When you’re told you can’t be a surrogate, the news can be heartbreaking. After all, women who choose this path do so because they’re genuinely some of the kindest, most compassionate, tender-hearted people out there. They want to help a family grow and there’s obviously a great need for surrogates, so getting a denial stings. All is not lost, though. If you still want to be a surrogate, you might actually still be able to qualify. On this page, we’ll go over a few things you can do.
Step 1: Find Out Why You Didn’t Qualify
There are strict requirements in order to be a surrogate, and those are in place in order to ensure the health of the baby and provide a good experience for everyone involved. Most agencies will tell you right away which requirement you didn’t meet, but if you applied to be a surrogate with a company that didn’t give you info, reach out to them and ask for more details.
Step 2: Address the Underlying Issue
Each agency will have its own guidelines for surrogates. You can see EDSI’s surrogate requirements here. Arguably, the biggest reason women are denied is because they’re carrying around a few extra pounds. Body mass index (BMI) is used to calculate a healthy weight. A woman with a BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered a healthy weight, while landing in the 25-29.9 range is considered overweight, and 30+ is considered obese. Doctors who work with surrogates typically won’t treat women with a BMI of 30 or greater because fertility decreases and complications increase, and so that tends to be the magic number agencies use too, but some doctors and agencies will impose stricter limits. According to the CDC, the average woman in the US has a BMI of 26.5, meaning she’s overweight, but would still qualify to be a surrogate. Millions of women who might otherwise qualify miss the mark a bit, and that’s ok. If your weight is preventing you from signing up, it might be a good idea to check in with your physician to see about weight management options—not just to qualify, but for the sake of your overall health as well.
Other things that commonly impact a woman’s ability to be a surrogate are easily remedied too, such as using substances like tobacco. Reputable agencies also look for signs of responsibility, such as being financially stable and having reliable transportation. Although these things can be harder to address, even the city bus could be considered reliable transportation depending on the agency, and with time and good budgeting, you may be able to correct financial issues too.
Step 3: Reapply
Once you’ve corrected any underlying issues, reapply to be a surrogate or simply reach out to the agency again.
Step 4: Find a Different Agency
Each agency has unique requirements, so while you may find some agencies that won’t accept you if you have a BMI of 25 or above, you will find agencies like EDSI that aim for under 30. Agencies also use different criteria for measuring financial stability. For example, some will want to look over all your finances to ensure you don’t need the compensation from being a surrogate in order to provide for yourself and family. Others, like us, are simply satisfied to know you aren’t receiving any form of government assistance. In other words, striking out with one agency doesn’t mean you will strike out with all of them.
Step 5: Consider Alternatives
If you’ve tried multiple agencies and you can’t correct the reason why you don’t qualify, take stock of your motivations. For example, if you were really excited about helping a family, perhaps becoming a foster parent would be fulfilling. Like surrogacy, fostering is not about keeping a child as part of your family; it’s about giving a child a safe and loving environment until his or her home is safe to return to. The ultimate goal is for the child to be reunited with the parents, meaning many foster parents only care for the children for short periods of time, such as days or weeks.
You obviously have a very giving heart and that means everything, so don’t take your denial or inability to be a surrogate personally. Your willingness to help was not for nothing, and with a little research and time, you may be able to find a way to qualify or find an alternative that helps fulfill your desire to give.
Be a Surrogate with EDSI
We have a whole section of our site just for women who want to be a surrogate! Take time to review the details there and if you think you meet the requirements and want to move forward, we’d love to welcome you aboard. We’ll not only help match you with intended parents who are a great fit, but will make sure your needs are seen to throughout the process and after.