By the time their 40s roll around, many women have completed their families and are ready to give back by helping someone else become a parent. While they may not want any more children of their own, they know they are healthy enough to carry a child for someone else and are comfortable with the risks and rewards of gestational surrogacy.
So, many surrogacy professionals get the same question: “Can I be a surrogate if I am over forty?”
The answer to this question is a bit more complicated than you may think. It’s not as cut and dry as answers about surrogacy in the 20s or surrogacy in the 30s. It depends much more on the personal and medical background of the woman interested in this surrogacy path.
Therefore, if you are wondering about becoming a surrogate in your 40s, your best option is to contact a surrogacy professional. They can walk you the screening process and decide if being a surrogate over 40 is the right path for you.
In the meantime, learn a bit more about being a gestational carrier in your 40s below.
Can a 40-Year-Old Female Be a Surrogate?
As you research the qualifications to be a gestational carrier, you may come across some conflicting information as it applies to being a surrogate over 40. Some professionals may accept women up to age 45, others will set strict limits at 40 years old, while still others will allow for 40-something (and older) surrogates on a case-by-case basis.
So, what gives?
Simply put, the decision of whether a 40-year-old (or older) female can be a surrogate will depend upon her personal situation. A gestational carrier of any age must meet certain requirements to start this journey — requirements that provide the best chance of success for her and her intended parents. Remember, intended parents come to the surrogacy process wanting a child quickly and safely. Any surrogate who carries for them must prove she can do so, no matter her age.
This is where things get complicated with prospective surrogates over 40 years old. Some women can safely carry a child to term well into their 40s, while others cannot. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that surrogate be between the ages of 21 and 45, with surrogates over 45 being acceptable as long as all parties are “informed about the potential risks of pregnancy with advancing maternal age.”
Why Being a Surrogate Over 40 is So Complicated
What exactly are these risks? And why, if she is committed to the surrogacy process and aware of these risks, can’t a woman become a surrogate after the age of 40?
As mentioned above, surrogacy professionals want to work with surrogates who can give intended parents the best chance of success. And, while every surrogate candidate is unique, many women who are over the age of 40 will experience increased physical risks during the pregnancy and childbirth process.
Being a surrogate over 40 exposes you to increased risks of:
- Difficulty getting pregnant
- Miscarriage and stillbirth
- Gestational diabetes
- Aches and pains
- Cesarean-section deliveries
- Low-birth-weight babies
- And more
Many intended parents are uncomfortable with these increased risks to their surrogate and the child she will carry. Similarly, many surrogacy professionals will be wary of approving surrogate candidates in their 40s because of these increased dangers.
However, because every woman’s personal background is different, if you are in your early 40s and considering surrogacy, it may still be worth your time to contact a surrogate professional. If you are thinking, “I’m 42 (or any other age) but want to be a surrogate,” you may still be approved for this journey if you meet all the other requirements for surrogacy.
How Can I Be a Surrogate if I am Over Forty?
So, how does a prospective surrogate over the age of 40 get approved for the surrogacy process?
Typically, this kind of woman will need to complete an independent surrogacy to reach her surrogacy goals. Many surrogacy professionals will not accept surrogate candidates who fall outside of their accepted age range, but fertility clinics are often less likely to set strict age requirements if they determine that a woman is healthy enough for surrogacy.
In an independent surrogacy, you will need to locate your intended parents on your own. You will need to find intended parents who are comfortable with the risks of a woman in her 40s carrying their child, and you will need to screen and interview them by yourself. It will be extra responsibility on your part but, if you are committed to being a surrogate over 40, it may be the best path for you.
Regardless of whether you work with an agency or on your own, you will need to be medically screened for the surrogacy process. This will be the ultimate determination of whether or not surrogacy is possible for you. A reproductive endocrinologist will evaluate your reproductive organs and overall health for pregnancy and childbirth potential. If they approve you, you and your intended parents will be able to move forward with the gestational surrogacy process.
So, if you’re interested in being a surrogate mother at age 44, a surrogate at 47 or anything in between, remember that your eligibility for this process will always be determined by a surrogacy professional. Interested in this path? Contact an experienced professional today to get started.