Surrogate Mother Requirements

What are Circle Surrogacy's requirements for surrogates?

Successful surrogate applicants:
  • Have delivered a child of their own
  • Are between the ages of 21-41 years of age
  • Do not participate in certain government aid programs including cash assistance, welfare, public housing or section 8. All other forms of government assistance will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Typically have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of no higher than 33. (In some instances, BMI between 33-35 is acceptable.) Calculate My BMI.
  • Live in a surrogate-friendly state in the United States (we are very sorry but we cannot accept gestational carriers who reside in Washington, Nebraska, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, New Jersey)
  • Have the support of family and friends
  • Do not use illegal drugs, smoke cigarettes, or abuse alcohol
  • Women with IUDs, contraceptive implants, or who have had the Depo Provera shot are welcome to apply but must be willing to have their IUDs removed before a transfer, and should understand that they may be placed on hold temporarily. We are not able to accept women who have had the Essure procedure.

I have had my tubes tied. Can I still be a gestational carrier?

Absolutely. Having your tubes tied will not affect your ability to be a successful surrogate.

Do I need to have insurance that will cover surrogacy?

No. If you do have medical insurance coverage, we'll take a look at the plan to see if it is likely to cover surrogacy. If so, you may be entitled to a higher base fee. But if you don't have insurance, it's not a problem. We'll find a plan that will cover you and your intended parents will pay any associated costs. 

I am currently enrolled in a government assistance program. Can I be a surrogate?

We are unable to accept applicants who are enrolled in certain government programs, including cash assistance, welfare, public housing, and Section 8 housing. The income requirements for these programs are generally stricter than other programs, such as food stamps, WIC, and subsidized childcare. Reimbursements received while you are acting as a gestational surrogate could potentially make you ineligible for certain benefits. Circle will consider any government programs in which you are enrolled when reviewing your application.

Why is BMI important?

BMI guidelines are set by the IVF clinics. For surrogate mothers whose BMI is between 28-35, we require documentation that verifies your current BMI. The BMI requirements are established not only for health reasons, but also to ensure that you will respond appropriately to the medications necessary for this process. To learn more about about the importance of BMI, click here.

I am currently breastfeeding. Can I still apply to become a surrogate?

Yes! You can apply to become a surrogate but you will need to stop breastfeeding before your medical screening and have at least two regular menstrual cycles before your embryo transfer can occur.

How long do I have to wait after my last delivery before I can become a surrogate?

Based on guidelines set by fertility clinics, we can only work with surrogates 3 months after a vaginal delivery or 6 months after a delivery by C-section. 

Why do I have to wait to move forward with my surrogacy if I plan to stop breastfeeding?

It is typically recommended that a gestational surrogate who is breastfeeding stop at least one month before undergoing an IVF treatment cycle whereby an embryo is transferred into her uterus.

The process of breastfeeding induces the secretion of certain hormones, including prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin induces amenorrhea, or lack of ovulation and periods. Timing during an IVF cycle is critical, and doctors need to synchronize a surrogate’s menstruation with that of the egg producer, hence the need to know when the surrogate is getting her period. Also, elevated levels of prolactin associated with breastfeeding might have a deleterious effect on implantation, although we don’t have strong data to support it.

Finally, the hormone oxytocin, released as a result of breastfeeding, causes uterine contractions, which in turn could be harmful to the implantation process when an embryo is trying to attach to the lining of the uterus. Read more about why you will need to be placed on hold while you’re breastfeeding.

I am 42 years old. I just had a baby last year. Why can't I be a surrogate mother?

Age limits are set by the IVF clinics. Because of fluctuating hormones and the increased health risks to you and the baby or babies, the age limit is no higher than 42 years of age. On occasion, we make exceptions, but only for women who have been surrogate mothers recently. If this applies to you, please email us.

I needed to take anti-depressants after the birth of my last baby for postpartum depression. Can I still be a surrogate mother?

At this time we are unable to accept applicants who have experienced postpartum depression for which they were prescribed anti-depressants after their most recent delivery, numerous prior deliveries, or all prior deliveries. 

I have been prescribed anti-depressants in the past. Can I be a surrogate mother?

In order to be considered to be a surrogate, you must have ceased using any anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications for 6-12 months before applying to our program. In many cases, we may require supporting documentation from a prescribing doctor, prescription refill history, as well as other documentation. 

My significant other doesn't seem on board with my being a surrogate. Can I still move forward?

We are sorry but we require that all surrogates and egg donors in our program have the full support of their husband or partner. If you are not married, you must have a support person in place that can help you out in the event of an emergency.

If I have a sexually-transmitted disease/infection (STI/STD), can I still be a carrier?

Some STIs/STDs will disqualify you. HIV and Hepatitis (or any others that could be communicated to a fetus/baby) would disqualify you, whereas others, such as genital warts and genital herpes, may not. Please note that if you are experiencing an outbreak of genital herpes close to delivery we would request that you have a C-section and follow the advice of your primary obstetrician.

I do not believe in selective reduction or abortion for any reason. Should I still apply?

We do occasionally have couples who share these beliefs, however it is a rare occurrence as most of our intended parents ultimately want the choice to make decisions about their own family. You are encouraged to inquire with our staff whether or not we currently have intended parents who would not terminate a pregnancy due to a severe medical diagnosis of the fetus.

I am currently pregnant. Can I be a surrogate mother to the child I am carrying?

You cannot be a surrogate mother to a child you are currently carrying, as intended parents typically contribute their own genetic material to children born through surrogacy, and the surrogacy process requires a great deal of planning before you become pregnant. However, you might consider adoption as an alternative. Feel free to contact our office and we can provide contact information for an adoption agency or attorney near you.

Become a Surrogate