Becoming a surrogate is an amazing service for individuals and couples who aren’t able to conceive and/or carry their own baby. On their behalf – we say, “thank you, thank you, thank you!” There are two different ways to be surrogate.
The first utilizes IUI or IVF and your body – with you donating your own eggs. This is the “original” method of surrogacy. The second is to be a gestational carrier, which means you are willing to carry a baby that was conceived using someone else’s egg – either the intended mother’s or donor egg.
What does it take to become a surrogate?
While each fertility center may have slight variations in requirements, the majority of the steps taken to become a surrogate are similar across the board.
The primary goal of the screening process is to ensure surrogates and gestational carriers are physically, mentally and emotionally healthy, and that there are no potential legal entanglements that would pose challenges for the intended parents down the road.
Surrogate mothers must:
- Be legal U.S. Citizens
- Be between the ages of 21 and 40 (some agencies may have slightly different age ranges)
- Have a valid driver’s license and a dependable car
- Have a stable living situation
- Not receive any type of state or federal welfare
- Have a clear, criminal background check (no prior criminal convictions)
- Live in a surrogate-friendly state (Washington is surrogate-friendly, but does not allow any form of compensation. Any proof of compensation makes the surrogacy void and unenforceable). This means you may need to work with a surrogate or gestational carrier from out-of-state.
- Must have been pregnant and given birth to at least one child
- Not have had any major complications during previous pregnancies and/or labor and deliveries
There may be more specific qualifications as well, such as a BMI between 18 and 34, no history of mental illness, being a non-smoker and living in a non-smoking household, proof that you’re financially sound, etc.
What is the process for becoming a surrogate or gestational carrier?
The first step is to get in touch with one of the many surrogacy clinics around the state and/or the nation. Determine which agency feels like the best fit for you and contact them. Typically, prospective surrogates:
Need a complete medical workup
The agency will want you to have a complete physical and will request medical records and details pertaining to your personal and family medical history.
Participate in mental and emotional health screening
Odds are you’ll have to meet with a psychologist or therapist of some kind to assess your mental and emotional health, both currently and historically. They will ensure you understand the gravity of the responsibility you’re undertaking, and they’ll supply confirmation that they feel you are willing, able and capable to move through a pregnancy, labor and delivery that will result in you handing the baby over to the respective parent(s).
Must have spouses who are also willing to undergo screening
If you are married or have a domestic partner, most agencies will want to screen your partner as well to make sure s/he is on board with your decision.
When these and other evaluation requirements have all be completed and met, you’ll be on your way to the treatments that will allow you to give birth to a true dream come true. Are you an Overlake patient interested in becoming a surrogate? Let us know and we’ll be happy to refer you in the right direction.