Have you ever thought about becoming a gestational carrier? Has anyone ever asked you if you’d like to be a surrogate for them? As you can imagine, there is a lot that goes into choosing to be a gestational carrier. There are very specific requirements that you must meet in order to qualify.
As each state and clinic can differ when it comes to qualifications, be sure to talk with your primary care physician (PCP) or fertility specialist. You’ll want to know if there is anything that can affect your eligibility. At Virginia Frank, here are our top six gestational carrier disqualifiers:
6. Government Assistance
If you are receiving government assistance of any kind, you will automatically be disqualified. Please know that this is not a personal judgment or punishment. Far from it. Rather, it’s interpreted more that you’re unable to monetarily support your family. Being financially stable is an absolute must to be a gestational carrier. The surrogacy journey is already stressful enough without adding any further anxieties onto your plate.
Another gestational carrier disqualifier is breastfeeding. You will not be seen as eligible if you are currently breastfeeding, as your fertility and ovulation is affected during this time. Regular menstrual cycles aren’t a guarantee either. To ensure successful in vitro fertilization (IVF), you must first quit breastfeeding and be back to your typical ovulation / menstrual cycle.
While it’s entirely possible to control blood glucose levels during pregnancy, it definitely makes it harder. Health risks and the potential number of complications goes up, causing most fertility clinics and surrogacy agencies to agree that it’s better to be safe than sorry. Thus, this existing condition is considered a top gestational carrier disqualifier. They want to do their utmost to ensure that you and your baby both remain happy, safe, and healthy.
3. Recent Birth / Delivery
Women who have already been gestational carriers are welcome to do so again. However, your doctor, fertility clinic and surrogacy agency will have a say in how many times that happens through assessing your health history. If you have recently had a baby -- whether your own or one for an intended parent -- you will need to double check about any pre-existing wait times before jumping into pregnancy again. Typically, a fertility clinic will not allow you to pursue a surrogacy agreement within three months of a vaginal delivery and six months for a C-section.
2. Unsupportive Spouse / Partner
When entering into a surrogacy agreement, a solid support system is essential. To be there with you and for you in the good times and bad. Through the emotional ups and downs. Whether this is a network of friends, family members or your significant other. You need to be surrounded by people whom you can rely on. It’s something that fertility clinics and doctors take seriously.
If you are married, specifically, your partner or spouse must be included on the surrogacy contract, and in the intensive screening process. That said, an unsupportive spouse or partner will disqualify you as a gestational carrier.
1. No Previous Pregnancy
This is the number one reason that most gestational carriers get disqualified. In order to be an eligible carrier for intended parents, you must have given birth at least once or be raising a child. Specialists use this to confirm that your body is able to endure pregnancy and have a successful birth. They are also able to review your existing records that speak to your previous pregnancy history, and determine any potential risks or complications.
On the other hand, it’s difficult to anticipate something that you’ve never done before. It’s crucial that you fully understand the emotional and physical aspects before entering into a serious agreement like gestational surrogacy.
In addition to the top six gestational carrier disqualifiers mentioned above, there are several gray areas that may affect your surrogacy journey. All of these should be discussed in depth with your PCP and fertility specialist if you have any questions or concerns about these. Your providers will be the best resource when determining your risk factors, and if it will complicate your chances of being a gestational carrier.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. It affects your ability to become pregnant and increases your risk of delivering early. Depending on the severity, PCOS can lead to other conditions including: preeclampsia, endometrial cancer and gestational diabetes.
- Endometriosis: a painful disorder where the tissue that typically lines inside the uterus grows outside. The condition involves your ovaries, Fallopian tubes and the tissue that lines your pelvis. It has also been known to spread beyond and affect other organs. Depending on the severity, it can increase the chances of miscarriages or infertility.
- Weight Restrictions: eligibility for surrogacy can rest on your overall Body Mass Index (BMI). This takes into account the measure of your weight against your height. Many fertility clinics and agencies follow the national standard, which ranges between 19 and 33. It is used to determine whether or not you are healthy and the risk of complications during pregnancy.
- Mental Health History: a gestational carrier must be emotionally stable and off any or all medication associated with your diagnosis prior to pursuing surrogacy. Being able to healthfully function and legally agree is paramount. If you’re able to do so, and keep all of your counseling appointments, your mental health provider can vouch for you. However, if your condition prevents you from this, you will be disqualified.
- Miscarriages: a miscarriage before a successful pregnancy and birth is common. So, the existence of a single miscarriage isn’t enough to derail your desire to be a gestational carrier. More than one, on the other hand, warrants a discussion with your doctor and fertility specialist to assess your risks with future pregnancies.
Gestational Carrier Disqualifiers
Please know that any and all information stated above is for informational purposes only. We understand that each and every woman is an individual, and will have her own set of circumstances surrounding her health history. Thus, it’s extremely important for you to research the decision to become a gestational carrier from all sides, and to consult with your doctor and fertility specialist to assess your eligibility.
We hope that you are able to follow your dream of helping intended parents grow their family through gestational surrogacy. But, more so, we want you to be healthy and safe throughout the process. That’s why we think it’s important for you to know potential things that could halt your passion before it’s too late.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Then, in May 2018, she joined forces with Surrogacy Choices LLC. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history as an adoptee, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Virginia Frank.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and a book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.