Do You Meet the Age Requirements for Surrogacy?
No one should question the importance of allowing women to act as gestational surrogates in the U.S. There is an absolute need for us as a society to make sure people who want to be and should be parents get the chance to do just that.
If you are thinking about unselfishly giving of yourself by serving as a surrogate for an intended parent or parent, we honor you for your care and kindness. At the same time, we want you to be aware that there are a lot of different surrogate requirements, like surrogacy age requirements, that you will need to meet before you can serve as a surrogate. One of those requirements has to do with the surrogate age limit.
Before we go into more depth about surrogate age requirements, we want to point out that there are age requirements for surrogacy at both ends of the spectrum. There is both a minimum age surrogacy requirement and an upper-end limit as well. If you are wondering to yourself can I be surrogate accepted, let’s see if you fall within the surrogacy age requirements.
The Minimum Age Surrogacy Requirement
The reason surrogate age matters to fertility clinics and surrogate agencies is because they and we have an obligation to protect the interests of the surrogate mother, intended parents, and even the future child. That includes looking out for everyone’s health, emotional, and financial interests.
The surrogate mum requirement in most areas falls within fairly standard guidelines. The minimum surrogate age requirement is pretty well set across the country at 21 years old. Where things can vary from one state to another or one fertility clinic to another is at the top end of the age requirements. More on that below.
So, you are probably asking, why is 21 years old the minimum age surrogacy requirement? There are three main reasons 21 years old has been set as the standard.
1. Physical Maturity: Given the amount of time, emotions, and money intended parents have to invest when they choose surrogacy, they are entitled to some assurance the selected surrogate mother will be able to safely and effectively carry a baby to term. Biology only gives us one way to have any degree of certainty of this. That is through the process of the women having already delivered a healthy baby.
That, in fact, is another of the surrogate requirements. Prospective surrogates have to have gone through at least one successful pregnancy without complications. This is a mandatory requirement.
Yes, females can deliver healthy babies when they are teenagers. However, all medical evidence suggests that their bodies are not yet mature. Fertility specialists and doctors feel strongly that a prospective surrogate’s body needs to be as mature as possible. That offers a higher level of assurance that the surrogate pregnancy can go off without complications.
There is one other thing a minimum surrogate age limit offers. It gives the woman more time to make sure they aren’t living with any chronic medical conditions that could threaten a pregnancy.
2. Emotional Maturity: Another important factor in the surrogacy process is the emotional maturity of the woman. A minimum age requirement gives the prospective surrogate more time to mature emotionally.
Carrying a child on behalf of intended parents is not a game. At some point, the surrogate is going to have to hand over the baby they have been carrying for 9 months to someone else. It takes maturity to do that. Considering the human brain doesn’t mature until we hit our mid-20s, it’s safe to assume that a woman under 21 years of age is going to be short of optimal emotional maturity. Also, more mature women tend to have more experience with controlling their emotional state.
3. Mental Maturity: In order for a woman to make a truly informed decision about serving as a gestational surrogate, they must have the mental capacity to understand the process. They need to be able to understand the risks involved with the process, and they must be able to understand the legal ramification of their decisions. That only happens with life experience, something women under 21 don’t typically have.
Maximum Surrogacy Age Requirements
As you might imagine, when there is a minimum limit for something, a maximum limit is sure to follow. That is the case with surrogacy. If a woman wants to qualify to serve as a gestational surrogate, she has to be under a certain age.
At the high end of the surrogate age limit range, things can vary a little. In almost all cases, a woman cannot be over the age of 45. At our clinic, the age limit is 40. Some clinics will even go as low as 37 and 38.
No matter what the upper age limit might be, the reasons for the limit are always the same. The medical risks related to pregnancy increase significantly when a woman hits their mid-40s. We are talking about risks like the surrogate having difficulties getting pregnant. Even if they can still get pregnant, their reproductive system might not be as efficient as it was at younger ages. That can lead to miscarriages and difficult pregnancies. None of these issues go over well during the surrogacy process.
Of course, we would be remiss to not mention exceptions. At the lower end of the requirement, exceptions are very rare. It’s simply best for a surrogate to be at least 21 years old.
Exceptions are rare at the high end, but exceptions can be made in certain circumstances. If a woman in her late 40s was extraordinarily healthy and passed medical screening with flying colors, intended parents might be willing to accept such a woman as a surrogate. Also, the intended parents might have a specific surrogate in mind, a woman past the max-age requirement. If that woman were healthy and willing, arrangements could be made to approve her.
With all of this talk about exceptions being made, we still prefer to enforce our age guidelines because we believe doing so is in everyone’s best interest.
If you fall within our age guidelines and wish to serve as a gestational surrogate, you can contact us for an appointment. If by chance you don’t fall within these guidelines, we still want to commend you for your desire to give of yourself. It takes a very special woman to be willing to help other people fulfill their dreams of having a child to raise. If you are simply too young, please contact us when you reach the appropriate age.