Who Can Be a Surrogate in PA? Our Surrogacy Requirements

Before you can become a surrogate in Pennsylvania, you’ll need to meet certain surrogacy requirements. These requirements are in place to protect all involved in the surrogacy process, especially intended parents and you as a prospective surrogate.

With many surrogacy professionals, including Bierly & Rabuck, qualifications for being a surrogate exist to make sure that any prospective surrogate is fully prepared for the physical, mental and emotional challenges of the surrogacy process. By requiring that a woman meet certain criteria to be a surrogate, professionals can better make sure that the surrogacy process is a positive one for her from the beginning.

The professionals at Bierly & Rabuck will always work closely with you to make sure you meet all necessary qualifications to be a surrogate and ensure a happy, successful surrogacy process moving forward. We encourage all prospective surrogates to contact us today to learn whether they can work with our surrogacy program.

Our Gestational Surrogate Requirements in PA

Who can be a surrogate with our surrogacy program?

At Bierly & Rabuck, our surrogacy requirements are based on the guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine — the national assisted reproductive technology organization that sets standards for all professionals within this field. Therefore, our gestational surrogate requirements are the same as many other surrogacy professionals.

Our medical qualifications for being a surrogate mother include:

  • Being between the ages of 21-45
  • At least one successful pregnancy
  • No more than five previous deliveries or three deliveries via cesarean section
  • A healthy BMI, usually between 19-30
  • No ongoing mental health issues and no use of antidepressants or anti-anxiety medicine for a substantial time
  • No smoking or using illicit drugs, or being a former smoker or drug user
  • At least one year’s time from the last pregnancy
  • Passing a medical screening for certain health conditions and sexually transmitted infections

These are the general medical requirements for surrogacy in our program, although surrogates may need to meet more requirements based on the fertility clinic involved in the surrogacy process. In many cases, this also includes psychological and mental health screening and testing. This testing makes sure a woman understands the demands of the surrogacy process and is fully prepared to tackle them in a positive manner. It’s usually completed before a match is solidified with intended parents.

In addition, women who want to become surrogates should be prepared to undergo criminal and background clearances before they can be matched with any intended parents. They should also be financially stable and have the support of their spouse before moving forward with the surrogacy process. A woman’s spouse is an important part of her surrogacy journey; he or she must be supportive of the decision and sign the surrogacy legal contract, as well.

If you want to learn more about our program’s requirements for being a surrogate, please contact our offices today at 814-237-7900. Exceptions may apply on a case-by-case basis, and our professionals can discuss your individual situation with you in more detail.

Frequently Asked Questions About Surrogacy Requirements

As mentioned, many of the qualifications to be a surrogate will be determined by the fertility clinic that you and your intended parents choose to work with. Many of these fertility professionals have specific requirements for their programs that may go beyond the requirements of our own program.

As you’re considering becoming a surrogate in Pennsylvania, you may have specific questions about how your own circumstances may impact your ability to be a surrogate. While our surrogacy professionals and a surrogacy clinic will work together to determine whether you meet the requirements for surrogacy in Pennsylvania, we’ve also answered some more common questions here.

As always, please contact a professional to learn more about meeting gestational surrogate requirements.

  1. Why are there age restrictions for surrogacy?

Surrogacy and pregnancy are both monumental decisions to make, which is why many surrogacy professionals require a woman to be 21 years old before she enters this process. Mental maturity is an important part of handling the challenges of surrogacy. This is why many who ask, “Can I be a teen surrogate?” won’t be able to complete the surrogacy process, even if they are 18 years old. However, once they turn 21 and have had a successful pregnancy, they will meet the necessary age requirements for surrogate mothers.

The age limit on surrogacy is set based on ASRM and clinic recommendations; the older a woman is, the more likely she is to experience complications with any pregnancy, including a surrogate pregnancy — which is why national guidelines prevent any woman over 45 from being a surrogate.

To learn more about surrogate mother age requirements, please contact our surrogacy professionals.

