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  • Lauren Mello

5 Surrogacy Requirements That Every Agency Requires


surrogate qualifications: learn what's required

Are you interested in becoming a surrogate mother but not sure if you meet the requirements? In order to make the process as simple as possible, we’ve provided some surrogacy requirement guidelines that every agency follows. Many of these requirements are guided by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and fertility clinics around the country.


Surrogacy Requirements for Any Agency

Here are the 5 surrogacy requirements that will be the same at every surrogacy agency:

  1. You must be at least 21 years old to become a surrogate.

  2. You must have had at least one healthy pregnancy and delivery.

  3. You must be a non-smoker.

  4. You must live in a state where surrogacy is legal.

  5. You must be a US citizen or permanently reside in the US.

Although these aren't the only requirements that a surrogate must meet, they are the ones that will remain consistent no matter what agency you choose.

Age Requirements

While the minimum age to become a surrogate doesn't vary depending on the agency, the maximum age does. At Circle Surrogacy, we accept surrogates up to age 42. These age limits are set by the IVF clinics due to the increased health risks to the surrogate and baby that may arise with a mature pregnancy.

Pregnancy Requirements

Regardless of the agency, a qualifying candidate for gestational surrogacy must have had at least one healthy pregnancy and delivery. A pregnancy carried to term without complications (as documented by medical records) is a must for becoming a surrogate.

Women who have had complications during pregnancy or labor are at a higher risk of injury or additional complications to the baby and themselves. Agencies such as Circle put the safety of our surrogates and babies above all else and do not want to risk any complications.

PS - Be sure you know the weeks of gestation for each of your pregnancies because that will be asked on any surrogacy application!

Smoking Requirements

All surrogacy agencies list smoking cigarettes or using illegal drugs as disqualifications for surrogacy. At Circle Surrogacy, surrogates must stop smoking cigarettes for at least 6 months before applying for our program. During the medical screening process, a nicotine/cotinine blood test is run to determine how recently she smoked. Smoking is always a disqualification for surrogacy.

This is to make certain that our babies are in the safest environment, and that our surrogates are not using anything that can lead to complications or pose unnecessary health risks.

Geographic Requirements

All United States-based surrogacy agencies are legally only able to work with surrogates who are either US citizens, legal permanent residents, or legal immigrants. The specific Visa requirements may vary slightly with each agency, but for the most part, all surrogacy agencies require the same documentation for surrogates (such as a valid driver's license and documentation that is valid for at least 2 years). If you are currently residing in the United States on a Visa and are interested in surrogacy, be sure to check with each agency you're interested in working with to see what their specific requirements are for residents who are not citizens!

Surrogates must also reside in a state where surrogacy is legal. In 2021, New York became the 47th state to make surrogacy legal, leaving only Nebraska, Michigan, and Louisiana as unfriendly surrogacy states! Women who live in Nebraska, Michigan, and Louisiana unfortunately are unable to become surrogates at any agency at this time. Surrogacy requirements in California and surrogacy requirements in Massachusetts are the same...as long as you live in a surrogacy-friendly state, the core requirements will not change. If you're interested in learning more about surrogacy in your state specifically, check out our surrogacy by state page!

Some agencies will work with surrogates from only specific states based on their geographic location, so be sure to check each agency's requirements on this before applying.

What About Requirements Specific to Circle?

In addition to these universal requirements, Circle Surrogacy has set other screening criteria for prospective surrogates:

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. Calculate My BMI.

Financial security and a stable, responsible lifestyle Acting as a home for 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.

In addition, 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 childcare. Reimbursements received while you are acting as a gestational surrogate could potentially make you ineligible for certain benefits. We would hate for any of our surrogates to lose benefits because of compensation received being a surrogate.

Willingness and ability to travel for the IVF process Depending on the state and town in which our surrogates live, there may not be a clinic a short distance away. This may require travel, including overnight stays.

A strong support system Becoming a surrogate is an enormous decision and it is critical to have a support system in place throughout the journey. Being a surrogate impacts all areas of life and the lives of the surrogate’s immediate family. Everyone that will be impacted needs to be on board in order for the journey to be successful.

At Circle, our surrogates must have the support of their family or partner. In addition, the surrogate and her primary support person must agree to participate in a social work screening. Become a Surrogate

We are excited you are interested in becoming a surrogate! There’s nothing quite like bringing a baby into this world. And for intended parents who planned on having a family but are unable to on their own, surrogate moms restore their hope and optimism about parenthood. Before you apply to become a surrogate, check out our Surrogacy Process page to familiarize yourself with how everything works to see if you are a good fit for Circle and if we are a good fit for you!

We can't wait to meet you!

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