SURROGATE AGE REQUIREMENTS
Nothing is more beautiful than one person giving of themselves to help another person. Nowhere is that more evident than when a woman agrees to become a gestational carrier or surrogate mother for another.
This is a grand gesture of the heart. The promise of compensation should not detract from what is really taking place. It’s all about one person agreeing to give the gift of parenthood to prospective parents and the gift of life to a beautiful child.
Given the vast importance of the decision to become a surrogate, both agencies and the nation’s leading fertility clinics have very stringent rules regarding becoming a surrogate.
Guidelines for Prospective Surrogates
Keep in mind, rules regarding surrogacy can vary slightly from agency to agency and clinic to clinic. However, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has set forth rules and guidelines that are designed to protect everyone involved in the process – both the surrogate and the prospective parents.
As a point of reference, here are a few of the guidelines that we follow:
- Surrogate mother age has to be between 21–40
- Surrogate must not be a smoker or an illicit drug user
- Surrogate must have already carried at least one child to term without complications
- Surrogate must be at least six months postpartum
- Surrogate cannot have a criminal record
- Certain prescription medications are not permitted
One of the key rules on this list is the rule regarding surrogate age requirements.
Support for Surrogate Mother Age Requirements
Every year, a lot of younger women show an interest in becoming gestational carriers. Unfortunately, these candidates are under the current minimum age requirement of 21. While their heart is in the right place, we have to consider their mental and emotional maturity to go through the rigors of the surrogacy process.
A lot of experts agree that a woman needs to be mentally mature in order to handle the surrogacy process. They need to have an understanding of what exactly is going to take place, as well as the capacity to make complex decisions based upon their ability to understand the intricacies of the process. There are also a lot of appointments, medications and protocols that must be followed to ensure a successful process. It can be a lot to juggle!
Surrogacy is tough! Intended parents have all their hopes placed on the surrogate. Sometimes the transfer is successful, but sometimes it isn’t. There can be deep disappointment and feelings of failure. Surrogates must have the resilience to deal with these big emotions and process them in a healthy manner. Even when achieving a pregnancy, there are stressors associated with keeping Intended Parents informed, managing one’s own family, and preparing for delivery. Surrogates who are older than 21 years old have had the life experience to build strong support networks to help them navigate through life’s challenges.
The maximum age requirement is really focused on physical health. There is evidence that older women are at higher risk for complications during pregnancy beyond the age of 40. These complications include miscarriage, preterm labor, lower birth weight babies, gestational diabetes and hypertensive disorders (high blood pressure), that can put both surrogate and baby at risk.
Surrogacy is a significant financial and emotional investment. With so much at risk, it’s essential that everyone involved in the process is safe. That’s why these rules and guidelines, especially pertaining to age, exist.