When you’re in your 20s, you’re entering a new era in your life. You may be starting out on your own for the first time ever — building your independence, finding love and starting your family. You may be closer than ever to reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself, and that can include being a gestational carrier.
But, can you be a surrogate in your 20s?
The answer is yes. In fact, many surrogacy professionals prefer surrogate candidates who are in this decade of their lives. Your 20s can be the healthiest time of your life, and your personal responsibilities may make this the easiest possible time to take on the commitment of gestational surrogacy. If you’re interested in pursuing surrogacy as a 20-something, this is certainly an option for you.
However, before you start preparing for this surrogacy journey, there are some important questions you’ll need to ask yourself about being a surrogate in your 20s. We’ve talked you through some of them below.
1. Are you at least 21 years old?
Many times, women ask surrogacy professionals, “Can you be a surrogate at 20?”
The answer is no. Every prospective surrogate must be at least 21 years old before she can be approved for surrogacy. This minimum age requirement is set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, based on what experts have identified as the best indicators of success for a gestational carrier. Therefore, professionals — including agencies, attorneys and fertility clinics — will not approve you for the surrogacy process until you are at least 21 years old.
But, if you are 21 or older and meet the rest of the requirements to be a gestational carrier, you should be approved for the journey ahead.
2. Are you and your family in a financially stable place?
Your 20s can be an exciting time in your life — full of ups and downs as you figure out who you are and what you want to do. If you’re like most 20-somethings, you are experiencing independence for the first time. This might also mean financially supporting yourself for the very first time, too.
Many women see surrogacy as a way to make some extra cash, but surrogacy compensation should not be viewed as income. While it can offset some of the physical and emotional demands of surrogacy, it cannot support you (and your family).
For this reason, surrogacy professionals will require your family to be financially stable before you can start this journey. You must not be on any state or federal assistance; you must be able to maintain your family’s lifestyle without depending on surrogate compensation.
Women don’t become surrogates for the money. So, if you’re considering this path for this reason, you likely are not ready to be a gestational carrier. The only women who will be approved for surrogacy are those who can prove that their family is financially stable, even without her income (which may be reduced during her pregnancy journey).
3. Do you want to have any more children?
You should know that, in order to be a surrogate, you must have already carried a pregnancy to term with no complications and be raising a child in your own home. But, it’s equally important that you and your spouse have decided that your family is complete before you move forward with this surrogacy journey.
When you become a surrogate, you take on all the normal risks of pregnancy and childbirth. This includes risks to your health, such as the loss of your fertility. For this reason, surrogacy professionals require prospective surrogates to be finished building their own family — or at least be happy with the number of children they already have. There is always the possibility that you will complete your surrogacy journey and be unable to get pregnant again.
While many women have children in their 20s, more American women are delaying their family-building until their 30s or later. If you are in this situation where you plan to have more children later, becoming a gestational carrier may not be the right path for you at this time.
4. Have you really considered the potential risks and challenges of surrogacy?
Finally, it’s important to remember that your 20s are still the early times in your life. You have decades ahead of you to meet whatever goals you may have — but, when you become a surrogate, you may have to put those goals on hold.
Surrogacy professionals do everything they can to minimize the risks of this process and keep you safe from beginning to end. That said, as with any pregnancy, there are some risks and challenges that every prospective surrogate will be subject to. When you become a surrogate in your 20s, you must be comfortable with these risks.
And that’s without mentioning how much gestational surrogacy requires from you. During your 20s, you may be looking forward to spending time with your young child, traveling the world, and more. Being a surrogate makes this much more complicated during your pregnancy. Are you ready to balance the temporary responsibilities of surrogacy (such as doctor’s appointments, meetings with the intended parents and more) with your everyday responsibilities at work and home?
5. Are you ready to change another family’s life?
Being a surrogate is a life-changing journey — not only for you but for the intended parents you partner with. Before you become a surrogate, you should be committed to building the best relationship possible with these intended parents. In fact, many gestational carriers create lifelong friendships with their intended parents! This can only be done if you (and, by extension, your family) are ready for the time and energy needed to develop this partnership.
Despite the risks and challenges of being a surrogate in their 20s, many women find this experience to be the greatest and most fulfilling of their lives. You can, too.
If you’re curious about being a surrogate in your 20s, but you’re not sure whether it’s the right path for you, we encourage you to contact a surrogacy professional today. They can answer all of your questions about this journey and help you make the best decision for your family.
Remember: Even if you cannot be a surrogate at 20-something, you can always contact a surrogacy professional in your next decade when you’re 100 percent ready for this journey!