Can You Become a Surrogate with STIs?
Can I be a surrogate if I have HPV? Can you be a surrogate mother with herpes? If you’re asking yourself any of these questions or more, check out our guide to gestational surrogacy with sexually transmitted infections.
Millions of Americans have some form of sexually transmitted infection, or STI. Therefore, many of the women who consider becoming surrogates have or had an STI at one point.
So, will having an STI disqualify you from the surrogacy process?
The answer is complicated. Regardless of personal background, every prospective surrogate must meet certain surrogacy requirements before she can pursue this journey. This is to protect her, the intended parents and the surrogacy professional she works with. Surrogacy can be a complicated and risky journey, so any prospective surrogacy must be 100 percent medically ready for the challenges ahead.
Sometimes, an STI will affect a woman’s ability to carry a child safely to term for intended parents. While we’ve offered some helpful information on this topic below, it is no way intended to be medical advice. If you have an STI and you are considering being a surrogate, the best course of action is to speak with your personal physician or a reproductive endocrinologist. They will be the best professional to determine whether surrogacy is a safe path for you.
Surrogacy & STIs: What to Know In General
In many ways, STIs have become a daily part of life for Americans. According to the American Health Association, one in two sexually active persons will contract an STI by age 25, and nearly 20 million new STIs occur every year in the United States.
If you’re considering surrogacy and reading this article, you may have a personal history of STIs. Or, you may know that you have a reoccurring STI, and you may wonder whether it will impact your ability to be a surrogate.
Here’s the deal: There are many kinds of sexually transmitted infections of varying degrees of severity and infection length. Some infections will affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant and carry a child, while others will simply cause minor inconveniences during the pregnancy and childbirth processes. Others may not affect your ability to be a surrogate at all.
Whatever your personal medical history, you will always need to undergo medical screening before you are approved for the surrogacy process. A prospective surrogate will work with her intended parents’ fertility clinic to complete screenings of her personal and sexual history, lab testing of her blood and urine, and an overall physical examination by a doctor. These steps will determine whether you can be physically and medically approved for the surrogacy process.
This will also be the time in which your doctor will evaluate the state of any STIs you (or your partner) may have. If possible, they will treat your STIs before embryo transfer, or they may inform you and the intended parents of the risk of pursuing surrogacy with these conditions. And, yes, some STIs will automatically disqualify you from surrogacy.
If you have an STI but meet the other requirements to be a surrogate, you can move forward with your application process and work with a surrogacy professional to determine if this path is right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Being a Surrogate with STIs
American men and women tend to deal with a few common STIs. If you’re interested in becoming a surrogate, you’re likely interested in how those infections will affect your ability to carry for intended parents.
Remember: The best person to talk to about your personal medical situation is always a licensed physician. Every person’s circumstances are different, and what is medically safe for one surrogate may not be for another.
However, to help you learn a bit more about how STIs can impact surrogacy, we’ve provided some general answers to the most commonly asked questions on this topic below:
1. Can I be a surrogate if I have HPV (human papillomavirus)?
Human papillomavirus is the most common STI in the United States — and many men and women don’t know they have it. HPV presents no obvious symptoms and usually resolves on its own.
Most cases of HPV will not affect a growing baby, and it’s very rare for a mother to transmit HPV to a baby she delivers. The most common symptom of HPV is genital warts. If you experience an outbreak prior to the delivery of your intended parents’ baby, you may have to undergo a cesarean-section for the baby’s safety.
In most cases, HPV cannot prevent surrogacy in a woman who wants to take this path. Honesty is always the best policy, so make sure to tell your surrogacy professional about your diagnosis during your initial screening.
2. Can you be a surrogate mother with herpes?
Similar to HPV, someone with herpes can be a surrogate, as long as their condition is properly managed. If a surrogate experiences an outbreak of genital herpes, she may need to undergo a C-section to protect the baby she delivers.
A doctor will always evaluate your medical condition to determine whether your herpes diagnosis may lead to a baby developing neonatal herpes, a rare but serious condition.
3. Can you be an HIV-positive surrogate mother?
While HIV and AIDS have become more manageable with advanced technology and medication, the condition still proves a real danger to children carried by women with HIV. You cannot be a surrogate if you have tested positive for HIV; your condition can be spread to a baby through pregnancy or childbirth.
However, it is possible for intended fathers who have contracted HIV to have a child via gestational surrogacy without passing this condition on to their child or surrogate.
4. Can I be a surrogate with Group B strep?
Group B streptococcus is a bacterial infection found in a pregnant woman’s vagina or rectum. Contrary to popular belief, group B strep is not a sexually transmitted infection; it’s a condition that develops out of normal bacteria carried in your intestines and lower genital tract.
Most babies born to women carrying group B strep are healthy; group B step only affects about 1 in every 2,000 babies born in the United States. It’s a condition that is tested for during pregnancy and can be efficiently treated with antibiotics.
If you have previously been diagnosed with group B strep during pregnancy, talk with your reproductive endocrinologist. They will determine whether this condition will affect your ability to be a surrogate.
5. Can you be a surrogate with chlamydia?
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial STI but difficult to diagnose in that it is often symptomless. If left untreated during pregnancy, it can lead to a baby contracting the condition, which can cause chlamydial conjunctivitis and chlamydial pneumonia. All pregnant women are screened for chlamydia during the first and third trimester.
When you become a surrogate, you will also be screened for STIs. If you test positive for chlamydia, you will need to take medication to cure the condition. Whether or not you can proceed with your surrogacy journey afterward will be subject to your physician’s recommendation.
6. Can you be a surrogate with gonorrhea?
Similar to chlamydia, gonorrhea is an STI that is frequently symptomless, at least at first. If treated quickly, gonorrhea can be effectively cured, preventing some of the long-term risks and effects of the condition. If left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to an increased risk of miscarriage and premature birth. It can also pass to a baby through vaginal delivery.
While you will likely be able to be a surrogate if you treat your gonorrhea quickly, the final recommendation of whether or not to proceed will always be up to your physician.
7. Can you be a surrogate with hepatitis?
Unfortunately, both hepatitis B and hepatitis C are incurable viral liver infections. They both can be transmitted from an infected woman to the child she is carrying. While an infant vaccine exists for hepatitis B, there is no such vaccine for hepatitis C.
Because of the dangers of each condition, women who have either strains of hepatitis will not be able to become gestational carriers.
Looking for more information surrogate health requirements? Contact a surrogacy professional today to determine whether this is a possible path for you.