how to become a surrogate
You want to make a difference in someone’s life, in an extraordinary way.
You want to give your kids something more, better opportunities, a better quality-of-life.
You want to show your family what it’s like to love others in a way that makes strangers into family.
You’re already a super-mom— what better way for a super-mom to level up?
There are a lot of misconceptions about surrogacy, so we’ve listed the answers to the most common questions right here!
Looking for more answers? Check out our FAQ page!
You can be a surrogate, while working, going to school, staying home raising a family, and being the boss babe you already are.
You can bring an additional $40,000 – $70,000+ into your household (plus be reimbursed for childcare, lost wages, medical expenses, etc.)
You are able to match with intended parents you choose. This is your journey, too!
You’re NOT related to the baby in any way. (science is amazing!)
With Surrogacy is… you’ll be guided by experienced surrogates every step of the way.
There are two types of surrogacy, but we’ll focus on the type of surrogacy that we support, which is gestational surrogacy.
A gestational surrogate is an exceptional mom who volunteers to carry a baby for hopeful parents who are unable to carry a pregnancy on their own, for all sorts of reasons. These would-be parents need a hero, and that hero is you.
Your eggs are not used in gestational surrogacy, and you’re not related to the baby in any way. You’re just keeping their bun in your miracle-working oven.
And while you hear a lot about how much of a hero surrogates are to intended parents, what’s not often talked about is how much of a hero surrogates are to their own families.
Surrogates are generously compensated for carrying someone else’s baby, and the surrogates we know and love have made tremendous impacts in their own families’ lives, too.
We think that’s something to be just as proud of!
To become a surrogate, you need to have had at least one uncomplicated pregnancy and birth, be between the ages of 21-45, and be in good physical and mental health.
These surrogacy requirements have been determined for good reason. We want to make sure surrogacy is as safe as possible, as well as ensure the most successful outcomes possible— for you, the intended parents, and the baby!
You may not realize it, but your body’s ability to nourish a healthy baby AND bring them into the world isn’t just amazing — it’s rare.
You may not have felt special as you struggled to see your feet and you stopped fitting into your bras, but we promise: you really are so, so freaking special.
And we need moms just like you to bring joy to a family in the making and to your family as well.
Take The Quiz
Our 8-minute quiz is designed to help you find out quickly if you meet the deal-breaker requirements for surrogacy.
Speak w/ an advocate
Schedule a time at your convenience to talk with an experienced surrogate to make sure surrogacy is safe for you and decide what you want out of the process.
Review agency options
Your personal Surrogate Advocate will build you a profile to share with the agencies that best align with you. Then you get to compare those options side by side!
Meet your agency
After reviewing your options and making a decision, we’ll make an introduction to the agency who is excited to meet you and start your pre-screening!
Once your medical records are carefully reviewed, background checks are done, and pre-screening is complete, you get to select the intended parents you want to help!
The final step to make sure the process is safe for you is an in person medical screening with the intended parents IVF doctor or Reproductive Endocrinologist.
You and your attorney (at no cost to you!) will review and make any changes needed to a contract laying out all the details, rights, and responsibilities of all parties, including your compensation details and every what-if scenario imaginable…
IVF & Embryo Transfer
Once everything is agreed upon, you will begin IVF medications and have an embryo with the intended parents (or donor’s) genetic material transferred into your uterus.
Once pregnancy is confirmed, you will be closely monitored for the first several weeks until you graduate to your regular OB for prenatal care. You will be well cared for and compensated for things like maternity clothes, and any extras needed to make sure you’re extra comfortable.
Delivery & Postpartum
You will follow the birth plan agreed upon by you and your intended parents that honors your experience and allows you all to revel in the joy of a journey complete!
Check out more stories on Insta!
Surrogacy is continuously evolving as different states adapt laws and regulations to protect the surrogate, and the intended parents, as well as the child. To help provide you with the most accurate information, we’ve published separate pages that give the latest information on how to become a surrogate in each state.
In addition, we’ve also outlined general information about surrogacy in the United States and how moms who are willing to help can navigate through the process and become surrogates.
Click on the state you are located in for more information or you can scroll down below for general information about surrogacy and becoming a surrogate in the United States.
The Most Surrogate Friendly States
California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, Washington.
Surrogate Friendly States
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, West Virginia
Still Possible But Be Very Cautious
Not Possible At All
Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska
States with the most Gay Friendly laws for Intended Parents
California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia
Take our short 8-minute quiz now.
What is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a process where a woman carries and delivers another person or couple's child. This pregnancy happens through in vitro fertilization (IVF), which means this woman does not have any biological connection to the baby.
The surrogate is the ‘gestational carrier;’ this means she is providing the womb to carry the embryo for the Intended Parents (IP’s).
In surrogacy, there are Intended Parents, agencies, and surrogates.
