It’s not unusual for young women to harbor dreams of becoming a gestational carrier. Carrying a child for someone who can’t is a beautiful and selfless path and, for many women, it’s a dream that starts early on in their lives.
If you’ve made it to this article, you are probably asking, “Can I be a teen surrogate?” Maybe you know someone who’s been a surrogate before, or maybe you’ve heard about this journey through a viral story or report. Either way, you’ve decided that this is a path you want to pursue.
We admire your dedication to your dreams and the research necessary to get there. But, before you start contacting surrogacy professionals about becoming a teen surrogate, there are some important things you should know. We’ve laid them out for you in the article below.
Is Teen Surrogacy Possible?
First, let’s answer your biggest question: Can I be a teen surrogate?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Becoming a surrogate is a big deal; it’s a journey that requires physical and emotional commitment, regardless of the challenges. It’s not a journey for the faint of heart.
When you’re a teenager, you’re likely not stable enough to safely and successfully manage a surrogate pregnancy (and its ensuing responsibilities) on your own. You may still live at home with your parents, and it’s highly unlikely that you even meet the requirements to be a surrogate at 18, 19 or younger.
In order to become a surrogate, there are a few important qualifications you need to meet:
- Be between the ages of 21 and 45
- Have carried a pregnancy successfully to term
- Be raising a child in your own home
- Be financially stable and able to travel as needed
While it’s obvious that a teen surrogate does not meet the first stated requirement, it’s likely that she doesn’t meet the others above, either. These are non-negotiable requirements. You cannot be a surrogate if you haven’t met these qualifications, no matter how dedicated you may be or how comfortable intended parents may be with a teen surrogacy.
When you’re a minor, you are unable to consent to this incredible decision. And we’re not talking just legally — when you’re a teenager, your brain is still developing and you can’t comprehend all of the long-term responsibilities and effects this decision will have on your life. Have you thought about what would happen if you lost your fertility from this journey? What if you lost your life, as is a risk during pregnancy and childbirth?
Every prospective surrogate must evaluate these risks and rewards before moving forward with this journey. But, if you want to be a teenage surrogate, there are nuances to this decision that mean something much different than if you were in your 30s and already completed your family.
Can I Be a Surrogate Mom at 18 Years Old?
But, what if you’re not a minor — what if you want to be an 18-year-old surrogate mother?
You may think that being a legal adult will allow you to pursue this process. You may be interested in using surrogacy to pay for college or help you get on your feet during your journey to independence.
However, the answer to being a surrogate at 18, 19 or 20 is the same as it was a few years ago — it is impossible. Surrogacy professionals set surrogate age requirements at 21 for a reason, and they make no exceptions to this rule. Just because you are a legal adult doesn’t mean that professionals will accept you for the gestational surrogacy process. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine sets this standard based on experts’ opinions, and you will be hard-pressed to find any surrogacy agency, attorney or clinic that will move forward with gestational surrogacy if you are not quite 21 years old.
Instead, many of them will require you to wait a few years if you initially apply to be a surrogate at 18, 19 or 20. If you meet the rest of the health requirements to be a surrogate, you can start achieving your surrogacy dreams as soon as you are old enough.
Why Being a Teen Surrogate Is Impossible
Even researching the requirements of surrogacy, some young women still ask, “I’m 18, and I want to be a surrogate. Why can’t I move forward it my intended parents and I are both comfortable with the risks of the process?”
As mentioned above, surrogacy is a difficult journey. The challenges and risks are hard to wrap your head around if you’re still a teenager. Simply put, a teenager is not yet practically or emotionally ready to start this journey.
A surrogacy professional can always explain to you why teen surrogacy is impossible and ill-advised. Here are just a few of the reasons they may give:
- Lack of prior pregnancy: In order to be a surrogate, you must have previously carried a pregnancy to term and be caring for a child of your own. If you’re a teenager, this is a highly unlikely situation. Remember: Intended parents want a gestational carrier who has proven she can successfully carry a pregnancy to term with few risks, and an 18-year-old surrogate mother often cannot give them that guarantee.
- Physical maturity: Your body will continue to develop in your late teens and early 20s. These changes can make it difficult to predict how you will respond to a pregnancy and childbirth experience.
- Emotional maturity: Likewise, your mind continues to develop throughout your teens. You will experience a great deal of independence and responsibility for the first time, and you will discover who you truly are and what you want to do. Adding a gestational pregnancy to all of this will be exceedingly difficult.
Before you start trying to find a way to become a surrogate mother at 19 or any other age below 21, please contact a surrogacy professional. They can help you understand exactly what being a surrogate entails and why it may not be the right path for you at this time in your life. However, they can give you the information you need to move forward with surrogacy as soon as you meet the minimum age requirement to do so.