Do You Qualify to be a Surrogate?

Becoming a surrogate requires strict medical, emotional, and personal qualifications. Here is SENSIBLE’s 15-point list of the criteria that all surrogates should meet.

Some surrogate requirements are set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Others represent good policies that have become commonplace.

Basic Surrogate Requirements

All surrogates should meet these standards to begin working with a reputable agency or clinic.

The first requirement is the most obvious… all surrogate candidates must demonstrate they are fertile and capable of maintaining a healthy pregnancy by having their own successful pregnancy.  A surrogate may have up to five previous pregnancies and no more than two deliveries by c-section.

Note that possible surrogates must share the full medical records of each previous pregnancy... in detail. If there is any sign of complications, premature delivery, or early termination in any of the pregnancies, the clinic will likely reject the surrogate.

Surrogates should be at least 21 years to have the emotional maturity to make such an important commitment. Women can often carry a pregnancy into their 40’s, but any candidates over 40 will be approved on a case-by-case basis.

All surrogates for the program in the United States need to be U.S. citizens or legal resident... and under the jurisdiction of the U.S. legal system. For SENSIBLE’s international programs, the surrogate should be a citizen of the country where the surrogacy agreement will be executed.

We all know that it’s important to eat healthy and exercise regularly, and even more so during a pregnancy. All surrogates must be able to demonstrate that they live a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and personal wellness habits.

For obvious reasons, a woman must be in a state of good mental health, free from any prolonged conditions which could have a negative effect upon her ability to care for a developing child. Surrogates should not be on any anti-depressants or anxiety medication, or have a history of a mental illness, depression, or anxiety.

Women who are overweight are at a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes, which can be a risk not only to the surrogate but also to the pregnancy. We require a body mass index (BMI) between 20 and 32. To calculate your own BMI number, visit the National Institute of Health website.

Smoking during pregnancy can cause a wide variety of neonatal problems, including stillbirth, premature delivery, and low birth weight. For this reason, surrogates cannot use nicotine products of any kind for at least 12 months prior to applying. This includes the use of cigarettes, vapes or e-cigarettes (even those that do not contain any nicotine), chewing tobacco, cigars, etc.

A woman must live a stable lifestyle to qualify to become a surrogate. This means no drugs of any kind, whether it is narcotics, marijuana products, or prescription pills without a doctor’s order. While an occasional drink is normal and acceptable, heavy or regular use of alcohol is also a reason for exclusion. (In some cases, a surrogate may be asked to accept regular drug screenings throughout the pregnancy.)

All surrogate candidates (and their live-in partner/spouse) will go through an extensive criminal background check. We look for individuals with a demonstrable history of responsible and upstanding behavior.

We want surrogates that are motivated by charitable reasons, not financial necessity.  Financial difficulties can cause stress that leads to complications in a pregnancy. Financial issues also often result in instability and stress elsewhere in one’s life. While becoming a surrogate can be financially rewarding, surrogates should not be motivated solely by financial gain.


Subjective Surrogate Requirements

These surrogate requirements are harder to define. They usually represent what the surrogate manager feels are the qualities of a good surrogate.

Surrogates must also live in a well-maintained home. That means a non-smoking, drug-free environment that is clean and well-cared for.

Being pregnant is often hard work, and most women will need some form of emotional or physical support during their pregnancy. A good surrogate should have a partner, family or friends who can provide the needed support.

Every surrogate candidate must pass a psychological review to ensure she is emotionally capable of fulfilling the requirements of being a surrogate. A surrogate must be able to care for the growing baby responsibly throughout the pregnancy, and then she must relinquish her parental rights when the baby is delivered.

We look for surrogates who are generally positive and optimistic. This type of attitude is important as she goes through the pregnancy (which can sometimes include physically and emotionally challenging days.). A good attitude will help you stay focused on the important work that you’re doing, and the joy that you are bringing to a childless couple.

This includes the ability to take time away from your employer and family for surrogacy appointments, bed rest, birth, and recovery. It also means you may have to travel to fertility clinics, lawyers, doctor’s/ultrasound appointments.


If you meet these criteria, fill out the brief application form on this website. If you have questions, our support team is available to guide you along the process.

In most cases, surrogacy clinics and lawyers will not “clear” a surrogate candidate who does not meet all 15 requirements. But if you’re missing one or two requirements, check with SENSIBLE’s surrogate coordinator. We may make allowances in individual cases.