Gestational surrogacy is still a rather new family-building process. Not only are surrogacy laws inconsistent from state to state, but many surrogacy professionals also set slightly different surrogate requirements.
If you’re thinking, “I don’t qualify for being a surrogate but I want to be one,” we highly encourage that you talk with a surrogacy professional for personal advice regarding the path ahead of you.
If you’re interested in becoming a surrogate, you probably know there are a few general qualifications that every woman must meet. Typically, a prospective surrogate must:
- Be between the ages of 21 and 45
- Have already carried at least one pregnancy successfully to term
- Be raising a child of her own in her own home
- Have the support of her spouse (if applicable)
But, what if you don’t meet one of these requirements? Can’t you still become a gestational surrogate for intended parents who are okay with your personal situation? The answer is a bit complicated. So, we’ll break down some of what you need to know below.
What If I Don’t Qualify for Being a Surrogate But I Want to Be One Anyway?
Surrogacy requirements are very serious — and they exist for a reason. But, it’s common for prospective surrogates to contact surrogacy professionals even if they don’t meet these requirements. For example, you may know a family member or friend who has asked you to be their surrogate. And, even though you may not meet all of the stated requirements, your intended parents are comfortable moving forward with a journey with you.
Unfortunately, gestational surrogacy doesn’t work that way. Surrogacy requirements exist because of recommendations from experts in the assisted reproduction field. Doctors and surrogacy professionals have studied which factors are most likely to reduce risks and lead to a successful surrogacy journey, and these requirements are not up for debate. If a surrogate and her intended parents choose to ignore these requirements, they will put themselves in physical, emotional and legal danger.
While many surrogacy professionals will understand (and appreciate!) your great desire to be a surrogate, it will not change the fact that you are ineligible for this journey if you do not meet the basic requirements to be a surrogate.
In other cases, women meet all the necessary requirements to be a surrogate, but their state laws are a problem. If this is the situation you are in, you may be wondering how to become a surrogate if you don’t live in a surrogate-friendly state.
This can be a complicated situation. Surrogacy professionals want to ensure that both intended parents and a gestational carrier have the safest surrogacy journeys possible. But, in states where surrogacy is limited to altruistic surrogacy or limited to surrogacy between related parties, it can be legally complicated to be a gestational carrier unless you meet these specific legal requirements.
If you are unsure of the surrogacy laws in your state, it’s a good idea to do some research. You can also speak with a national surrogacy agency; they will have knowledge of every state’s laws and help you determine whether being a surrogate is possible in your state. They may even have waiting intended parents who are willing to work with the legal restrictions in your state of residence.
Why Honesty is Always the Best Policy
Sometimes, when a woman knows she doesn’t meet the requirements to be a gestational carrier, she chooses to lie about or omit information from her application in an attempt to get accepted by a surrogacy professional. While her dedication to becoming a surrogate is admirable, this is not a move that will get a prospective surrogate very far.
Before you are accepted as a gestational carrier, a surrogacy professional will complete several screenings and conduct several interviews with you. They want to ensure you are 100 percent prepared for the challenges and rewards of the surrogacy process, so they will double- and triple-check your requirements to protect your safety and that of the intended parents. Your professional will collect personal documents such as medical records, birth certifications and more. You will also have to undergo an extensive medical screening at a fertility clinic before you are medically approved for surrogacy.
If you have omitted or lied about information on your initial application, it will come to light during this screening process. You will have wasted not only your time — but that of the intended parents whom you have chosen to work with, too.
Honesty is always the best policy. It ensures that your surrogacy professional truly understands your situation. In fact, certain professionals will be happy to waive certain negotiable requirements if you are up-front about your personal situation in your initial application.
How to Become a Surrogate if You Get Denied By an Agency
When prospective surrogates get disqualified by a surrogacy agency, it’s a big sign that surrogacy is not right for them. However, some prospective surrogates decide to try another route — an independent surrogacy. They find intended parents who are comfortable partnering with them, despite their medical background and lack of qualifications. Then, they expect to move forward with the surrogacy process as if nothing were wrong.
But, there is something wrong here — a surrogate is putting both herself and the intended parents at risk in this independent journey. And, it’s usually for vain, because an ineligible gestational carrier will still get turned away from a fertility clinic after screening, even if she is pursuing an independent journey.
So, if you’re wondering how to become a surrogate if you get denied by an agency, remember that there are other surrogacy professionals who will be involved in your process — and they, like a surrogacy agency, will review your qualifications before they start you on the legal and medical surrogacy process. If you don’t meet the necessary requirements, you will not be approved to be a surrogate. Instead, you should consider another way to help hopeful parents, such as egg donation.
Remember: Some surrogacy requirements can be waived based on a woman’s personal circumstances. To get more information on whether you are eligible to be a gestational carrier, please contact a surrogacy agency today.