal ligation, you can no longer become pregnant naturally, as your eggs can no longer travel from your ovaries through your fallopian tubes to the uterus for fertilization. However, tubal ligation does not stop your ovaries from working and does not prevent menstruation, even though the procedure does block your eggs from reaching the uterus. If you had surgery to remove your fallopian tubes instead of having them tied, it is still not an automatic disqualification if they have not been removed due to certain medical conditions.
Because it is not your eggs that are fertilized in the IVF process, your ability to have your own eggs reach the uterus does not impact the surrogacy process. This term for this type of surrogacy is called a gestational surrogate. After tubal ligation, your uterus is still a perfect environment for the implantation of the embryo.
You do not need to have insurance in order to be a surrogate. If you do not have insurance, the intended parents will cover the surrogate insurance’s cost. In fact, most medical insurance policies exclude surrogacy pregnancy coverage, so additional medical insurance and life insurance policies will be purchased by the intended parents to cover your surrogacy journey.
Yes, you can still be a surrogate if you have had HPV (Human Papillomavirus) as long as you have not had a recent outbreak and if your OBGYN can provide a clearance letter or follow up report.
You can be a surrogate regardless of your marital status. You can be a surrogate if you are not married, a single mom or live with a partner. However, if you live with a partner, the partner will also be required to go through some of the screening as well as a background check. Some IVF physicians require tests to make sure a surrogate’s partner does not have any active clinical disease or STIs (sexually transmitted infections) that might negatively affect your surrogacy pregnancy. If you are single, you can still proceed with surrogacy as long as you have a strong support network from your family or friends, because they can support you throughout the surrogacy journey. Mental and physical health are crucial in this journey, and our experienced specialist at Hatch will also support you every step of the way.
Many of our surrogate candidates find it helpful to learn about the surrogate experience by reading about our surrogates’ journeys . Becoming a surrogate can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have. Contact us today if you have any questions.