The Importance of Surrogate’s and Egg Donor’s Body Mass Index (BMI)

In order to be considered for surrogacy or egg donation, applicants have to meet certain qualifications. One such requirement is Body Mass Index (BMI).


Your BMI is calculated using an algorithm that incorporates an individual’s height and weight, providing an indicator of body fat for most people.

You can find your own value by calculating your BMI. In general healthcare, it’s often used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems, such as diabetes. In assisted reproduction, it’s used to qualify surrogate and egg donor applicants.

BMI requirements differ for surrogates and egg donors. However, weight plays a big role in both processes. Let’s start with surrogacy.

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What is Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)?

PGD testing For many parents pursuing surrogacy and/or egg donation as a family-building method, the term PGD may come up. This reproductive technology is used with an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle and can be used to diagnose genetic disease in early embryos prior to the implantation in your surrogate mother. You may have also heard of the term preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), which doesn’t look for specific diseases, but uses PGD techniques to identify at-risk embryos. Here we take a look at how the test works to help you determine if it’s right for you.

How does it work?
PGD begins with IVF that includes egg retrieval and fertilization in a lab. Over the next three days, the embryo will divide into eight cells. Then one or two cells are removed from the embryo. The cells are then evaluated to determine if the inheritance of a problematic gene is present in the embryo. Once the procedure has been performed and embryos free of genetic problems have been identified, the embryo is implanted in the surrogate’s uterus in hopes of a successful pregnancy.

What are the benefits of PGD?
The reason intended parents (IPs) opt for PGD is because it can test for more than 100 different genetic conditions. Since the procedure happens before implantation, it allows IPs to decide if they wish to continue with the surrogate’s pregnancy. It’s important to keep in mind, however, it doesn’t completely eliminate the risk of conceiving a child with a genetic disorder.

If you’re interested in learning more about PGD testing, talk to your IVF doctor. And if you’re part of the Circle program, your program coordination team can connect you to the right people.

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Save the Date: New Surrogacy Video!!

Circle Surrogacy is proud to announce the addition of videos to its repertoire of digital content. On April 2, 2015, 10am EST, we debut The History of Circle Surrogacy. Thanks to 5th Street East, viewers get to see how the agency got started through the words of founder and president, John Weltman.

Watch on April 2, 2015, 10am EST by clicking here!!!



Throwback to 1995: A look back at the year’s top jams

You may be asking yourself, “Why 1995?” It’s because Circle Surrogacy is gearing up to celebrate the premiere of its next video: The History of Circle Surrogacy. Founded in 1995, and with nearly 1,000 babies born, Circle has grown tremendously and established some lifelong relationships with those who have been in the program. We are proud to share our story on how it all began in 1995.

But before the big reveal on April 2, 2015, we wanted to have a little fun, taking a trip down memory lane to 1995. And what better way than revisiting music’s top hits of a time when O.J. Simpson was aqcuitted, Windows 95 launched, and Selena’s early demise left millions broken-hearted? Enjoy!

And don’t forget to check back in on April 2, 2015, to watch the premiere of The History of Circle.

Circle’s President Releases Statement on Dolce & Gabbana IVF Comments

dolce gabban ivf In light of the recent story on Dolce & Gabbana comments on IVF and surrogacy, Circle’s president and founder, John Weltman, speaks up and out against the cruel words that have targeted families and children created through assisted reproduction.

“I am a gay father through surrogacy and from the same era as Dolce and Gabbana. When we grew up, gay men couldn’t have children unless they married a woman.  Assisted reproduction wasn’t possible. For most gay men of my generation, accepting your sexuality meant accepting that you would never have children. Sadly, for some men of our era, the only way to accept this huge loss was to internalize the then societal perspective that children should only be had and raised by a man and a woman. As Elton John says, this is behind the times. Though Dolce and Gabbana may feel that they have missed the boat, to call children born to their peers (like Elton) “synthetic children” and the wonderful women who carry them “rented wombs” demonstrates the very right wing “fascism” of which they accuse Elton.

“Homophobia from gays is the worst. It is like anti-Semitism from Jews or racism from blacks. We all know it exists, but it sets back the cause of Civil Rights even further than prejudicial statements by the straight world. It gives the strongest support to the detractors of gay rights and fuels their homophobic campaigns. Condemning people’s choices from a segment of a population that prides, and to a certain degree defines, itself by its choices is the greatest error that any gay man can make.”




– John Weltman, Circle Surrogacy Founder and President

Book Review: Welcome to the Family

Welcome to the Family Family. It’s a simple word—with a lot of different, sometimes complicated, meanings. People have many ways of defining just what constitutes a family, and what being a part of a family means to them. As such, Mary Hoffman decided to take a closer look at the many different kind of families, through a children’s lens. Enter: “Welcome to the Family” (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books).

The book’s vibrant illustrations depict a rainbow spectrum of families, including same-sex, blended, and single-parent. A green teddy bear serves as the book’s relatable narrator, thoughtfully guiding young readers through the brightly illustrated pages as they learn that  there are many different configurations of the modern family—and that no one family is better or worse than any other. The hard-to-broach topics of adoption, IVF, and other ways a baby can become part of a family are explained by Hoffman in words that children can understand, starting an important conversation without wandering into heavy-handed or overbearing territory.

Among the many topics the book broaches are natural birth within a nuclear family, adoption, fostering and same-sex families. Moreover, it offers information to both parents and kids that is currently underrepresented among today’s literature on similar topics.

A charming, whimsically illustrated tale for children, with a positive message parents will be happy to impart, “Welcome to the Family” is a must-add to your particular family’s bedtime story roster.

To purchase a copy of the book, click here.

State Spotlight: Surrogacy in Illinois

Circle is dedicated to informing intended parents and surrogates as much as possible about surrogacy, including the state laws addressing the practice.

Here we break down the legal framework on assisted reproduction in Illinois.

Illinois Law
Illinois is one of the only states in the nation that passed laws specifically addressing the surrogacy practice. The Illinois Gestational Surrogacy Act was passed in 2005 and provides a framework for surrogates and intended parents to pursue the least complicated processes possible.

Prior to a child’s birth through surrogacy, the gestational surrogate, intended parents, and an Illinois physician all sign consent forms to assign parentage to the intended parents. All parental rights of the intended parents have been established before a child is born so that the child’s birth certificate reflects the correct information. The courts are not involved in the process, which makes for an efficient and low-stress experience for surrogates and intended parents.

To learn more about pursuing surrogacy in Illinois, click here.

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Group Skype Session: Becoming a Surrogate Mother

Group Skype with a Former Surrogate

Join us for a live face-to-face group Skype session on March 9, 2014, 4:30pm EST, with former surrogate, Jamie G. Jamie is the perfect person to answer your questions about becoming a surrogate. The focus of the group discussion is what key things to look for when choosing an agency. Plus you’ll get to connect with other women who are also considering this incredible act of kindness.

Click here to register!

 Image courtesy of Skype


Watch Circle’s New Surrogate Mother Video!

Circle’s NEW Surrogate Video is officially live on our website. We are so thrilled to have one of our surrogates thoughtfully describe her experience being a surrogate and helping intended parents bring life into this world. Click below to watch!!!

Surrogate Mother

Have questions about applying to become a surrogate? Email Mariya at