What is the Minimum Age to Be a Surrogate Mother?

Want to be a surrogate — but not sure if you’re old enough to take this journey? Find out what the surrogate mother minimum age is here and why surrogacy professionals set this age requirement.

For many women, surrogacy is a dream that starts early in life. They may have read a story about gestational surrogacy or personally know a surrogate and thought to themselves, “Wow, I want to do that!” Some young women anxiously await the day they turn 18 and are legal adults — finally able to commit to the challenges and rewards of the gestational surrogacy process.

However, becoming a gestational surrogate isn’t actually possible at 18. To protect all parties involved — but especially the surrogate at the center of the journey — surrogacy professionals set a surrogate mother minimum age that eliminates teenagers from becoming gestational carriers.

If you are a young woman wanting to be a surrogate, finding out about this surrogate mother minimum age can be frustrating. If you’re ready to become a surrogate now and accept all of the risks associated with the journey, why can’t you move forward?

We encourage women to contact a surrogacy professional for a detailed answer to the question, “What is the minimum age to be a surrogate mother?” Every professional is different, but your local professional can best determine whether you are able to proceed with surrogacy at your age.

In the meantime, keep reading to learn some basic information about what the legal age to be a surrogate mother is — and why.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Be a Surrogate Mother?

Every surrogacy professional — surrogacy agency, surrogacy attorney, and fertility clinic — sets a surrogate mother minimum age requirement for all of its gestational carriers. Surrogacy can be a complicated and difficult journey, so surrogacy professionals set their minimum age requirements based on what they’ve determined is the earliest age that a woman can accept these responsibilities.

Many of these professionals set age requirements based on recommendations from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. These are general recommendations established by experts in the field, who have determined the best personal health circumstances for a prospective surrogate. The ASRM states that “carriers must be of legal age and preferably between the ages of 21 and 45.”

Therefore, when you contact surrogacy professionals about how old you must be to be a surrogate, you will often get the same response: 21 years old.

While it may be legal for a woman to enter the surrogacy process at 18, you will be hard-pressed to find a professional who will allow a woman this young to become a gestational carrier. This is for several reasons, which we’ll outline below.

Why is There a Surrogate Mother Minimum Age?

If you want to be a surrogate at a young age, you may wonder why there even is a minimum age to be a surrogate mother. Why can’t women who find their own intended parents complete the surrogacy process once they are 18?

There are a few reasons why surrogacy professionals tend to set a surrogate mother minimum age at 21 years old. It’s all based on experience with previous surrogacies and the knowledge of what will make a journey most successful. Surrogacy professionals and intended parents look for certain qualities in prospective surrogates, and those often can’t be found before age 21.

Of course, every surrogate’s situation and every professional’s preferences are different, but here are a few reasons why you have to be at least 21 years old to be a gestational carrier:

Now you know a bit more about age requirements in gestational surrogacy. But, if you’re still asking, “How old do you have to be to be surrogate mother — and why can’t I be a surrogate earlier than 21?” we encourage you to speak with a local surrogacy professional. There are many requirements that contribute to approval for surrogacy, and age is just one of them. A surrogacy professional can answer all of your questions and get you the information you need to become a gestational surrogate — once you’re old enough to do so.

In the meantime, know this: Surrogate mother minimum age is 21, with no exceptions. While it may be frustrating, this requirement exists for one main reason — to protect yourself from a journey you’re not quite ready for.

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