Donor Conception and Surrogacy

How many times can you be a surrogate? Plus 9 more FAQs

Eloise Edington  |  12 Jan 2023


From numbers of births to past losses or miscarriages, surrogacy queries can get quite knotty.

California-based VitaNova Technologies are the future-forward tech startup set on transforming where – and how – surrogacy sits in the world of fertility, and family building. Using state-of-the-art software, they provide a smooth connection between agencies and surrogate (or egg donor), and provide first steps for women interested in donating eggs, or becoming a surrogate.

We put your 10 top FAQs to Danaka Porter M.Eng., Chief Operating Officer for VitaNova Technologies, for expert perspective.

How many times can you be a surrogate?

In general, a surrogate or gestational carrier (GC) can have a total of five births. So if they gave birth twice to have their own children, they can be a surrogate three additional times.

Note, we don’t count failed transfers or miscarriages within this number. So if this is part of your journey, you can choose to try again

How long after having a baby can you be a surrogate?

This will be up to the surrogate’s healthcare provider. But typically, people are advised to wait at least 12 months after birth, before trying again. This is to ensure you’ve had plenty of time to replete and recover from pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.

I’ve had a miscarriage in the past – can I still be a surrogate?

It depends on the circumstances of your miscarriage. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have estimated miscarriage is the most common form of pregnancy loss. In fact, around one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, with 80 per cent occurring in the first trimester.

So, miscarriage is relatively common and rarely caused by something you did or didn’t do. But again, you should get the all-clear from your doctor before becoming a surrogate, after a miscarriage.

miscarriage-surrogate

What happens if a surrogate has a miscarriage or late-term loss?

This would be drafted in the contract between the surrogate and the intended parent(s) (IP(s)).

A general point on contracts – our advice to surrogates is to always be clear and honest with themselves and the IPs when putting the agreement together. Heartbreaking situations are, sadly, a reality in certain cases, and it’s best to discuss every eventuality possible, before beginning the process.

Can you be a surrogate with HPV?

There are mixed feelings about this, so it would be wise to speak to your healthcare practitioner about it. There are many strains of HPV (the human papillomavirus), and these can have different outcomes. If your healthcare provider has cleared you, then it’s still important to be open with VitaNova, and your agency, about HPV.

What factors usually disqualify a potential surrogate?

There are a variety of factors, starting with previous births – a potential surrogate must have had a live birth already. It’s so important that surrogates know what pregnancy and giving birth is like, prior to carrying a baby for someone else.

Then we look at a potential surrogate’s overall health, including BMI and body fat percentage – many people are surprised, for example, that having too little body fat can prevent you from meeting the criteria.

We also recommend a psychological evaluation – VitaNova (or the agency we connect you with) will cover this cost for all potential surrogates. This is to ensure you’re in the right place, mentally, to go through the pregnancy.

A quick note on medications

People who are currently using non-medicinal drugs are typically disqualified, but there are exceptions. Some prescribed drugs will harm the baby, and any type of medication which does cause or may cause teratogenicity will disqualify a potential surrogate. That being said, once they’ve been off the medication for at least half of the time that they were on it, they could be considered. This is why it’s so important for a potential surrogate to be open about their medication usage.

In general, VitaNova and the agencies we connect with accept potential surrogates who are:

  • stable in their life
  • have a safe place to live
  • have custody of their own children
  • have their own income

It’s also really beneficial if the potential surrogate’s partner is on board, and supportive.

Can you be a surrogate after a C-section, or multiple C-sections?

Yes, C-sections are very common now, though most agencies do limit the number of C-sections to three. C-sections are considered a major surgery and can have a long-lasting impact on the body. And data does show that following a C-section, future births will also be via C-section. That said, VBACS (vaginal birth after cesarean section) do happen!

intended-parents-surrogacy

I really want to become a surrogate. How can I find intended parents?

Start by talking to VitaNova – we’d love to hear from you, and it’s our mission to focus on you as the potential surrogate (or egg donor), and provide information as well as multiple agency options, around the United States.

Once you’ve completed our questionnaire, we’ll put your profile to carefully selected, top-rated agencies, on your behalf. This will save you having to apply to multiple agencies, filling in similar paperwork multiple times, get blood work multiple times, provide multiple health records – we do all the logistics work for you.

Can I become a surrogate for a friend or family member?

Absolutely, but it’s still important to have legal documents in place. It will save a lot of heartache and issues later on – I always say that luck favors the prepared.

What happens if I don’t become pregnant?

This is a common situation, and often heartbreaking for both the surrogate as well as the IPs. Again, it depends on the contract, and often the IPs would like to try again, because connecting with a surrogate can be so difficult.

For the surrogate, I would try to reduce stress for the week immediately following the implantation. Take a week off, kick up your feet, sleep lots, etc. Your body’s doing an amazing job, regardless of the outcome, and stress is never helpful.

If, after a few tries, you’re still not pregnant then the contract may be terminated – again this depends on the contract and what the surrogate and IP decide. This is why at VitaNova we really encourage that the potential surrogate and IPs discuss all the potential difficult situations which could arise. That way, the agreement is drawn up when both parties are able to think clearly, and discuss options that work for both of them.

Growing a child for other people is an incredible gift, but surrogates should ensure that every detail – however granular, or difficult – is discussed and factored into the contract, prior to moving forward.

Preparing to apply? Touch base today with the VitaNova Technologies team, for experienced care, expert agencies connections and support on your journey, from start to finish.

Want to receive more great articles like this every day? Subscribe to our mailing list

SUBSCRIBE

Follow Us


WIN