  1. Can I be a surrogate if I’ve never been pregnant?

One of the most important qualities of being a surrogate is the ability to carry a pregnancy to term safely and successfully. If you were to pursue surrogacy without a previous pregnancy, it would be difficult for your doctor and your surrogacy professional to determine whether surrogacy would be a safe option for you. The majority of surrogacy agencies, including our own program, will not allow you to become a surrogate without having had children. Pregnancy is a huge commitment, so it’s important that surrogates have experience in the process before they decide to become pregnant for someone else.

  1. How many times can you be a surrogate?

The ASRM guidelines recommend no more than five vaginal deliveries or three cesarean deliveries for surrogates. However, how many times you can be a surrogate will depend upon your own medical background situation.

  1. I’m breastfeeding. Can I be a surrogate?

Breastfeeding woman usually cannot be surrogates, as the breastfeeding process releases natural hormones that cause a lack of ovulation and periods. These hormones will make it much more difficult for an embryo to implant in a woman’s uterus, so many surrogacy professionals require surrogates to have stopped breastfeeding and resumed their normal menstrual cycle before starting surrogacy medical procedures.

  1. Can you be a surrogate after having your tubes tied?

Because gestational surrogacy does not require the use of a surrogate’s eggs, women can pursue surrogacy after tubal ligation. Finding a surrogate mother after tubal ligation may actually be preferable to intended parents, as the procedure’s effects make it impossible for a woman to become pregnant with her own child during the embryo transfer process.

  1. Can I be a surrogate if I have HPV?

HPV may or may not affect a developing baby. The best course of action if you have HPV and are considering surrogacy is to speak to a surrogacy professional. 

  1. Can you be a surrogate mother with herpes?

Similarly, if you have herpes, you should also speak to a surrogacy professional about your medical condition. It may not prevent you from becoming a surrogate, but it could play a role in how you are matched with intended parents and in your delivery plan.

  1. Is it possible to be an HIV-positive surrogate mother?

A woman with HIV cannot be a surrogate because of the risk of transfer of the disease to the baby.

  1. Can you be a surrogate after preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a serious pregnancy complication that could affect your future ability to safely and successfully carry a child to term. It’s likely that a history of this condition will exempt you from becoming a surrogate, but you can always speak to your doctor and a surrogacy specialist for more information. 

  1. Can you be a surrogate after ablation?

Endometrial ablation may make it difficult or impossible for a woman to become pregnant, as it destroys the uterine lining. Because of the health risks involved, you cannot become a surrogate after ablation.

  1. Can I pursue surrogacy with endometriosis?

The answer to this will depend on the severity of your condition, as endometriosis can frequently reduce the chance of conception and increase the risk of miscarriage. It’s highly likely that you won’t be cleared by a physician to be a surrogate if you have endometriosis.

  1. Can you still be a surrogate after menopause?

While you may still be able to get pregnant after menopause, there is a reason that many surrogacy professionals require surrogates to be younger than 45 years old. After menopause, the likelihood of pregnancy risks and complications increases, proving dangerous for both the woman and the baby she is carrying. In many cases, a postmenopausal woman cannot be a surrogate.

  1. What pregnancy conditions disqualify you from surrogacy?

It’s important to talk to your surrogacy professional and your doctor if you have concerns about pregnancy conditions complicating your ability to be a surrogate. In general, any major conditions like preterm labor or preeclampsia will likely prevent you from becoming a surrogate. 

  1. Can someone with sickle cell be a surrogate?

Sickle cell disease is a condition that can increase the risk of miscarriage, preterm labor and low birth rate, which is why many medical professionals will disallow a woman with sickle cell from serving as a surrogate. 

  1. Can you be a surrogate with diabetes?

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can pose serious risks to pregnant mothers because of the difficulty of controlling blood glucose levels during pregnancy. These increased risks to health typically exempt a woman with diabetes from becoming a surrogate.

  1. Can I become a surrogate with PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome may not automatically disqualify you from becoming a surrogate, but it can require extra attention from your physician during your pregnancy. Talk to your surrogacy professional and your doctor to learn more about being a surrogacy with PCOS.

These are just a few of the questions regarding health requirements to be a surrogate mother, and they may not answer all of the questions you have. We encourage you to speak with your personal physician and our surrogacy professionals to learn more about whether you meet the requirements for surrogacy in Pennsylvania before moving forward.

To learn more about our surrogacy program today, please call our offices at 814-237-7900.