Any woman who wants to become a surrogate through a surrogacy agency will have to fill out a surrogate application. At first glance, she might ask, “Why do I have to answer all these questions?” It’s true that a surrogate application asks a lot of important questions, and they have a vital purpose: The agency needs to ensure that a woman wishing to be a gestational carrier meets all of the surrogate requirements put forth by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) as well as fertility clinics.
Many surrogacy agencies ask very similar questions. Some applications are longer than others, and some are in two parts. In the end, women will generally need to meet a similar set of requirements and share all pertinent information to determine eligibility.
This blog post breaks down the surrogate application and explains why women are being asked certain questions and why they’re important to a surrogacy journey. We’ll use Circle Surrogacy’s surrogate application as an example.
Starting a Surrogate Application
Women are asked for general information such as their first and last name, email address, and preferred communication method. This is so we know what to call you and how to reach you!
Circle’s surrogate application does not take long to fill out, and it’s easy to complete on your phone. And if you start it – and can’t finish it – your progress will be saved when you come back.
In What States Is Surrogacy Legal?
Applicants will be asked what state they live in. This is a very important question as there are still a few states where the laws for surrogacy are not favorable, and unfortunately, we cannot work with women in those states at this time. Currently, we are unable to work with women who live in Michigan, Louisiana, or Nebraska.
Do You Need To Be a U.S. Citizen To Be a Surrogate?
Circle can only work with gestational surrogates who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents of the United States, or those who have visas or green cards that do not expire in the next 2 years. We will request a copy of your green card or visa.
Is There an Age Limit on Surrogacy?
Your surrogate application will ask you for your date of birth. Women between the ages of 21 and 40 can apply to become surrogates. If you are an experienced carrier, you can be 41 years old.
Why Is BMI Important for Surrogacy?
BMI – or Body Mass Index – is a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of height in meters. It’s an easy way to screen someone to determine their weight category. BMI does not indicate how healthy you are or whether or not you can carry a pregnancy.
At Circle, women who apply to become surrogates should have a BMI of no more than 32. You can calculate your BMI here.
Clinics and ASRM have BMI requirements in place so that women who become surrogates have the best chance of becoming pregnant with IVF medications. And because an IVF pregnancy is different from a traditional pregnancy, you must meet BMI requirements to be a surrogate, even if you’ve had healthy pregnancies on your own.
Read more about BMI and surrogacy.
Previous Healthy Pregnancies and Birth History
“Why do I have to have given birth before in order to be a surrogate?” This is a very common – and great! – question. The reason women need to have had a successful and healthy pregnancy and birth is to show that they can get pregnant and carry a baby to term without complications. Everyone involved in a surrogacy journey – intended parents, the clinic, the agency, and the surrogate – will try to ensure as successful an outcome as possible. Using a surrogate who has never gotten pregnant or carried a successful pregnancy is a big emotional and financial risk for intended parents.
Therefore, women applying to become surrogates should have previously been pregnant and given birth (with no complications) and should be currently parenting a child at home.
Surrogate Medical History
Women who become surrogates need to be in great physical health. This is not only to protect the health of the baby they carry but for their own personal health as well. Applicants will be asked a variety of health-related questions, including selecting from a list of conditions that they may have.
It’s important to be truthful about your health history. Part of the surrogate application process is having a prospective surrogate mother’s medical records obtained from her physician.
Can I Be on Any Kind of Financial Aid as a Surrogate?
Your surrogate application contains questions about your financial situation. It’s important for women who become surrogates to be financially stable before becoming a surrogate.
On Circle Surrogacy’s application, women will be asked if they are receiving any forms of government financial assistance. We ask this question because we cannot work with women who receive certain types of government assistance; this is a requirement of the IVF clinics that we work with.
Since you are compensated as a surrogate, we also want to ensure that you do not lose any of your financial assistance for your family.
Surrogate Background Information
Surrogacy applications may also ask you questions about your background, including criminal history and legal obligations.
You can be asked if you – or your partner – have ever been convicted of a crime. Answering yes to this question will not automatically disqualify you from becoming a surrogate. We acknowledge being convicted of a crime can fall under many categories. Our hope is to understand your circumstances better as we potentially begin a journey with you.
A question about legal obligations for a surrogate includes bankruptcy, divorce proceedings, lawsuits, and misdemeanor and/or criminal offenses. There are many laws surrounding surrogacy that we are committed to following for both the surrogate and the intended parents. Sometimes if a surrogate is engaged in current legal matters, our ability to provide a smooth journey from a legal perspective could be compromised. By learning about your current legal obligations, we will be better equipped to set your journey up for success.
Why Do You Want To Be a Surrogate?
Women are motivated to help another family for a variety of reasons, and we want to know yours! Surrogacy is such a special family-building option for all involved. Knowing what brought you to surrogacy will help us better get to know who you are as a person and why you want to help someone else.
I’m Not Sure If I Will Qualify To Be a Surrogate. Should I Apply?
A great first step in becoming a surrogate – besides doing research! – is reviewing the full list of surrogate requirements on Circle’s website. If after that you’re still unsure, you can always fill out a surrogate application. Even if you’re not 100% ready, you can speak with our Surrogate Team and have all of your questions answered!