WHAT IS THE MINIMUM AGE TO BE A SURROGATE MOTHER?
Qualifications for Surrogate Mothers
At all levels, the surrogacy process is complicated and demanding. It requires that a surrogate (also called a gestational carrier) be mentally, emotionally, and physically suited to carry out their responsibilities. That’s why organizations like The American Society for Reproductive Medicine have set such high standards for prospective surrogate mothers. Here is a shortlist of some of the most important requirements that prospective surrogates must meet:
- Age range: 21 to 40
- Must be a non-smoker with no history of illicit drug abuse
- Must have already gone through a successful pregnancy with no complications
- Must be at least 6 months post-partum
- Must not have a criminal record
- No new tattoos or piercings in the last year
- Currently raising at least one child in a stable home environment
How Old Do You Have To Be to Be a Surrogate Mother?
We turn our attention to the top item on this list. Surrogate age guidelines are extremely important for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, everyone involved in the process wants reassurance that the surrogate will be able to handle the process while keeping herself and the baby healthy and safe.
The proper surrogate mother age range is a minimum of 21 years old up to a maximum age of 40 years old.
Reasons for the Minimum Age Requirement of 21 years Old
There are a lot of younger women who have shown an interest in being surrogate mothers. Teenagers who are interested in surrogacy are to be commended for their desire to give of themselves for the benefit of someone else. However, there are concerns those under the age of 21 may encounter difficulties with this process.
- Mental Maturity: To make an informed and educated decision about something as important as being a surrogate, a person needs life experience. At 21 years of age or older, the assumption is most people have deeper sense of self and the capacity to weigh consequences of complex decisions.
- Emotional maturity: In the surrogacy process, you must have excellent communication and coping skills. There will be joy, but also potentially disappointment and stressors. Surrogates also must contemplate the physical risks they are taking and how they will feel about future impacts on their health or fertility if something goes wrong during the pregnancy or delivery. Finally, there are the complex feelings when you are handing over your “belly buddy” to their parents. With or without a written agreement, it takes an emotionally mature person to do all of this.
Reasons for the Maximum Age Requirement of 40 years Old
For the most part, it’s safe to presume that a woman over the age of 40 has the mental and emotional maturity to be a surrogate. We have age limits because of physical health concerns.
Yes, lots of women get pregnant in their late 30s and even into their 40s. However, health risks increase substantially with advanced maternal age. We see higher incidents of miscarriage, premature labor, gestational diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), placental abruption, and pre-eclampsia, which can be fatal to both surrogate and baby.
In conclusion, any woman who is willing to give of herself by being a surrogate is a special human being. However, their willingness to do this should not supersede safety considerations. Agencies and clinics must always thoroughly screen potential carriers and adhere to age guidelines to ensure the best outcome for everyone involved.