5 Disqualifications For Surrogacy: Why Not Everyone Can Be A Surrogate

There are many benefits to becoming a surrogate, from the emotional fulfillment of helping create a family to the financial rewards. But before you embark on your surrogacy journey, it’s essential to understand the requirements of the process and the disqualifying factors that may mean you are unable to become a surrogate.  

Although we want to encourage all women thinking of becoming a surrogate to reach out and consider filling out a pre-screen, we have strict guidelines regarding who we accept. This helps ensure the mental well-being and physical health of the surrogate and child, as well as the safety of everyone involved. 

The following guide will help you better understand what factors may disqualify you as a surrogate and why.

Why Potential Surrogates Get Disqualified 

The more surrogates a surrogacy program can accept, the better. After all, more surrogates means that more families can get the chance to have a baby. However, while we strive to accept as many women as possible, there are certain factors that may disqualify some from the program. 

Any reputable program will uphold strict clinical and program criteria from the beginning to ensure the health and safety of all involved. Upfront screening using clinical criteria respects applicants’ time – protecting them from wasted effort or dashed hopes. 

The following are the five major disqualifying factors that applicants will be screened for by reputable surrogacy programs:

1. Age

One of the significant disqualifying factors for surrogacy is age. KindEOS’s program requires surrogates to be between the ages of 21 to 40 years old. 

Generally speaking, women under 21 are considered too young to take on the responsibility that comes with surrogacy. To become a surrogate, you must be mature and experienced enough to make  sensitive judgment calls and responsible and stable enough to adhere to your doctor’s instructions as well as submit to a rigorous schedule in support of your pregnancy.

On the other hand, women over 40 are considered past optimal range to safely carry a child through pregnancy. It’s important to remember that there are additional risks for older women who become pregnant, and the program needs to take into account these health considerations.  

Some of the risks that women over 40 face when it comes to becoming a surrogate include the following:

  • Trouble getting pregnant in the first place
  • High blood pressure
  • Giving birth to a premature baby
  • Giving birth to a baby with low weight
  • Giving birth to a stillborn
  • Having a miscarriage
  • Requiring a cesarean section

2. History Of Smoking And Substance Abuse

Another factor that can disqualify you as a surrogate is your smoking or substance abuse history. While some agencies may make exceptions to this rule, most will not allow you to participate in a surrogacy program if you smoke or have used illegal drugs. Health is always the priority of the program, and substance abuse can put you and the potential child at risk.

Even if you don’t currently smoke or use illegal substances, it is essential to be honest about your past if you have ever done so. This is because past smoking or substance abuse can impact health and is a serious consideration. Additionally, there could be other risks, as the baby could be born prematurely, have congenital disabilities, or develop other health problems.

3. Poor Physical Or Mental Health

The surrogate’s health is of utmost importance to us. Every reputable surrogacy program will do thorough screenings and background checks to ensure each applicant is physically healthy and mentally stable.

A surrogate’s physical health is critical to reducing the risk of potential physical complications during pregnancy and birth. Good physical health also reduces the risk that the baby is born with health issues. Plus, who wants to be pregnant on top of poor health? That sounds miserable! Pregnancy is tricky enough on its own. There is no point to adding to existing complications.  

Mental well-being is also vital. Reputable surrogacy agencies take mental health seriously because the logistics surrounding pregnancy can be stressful and in some instances, can impact relationships. 

It wouldn’t be fair to let someone with less than stable mental well-being become a surrogate, as the entire experience could exacerbate any pre-existing issues. Certainly, intended parents only want the most trustworthy and stable of women to take on the role of carrying their child. 

As such, self-reporting as well as mental screenings, and extensive interview process help to ensure applicants are in a good place.

With all that in mind, these are some disqualifying factors the surrogacy programs look for during physical, mental, and background screenings:

Out-Of-Range BMI 

Body Mass Index (BMI) measures body fat based on height and weight. A low BMI can cause fertility problems. Conversely, a high BMI can also be a disqualification.

For this reason, most reputable programs will not accept surrogate candidates if their BMI is outside the acceptable range. The limitation varies from program to program, although the typical accepted BMI range is between 19 to 30.

Those Without A Uterus

If you don’t have a uterus (either due to surgery or other medical conditions), you won’t be able to become a surrogate. It is fundamental that to be a surrogate, you must have an intact uterus. The uterus is a vital part of carrying a pregnancy.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases 

A sexually transmitted disease (STD) can disqualify you from being a surrogate. Some STDs, such as HIV, can be passed onto the baby during pregnancy and have detrimental health consequences. 