The Intended Parents (IP’s) are the individuals looking to build their family or bring a baby into the world. The agencies work directly with the IP’s, helping them find the right surrogate candidates, coordinating with attorneys, helping with logistics (insurance, psychologists, contracts, etc.) and supporting them in the decision-making process. This way the IP’s can focus on developing a relationship with the surrogate! And the surrogates are the incredible mamas who help make it all happen!
Is Surrogacy Is...❤️ an agency?
Not at all. We're Surrogate Advocates who support amazing moms in their surrogacy journeys. We help you choose from vetted, ethical surrogacy agencies who are motivated to do their best work for our candidates.
We're like your experienced surrogate best friend, who can guide you through this process... 100% free.
What are the requirements to become a surrogate?
We offer a quick (free!) quiz to help you see if you’d be a good candidate for surrogacy. Click here to take it now!
There are several requirements for surrogates (in order to protect the health of both the surrogate and the baby). You can find them on our requirements page.
Here are a few:
- having at least one successful, full-term pregnancy
- being within a recommended age range
- having a ‘healthy’ BMI
- free of tobacco and recreational drugs
- having a strong support system
To be honest, some of these requirements can be confusing (or, frankly, feel a bit limiting). So, once you take the quiz, if you have questions, feel free to reach out to us! We’d be happy to explain, provide clarity on your qualifications, or work with you on the next steps in your journey.
Why can't I be a surrogate if my BMI is higher?
We put ‘healthy’ in quotes for a reason—because what’s considered ‘healthy’ is so different for each person! And, depending on a myriad of other factors, you may not need to fall exactly within this range.
However, a BMI between 18-32 is recommended because this is what is considered medically healthy for a surrogate undergoing IVF and other treatments along the journey.
A BMI that falls under the range may be too low for a safe pregnancy and delivery. It may also point to underlying health conditions for the surrogate. A higher BMI can impact the effectiveness of the IVF treatment, how your body responds to the medication, and ovarian function in general. A higher BMI can also lead to pregnancy and birth complications, too, which is why this requirement is set–not only for surrogates but at all fertility clinics.
In short, the BMI range is all about ensuring the healthiest pregnancy possible.
I qualified. What is my next step?
First of all congratulations! Only 4 out of 10 women who take the quiz meet all of the requirements, so it's super rare to have both the heart and the health history to qualify as a surrogate!
The next step after passing our 8-minute quiz is to schedule a Q&A with one of our awesome surrogate advocates. They’re experienced surrogates, too! They’ll walk you through the whole process, help to build your profile, determine your ideal compensation, and match you with the best agency out there specifically to match your unique wants, needs, and personality.
Can I be a surrogate if I had a tubal ligation?
Yes! You can become a surrogate if you’ve had tubal ligation.
Tubal ligation is a surgery that involves cutting and tying the fallopian tubes (which prevents an egg from entering the uterus or sperm from passing from the tube to the egg).
In surrogacy, pregnancy happens through IVF—where the fertilized egg/embryo is transferred directly to the uterus—which doesn’t involve the tubes at all! So, in short, you can still bring your IP’s baby into the world even after tubal ligation.
How do the payments work and how much are surrogates compensated?
- Typical compensation packages for surrogacy consist of a base compensation ranging from $45,000 – $75,000, based on several factors plus additional payments for milestones leading up to and throughout the pregnancy, such as medication start, embryo transfer, maternity clothing at second trimester, and more.
- All expenses are paid for the surrogate to meet with the parents’ IVF doctor for an in-person medical evaluation. If travel is required, those expenses are paid for as well as a per diem for meals and expenses.
- Compensation and Benefit Packages typically start once legal contracts are signed and a trust account is fully funded with the entire surrogate compensation and expenses.
- Surrogates receive their base compensation in monthly installments throughout the pregnancy.
Read more about surrogacy compensation: https://surrogacy.is/compensation/
Will my eggs be used?
No, your eggs won’t be used in the surrogacy process.
There are two types of surrogacy—traditional and gestational—and with gestational surrogacy (the type of surrogacy we focus on!), the IP’s eggs and sperm will be used.
So, in short, the surrogate will not be biologically related to the baby at all.
Why does my spouse/partner need a background check?
Although it might seem strange that your significant other needs a background check, this is a requirement in place to protect all aspects and all individuals in the surrogacy journey.
A background check (both for the surrogate and her spouse) helps to ensure the safety of the environment for surrogate and baby during pregnancy and birth.
(Don’t worry, the Intended parents undergo a background check too!)
Are there limits to how many live births or c-section I can have?
Yes, you can’t have more than 2 C-sections (or 3 with a clearance letter from your OB) or more than 6 live births
Do I need to be COVID vaccinated?
There are a few required vaccinations for surrogacy: TDAP, Varicella (chickenpox immunity), MMR (measles, mumps, rubella). Others, for example flu and COVID are flexible.
Some IP’s may have specific requirements for their surrogate to ensure safety during pregnancy and delivery, or to match their lifestyle and values.
