Before you become a surrogate in South Carolina, there are certain surrogacy requirements that you’ll have to meet. This is an important part of making sure that you are prepared for the entire process of surrogacy and the challenges that may arise along the way — not to mention keeping you and any baby that you carry safe during the entirety of the surrogacy.
First off, the number one requirement for being a surrogate is being prepared for and committed to the process. This starts with understanding exactly what it means to be a surrogate before deciding it’s right for you. If you contact the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson, we can answer whatever questions you may have about the process.
After you’ve researched and have a better understanding of the surrogacy process, then you should start figuring out if you meet the gestational surrogacy requirements in South Carolina. At the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson, we have a few things you should be aware of.
Our Qualifications for Being a Surrogate Mother
Before you even contact us to begin your surrogacy process in South Carolina, you can read our preliminary requirements for surrogacy below to understand whether you might be a good fit for our Gestational Carrier Program.
Here’s what we ask of all prospective surrogates:
- Be between the ages of 21 and 38 years (over 38 may be considered if you’ve had a recent pregnancy)
- Have given birth to a child that you are raising
- Be financially stable and not on any form of government assistance
- Have a healthy pregnancy history and lifestyle
- Be smoke- and drug-free
- Be a U.S. citizen (or permanent resident) and speak English fluently
- Have a vehicle and valid driver’s license
- Reside in South Carolina (or within a one-hour drive of the S.C. border)
If you have determined that you meet these requirements, we ask that you fill out our preliminary questionnaire. While there will be other qualifications to become a surrogate mother through our law firm, if you meet these basic requirements, you can take the next steps toward becoming a surrogate in South Carolina.
Our Screening Requirements for Being a Surrogate
After you have expressed your surrogacy interest with our law firm and met our basic surrogacy requirements, we’ll start the screening process that all prospective surrogates must undergo (intended parents must also be screened before moving forward with the process). These are the next steps to ensuring that you are physically and mentally prepared for the surrogacy process. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Completion of Comprehensive Questionnaire: You’ll need to submit detailed information about you and your family, including providing detailed information regarding your social and health history.
- Interview: Once your questionnaire has been reviewed, we will schedule a phone interview to discuss your surrogate questionnaire, as well as answer questions regarding our Gestational Carrier Program.
- Background Check Authorizations: After the interview, we will forward for background checks for each adult living in your home. We run background checks on the adult members of both the prospective surrogate’s household, as well as for the intended parents’ household.
- A Home Visit with a Social Worker: One of our social workers will visit your home to speak with you and your family about your goals and motivations for pursuing surrogacy. She’ll also further explain what the surrogacy process will look like for you. This social worker will become one of your case managers after you are matched with intended parents, and she’ll be available to you throughout the process.
If you successfully pass these gestational surrogate requirements, you will be ready for the matching process.
Because surrogacy is a medically complicated process that includes some potential risks, it’s important that every potential surrogate we work with is healthy enough for the process. Once matched, you’ll have to undergo medical and psychological screening.
These medical screening requirements for surrogacy are usually completed by the fertility clinic who will handle the embryo transfer. In addition to a general health and wellness test, you may have to undergo:
- A detailed review of your (and potentially your partner’s) medical and sexual history
- A physical exam that includes a saline infusion sonohysterography, which is an ultrasound of your uterus
- Lab testing of your blood and urine
After the fertility specialist agrees that you are healthy enough for the surrogacy process, we can finally begin drafting a legal contract and starting the medical process of surrogacy.
General Surrogate Health Requirements
While we have general health requirements to be a surrogate mother, the fertility specialist that you work with will have a more detailed list of requirements you have to meet. Even if you are healthy and have carried at least one pregnancy to term, you might be disqualified from surrogacy if you have (or had) certain health conditions.
Below are some of the common questions prospective surrogates have about surrogate health requirements. While your fertility specialist and physician will have more knowledge about what pregnancy conditions may disqualify you from surrogacy and whether your health conditions will affect your ability to be a surrogate, there are some common guidelines to be aware of.
- Can you pursue surrogacy after a tubal ligation?
A tubal ligation, otherwise known as having your “tubes tied,” halts ovulation and is usually completed by women who are done having children. Because this procedure does not affect your uterus, you can still be a surrogate mother after tubal ligation. In fact, it may be preferred, as the procedure ensures you will not become pregnant with your own child during the IVF process.
- Can I be a surrogate if I’ve never been pregnant?
You cannot complete a surrogacy without a previous pregnancy of your own. Because surrogacy is a medically and emotionally complicated process, all surrogates must be familiar with how pregnancy will affect their bodies and emotions. In addition, a surrogate without a previous pregnancy may face greater health risks, as she has no proof that she can successfully carry a pregnancy to term.
- Can a menopausal woman be a surrogate?
Generally, if a woman has gone through menopause, she is over the age of 40 — and therefore does not meet our age requirements. Menopause is nature’s way of preventing future pregnancies, so attempting to get pregnant (even through IVF) and being a surrogate after menopause can be very risky — and highly unlikely to succeed.
- I’m breastfeeding; can I be a surrogate?
Breastfeeding naturally delays a woman’s return to fertility after she’s had a child. The lack of ovulations and periods while breastfeeding will make being a surrogate extremely difficult, as the implantation of an embryo will be unlikely to succeed. If you want to become a surrogate in South Carolina, you will need to stop breastfeeding to return to your natural fertility cycle before beginning the medical screening process.
- Can you be a surrogate after preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia causes high blood pressure, kidney damage and other problems — which can be extremely risky to both you as a surrogate and any baby that you carry. Preeclampsia is more likely to develop again in later pregnancies if you’ve already had it, so it’s likely that preeclampsia will disqualify you from being medically approved as a surrogate by a South Carolina fertility clinic.
- Can you be a surrogate after ablation?
Ablation destroys a thin layer of the lining of the uterus — making implantation of an embryo difficult and the chances of a successful pregnancy very low. Ablation may cause an increased risk of miscarriage and other pregnancy conditions, so many physicians will not let you become a surrogate if you have this condition.
- Can I be a surrogate if I have HPV? Can someone with herpes be a surrogate?
In most cases, HPV and genital herpes will not harm a developing baby. However, like many STDs, they may be transferred during a vaginal birth, so you’ll need to talk with your fertility specialist to learn more about what your HPV or herpes will mean for your surrogacy process.
- Can you be a surrogate with diabetes?
Plenty of women with diabetes today give birth to healthy children — but it’s important to recognize that there are increased risks with this condition while pregnant. Because Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes makes it more difficult to control your blood glucose levels while pregnant, a physician may determine that the risk to you and the child are too great for you to become a surrogate.
Like all pregnancies, a surrogate pregnancy increases your risk of developing gestational diabetes. While the condition may only last the length of your pregnancy, it also poses risks to you and the baby you’re carrying. Many times a history of gestational diabetes will disqualify you from becoming a surrogate.
These are answers to only a few questions you may have about the health requirements to be a surrogate mother, and many health requirements vary on a case-by-case basis. It’s important that you talk with your physician to learn more about how your individual situation may impact your ability to be a surrogate in South Carolina.
While the requirements for surrogacy may seem overwhelming, it’s all for good reason — to make sure that you are fully prepared to carry a child for intended parents. By meeting these criteria to be a surrogate early in the process, it will help reduce any risk to you or the baby that you end up carrying and make it more likely that your surrogacy journey will be as stress-free and healthy as possible.
To learn more about the qualifications for being a surrogate in South Carolina and to start the surrogacy process today, give us a call at 864-573-5533 or contact us online.