Surrogacy Requirements: Why Certain Requirements are in Place

Are you interested in becoming a surrogate mother, but not sure if you meet the requirements? We always receive lots of questions about surrogate requirements – and why gestational carriers need to meet certain qualifications. Requirements are put in place to ensure the most positive outcome for both the baby and the surrogate, because we care about safety above all else. Our top priority is the health and well-being not just for our babies, but for our surrogates!

We are excited that you are interested in becoming a surrogate! Before you apply, it will be helpful to review our requirements.

Below is a list of surrogate requirements for Circle Surrogacy, as well as the reason why they are requirements. It’s important to know that for some of our surrogate requirements, Circle abides by the guidelines set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), an organization that ensures ethical standards are upheld through the practice and advancement of reproductive medicines. We also must abide by regulations set by the IVF clinics in order to work with them on surrogate and egg donation journeys. In order to be approved by this organization and work with the clinics, Circle must uphold their requirements.

What are the requirements for becoming a surrogate through Circle?

  1. Our surrogates must have a child of their own, and are currently parenting at least one child. 
    • This is something that is set by ASRM. A surrogate applicant must have had a successful term pregnancy prior to being a surrogate, to eliminate any questions on whether she can carry a baby to term.
    • We also need to be able to obtain OB and delivery records to confirm pregnancy and delivery were without complication.
  2. We require all surrogates to have uncomplicated pregnancies and deliveries in the past, as documented by medical records.
    • Women that have had complications during pregnancy or labor are at a higher risk of injury or additional complications to the baby and themselves. We put the safety of our surrogates and babies above all and do not want to risk any future complications.
  3. Surrogates must be between the ages of 21-41 years old.
    • While there are cases of uncomplicated pregnancies outside of this age range, 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 41 years of age.
  4. In most circumstances, must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of no higher than 33.
    • These rules are set by the IVF clinics. 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. We know not everyone knows their BMI off the top of their heads, which is why we provide a link to a BMI calculator right in our application. Calculate My BMI.  
  5. Surrogates must be citizens, legal residents or legal immigrants of the United States. If a surrogate is a legal resident or legal immigrant of the United States, the surrogate must be able to provide documentation that is valid for at least 2 years. They must also have a valid driver’s license.
    • Every state and country has different laws for surrogates, and we are legally only warranted to work with surrogates in the 46 states where surrogacy is legal. We cannot accept gestational carriers who reside in Nebraska, Louisiana, Michigan, and New York. To learn more about state specific laws and regulations, we have pages for each state with additional information!
  6. Our surrogates cannot participate in the following government aid programs: cash assistance, welfare, public housing and section 8. All other forms of government assistance will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
    • The income requirements for these programs are generally stricter than other programs, such as food stamps, WIC, and subsidized child care. Reimbursements received while you are acting as a gestational surrogate could potentially make you ineligible for certain benefits. We cannot risk any of our surrogates losing benefits because of compensation received being a surrogate.
  7. Surrogates must have the support of their family. If married or partnered, the surrogate must have her partner’s support. Also, the surrogate and her partner/primary support person must agree to participate in a social work screening.
    • Becoming a surrogate is an enormous decision and it is critical to have a support system in place throughout the journey. There are times during a surrogacy journey when a surrogate mother will need help from her support system: such as childcare, or transportation to/from appointments, or a travel partner. For these reasons, she needs a strong support system who are on board with her decision in place to help her.
  8. Our surrogates need to be financially secure and must lead a stable, responsible lifestyle.
    • Nurturing and carrying someone else’s baby is a big responsibility. To guarantee that the baby is safe and not exposed to excessive stress, we require that our surrogates can provide a stable and healthy environment for themselves and the baby.

  1. Surrogates must be willing to travel for IVF process. Please note, often these trips include overnight stays.
    • The surrogate will need to travel to the IVF clinic that her intended parents are working with. Our IPs are allowed to select any clinic in the US, regardless of where they or their surrogate reside. The surrogate will travel for their medical screening appointment which is an overnight stay. Local monitoring appointments are done locally to you to track your progress through the IVF cycle in preparation for transfer. When she is ready for transfer, the surrogate will travel back to the IVF clinic for embryo transfer, again, with overnight stays required.
  2. We require that our surrogates do not use illegal drugs, smoke cigarettes, or abuse alcohol.
    • In order to make certain that Intended Parents’ babies are in the safest environment, we cannot accept surrogates who abuse drugs or alcohol which could put the baby at risk. Abusing drugs or alcohol can also lead to complications or health risks for the surrogate.

As you consider surrogacy, you may have questions along the way. With many experienced surrogates on staff, we’ve helped women navigate their surrogacy journeys successfully, and have answered almost every question out there and put our most frequently asked questions on our website! If you have additional questions, you can reach out to us on social or email us!