It’s best to first take our short quiz to see if you qualify as a surrogate candidate. When you take the quiz, you’ll be able to see and understand the basic requirements.
From there, we will connect with you to learn your goals, perspectives, and values—and connect you with an agency that honors your choices.
What are the age requirements for surrogates?
Must be between the ages 21 - 45
Every prospective surrogate must be at least 21 years old before she can be approved for surrogacy. This minimum age requirement is set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, based on what experts have identified as the best indicators of success for a gestational carrier.
But most importantly age restrictions exist only to protect the surrogate and the baby's health and give the best chance for successful outcomes!
Do I need to be a US citizen to become a surrogate?
To become a surrogate, you need to be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident.
Can I be a surrogate if I'm a single mother?
Yes! You absolutely can be a single mom and a surrogate. You just need to make sure you have a good support system. You might need emotional support or potentially someone to be with your kids while you are attending appointments or delivering your intended parents’ magical, miracle baby.
Will I be the one paying for medical expenses?
No. All medical expenses are covered by insurance or the intended parents/agency. All expenses are paid for the surrogate to meet with the parents’ IVF doctor for an in-person medical evaluation. If travel is required, those expenses are paid for as well as a per diem for meals and expenses.
Also, before surrogate pregnancy, typical benefits & compensation can include:
- Monthly non-accountable allowance starting at $250+ per month throughout the journey
- Mock Cycle Fee starting at $500+
- Medication Start Fee starting at $500+
- Signing and other bonuses starting at $1000+
- Embryo Transfer Fee starting at $1000+
- Health Insurance Monthly Premium (actual cost)
- Legal Counsel (actual cost)
What if the intended parents change their mind? Will I be stuck with the baby?
Parents that have decided to choose surrogacy have already been through a lot! The couples that I carried for had already fallen in love with the EMBRYOS before they transferred them to my uterus. They knew the sex of the future baby, and that they had all the normal chromosomes they should have. They knew for a decade before trying surrogacy that they would find a way to bring those embryos to life. And that’s the story of a lot of those couples. They have invested so much time, hope, tears, and resources to make it possible for their children to be born. They will never change their mind about it! But if they did (which they won’t!) there are fully enforceable legal contracts in place, as well as a fully funded trust account that has your entire compensation and medical expenses in it before you even begin IVF medications. The legal contract even has provisions in place for a next of kin, should anything happen to the parents before the baby is born, so there is someone ready and able to take them home and love them when they are born. When you get to the matching stage and hear the parent’s stories, you will see. Intended parents love their children just as much as we love our own.
How does gestational surrogacy work?
A gestational surrogate becomes pregnant via IVF. The embryo is created in a lab, where the intended mother or donor egg is fertilized with the intended father or donor’s sperm. The embryo is then implanted into the surrogate’s uterus. With this method, the surrogate is not related to the baby. The majority of surrogacy arrangements are gestational these days.
Won't I get attached to the baby?
At first glance, it would seem obvious that a surrogate would get attached to the child, right?!
But as a surrogate, you go into the process with eyes wide open to the fact that the child you are caring for is not your own.There is not that sense of yearning you have when you’re carrying your own child, wondering if it will have your eyes or your husband’s nose. You are not choosing the baby’s name. You’re not imagining all of the big moments the way you do with your own sweet babies!
You go into the pregnancy in a very non-romantic, science-based way, and you know that this kid’s parents loved her before she was ever conceived, and fought so hard to make her life a reality.
In fact, you probably will feel more attached to the intended parents, and not the baby.
Do I need to be close to you or my agency?
Nope! We partner with agencies all over the US, who work with surrogates, intended parents, and hospitals all over the US.
If you prefer a local match or less travel, we will help you find agency options that meet your needs, but geography won't hurt your ability to
Does it take a long time to get matched?
Once we review your agency options with you and you choose your ideal agency, you'll complete their intake process until you're cleared to match. There are a lot more intended parents than surrogates, so matching is usually fairly quick for surrogates. From the time you complete the intake process to match, it takes about 30 days on average.
Do I get to choose the Intended Parents I help?
💯 you do! We work hard to find you the right agency who has the type of intended parents you want to help. We have a great relationship with our agencies, and they know how important it is to us that they find you the intended parents you're hoping for!
Are all surrogate advocates the same?
While there are very few companies who call themselves surrogate advocates, we're definitely not all the same. For example, Surrogacy Is...❤️ is founded and privately owned by experienced surrogates whose singular focus is to advocate for other women entering this process, in the way we wish we'd had when we were starting out.
At Surrogacy is... being a surrogate advocate is not a "gimmick" or a sales pitch. It is in the DNA of each member of our organization, and our sole purpose for existing.
While there are others out there who call themselves "surrogate advocates" most are owned or funded by agencies whose interest is to recruit surrogates into their program, whether or not it's the right and best fit for each surrogate.