If you have a history of STDs, you might still be able to participate in a surrogacy program as long as it’s been a few years since you were cleared. It is essential to disclose all health information with the program, including any history of or current STDs. Again honest and upfront information share is essential.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder related to fertility. Women with PCOS can still become pregnant, but it is much harder for them to do so. For this reason, many surrogacy agencies will not allow women with PCOS to participate in their programs to protect their health and the baby. 

We don’t want our surrogates to sacrifice their time and effort only to fail to become pregnant. Such an experience can have a negative impact on everyone involved, including the surrogate and the intended parents.


Pre-eclampsia is a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication that can cause high blood pressure and other serious issues. If you have a history of preeclampsia, you won’t be able to become a surrogate as the risk of complications is too high, and we don’t want to put you or the baby at risk.


A history of depression may also disqualify you from becoming a surrogate, as surrogacy can be emotionally taxing, and depression can make it difficult to cope with the challenges. 

Additionally, if you’re using certain medications to treat your depression, then those medications could potentially interfere with the pregnancy. As such, most agencies ensure you are mentally and emotionally prepared for the process before they approve your application.

Pregnancy History 

All applicants must provide proof (health records) that they have given birth to at least one child without complications. This is for two key reasons. First, it ensures that the surrogate completely understands the pregnancy process. And second, it helps to ensure the surrogate is physically capable of becoming pregnant and carrying a baby to term.

Additionally, if you are currently breastfeeding, you won’t be able to start the surrogacy process until your child is weaned. Although breastfeeding doesn’t necessarily present a risk, surrogacy agencies must ensure you have enough time and energy for the surrogacy process.

Surrogacy agencies may also not accept your application if you have had more than five vaginal pregnancies, which is usually the surrogacy program’s limit. The reason is that carrying multiple babies can be difficult on your body and may increase the risk of complications. 

In addition, if you’ve had more than three c-sections in the past, you’ll be disqualified because it would be too risky for you to go through another one.

5. Lack Of A Support System

Surrogacy is a long and complicated process requiring hard work and dedication. After all, it takes nine months to complete just the gestational portion of the journey. A support system is vital in helping you through the regularly scheduled process as well as any challenges that may arise. Your support system can include your friends, family, and other loved ones. 

As such, agencies and programs often ensure that an applicants have a stable support system before approving your application. 

The following are some additional reasons surrogates must have a support system:

Unsafe Environment And Surrogate Location

If you don’t have a strong support network, it can be difficult for the surrogacy program to ensure your environment is safe. For example, if the surrogate lives in an unsafe neighborhood, the baby could be at risk. Additionally, suppose the surrogate lives far away from the clinic. In that case, they’ll need people around them to drive them to and from appointments.

Unstable Financial Situation

Financial stability is crucial. As a gestational surrogate, you may not be currently accepting most forms of governmental assistance and most programs will require applicants to have established healthcare.

Lack of access to healthcare or other necessary resources, it could put both you and the baby at risk and puts Intended Parents in an awkward position of being asked to cover for health and lifestyle, unrelated to the pregnancy of their child.

Find Out If You’re Qualified To Become A Surrogate

Here at KindEOS, we take the surrogacy qualification process incredibly seriously. The last thing we want to do is risk the health and safety of our surrogates, which is why we have such strict and rather upfront about our guidelines.

We do extensive background checks, including checking references and medical records and completing thorough examinations. If there are any possibly disqualifying factors, or “orange flags” we will work with you to determine if surrogacy is still possible. However, for their own safety, the wellbeing of the child conceived, the program and the Intended parents, not everyone who wises to become a surrogate may do so.

If you need clarification on any of the requirements or disqualifications of surrogacy, feel free to begin a prescreen application. Our team of experts will then be in touch to answer all your queries about surrogacy and provide personalized guidance and support throughout the process. 

From helping you determine if you’re qualified to become a surrogate to guiding you through the legal paperwork and medical procedures, our team is here to provide you with the best care and support possible. 

CTA – Make parenthood possible. Learn about our surrogate requirements here and apply! 

Kindbody is a new generation of women's health and fertility care. Providing you with the information you need to take control of your health and make the decisions that are right for you. We’re a community of healthcare providers, fertility specialists, and women who get it. We’re on a mission to democratize and de-stigmatize women’s health and fertility care, making it accessible, intuitive, and empowering.