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If you are considering becoming a surrogate, then you may wonder what the ideal Body Mass Index (BMI) for a surrogate is. Perhaps you’re wondering why there’s even a weight requirement to become a surrogate to begin with. We’ll look at these questions to help you understand if you would be a viable candidate for surrogacy.

While you are researching more about becoming a surrogate, you’ll discover that there are many surrogacy requirements that you have to adhere to before you can go ahead with surrogacy. All of those requirements play an important role in protecting the gestational carrier and their intended parents from the potential risks of surrogacy.

Any surrogacy requirement is in place for the benefit of those involved, and that includes BMI requirements for surrogacy.

You might not understand how important weight is when it comes to having a safe and healthy pregnancy. This is why many surrogacy professionals will place strict weight requirements on potential surrogates. BMI may be just one factor in determining health, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an important one.

The BMI Requirements for Surrogacy

We require surrogates to have a BMI of 32 or below. Having a BMI of over 35 – Class II Obesity – can more than double the time to conception for a woman. Being underweight is also a concern. Having a BMI of less than 19 can mean it takes up to four times as long to conceive.

All prospective surrogates are required to have a healthy BMI so that they can carry a child to term for the intended parents. Weight might not be the only indication of being in good health, but it is an important factor when it comes to pregnancy.

With that said, these BMI requirements can sometimes be subjective. Different specialists may have their own different opinions on what weight disqualifies a prospective surrogate mother. Another fertility specialist may allow you to move forward as a surrogate. While the American Society for Reproductive Medicine does have guidelines on the general requirements for surrogate mothers, they don’t have any on the recommended weight of surrogate mothers. Weight limitations are at the discretion of surrogacy professionals. It is up to them to set their own weight range for what they believe is best for pregnancy.

In general though, most surrogacy professionals set their BMI requirements for surrogacy to be between 19 and 32. This will disqualify most women who are classified as being medically obese or underweight – both of which are dangerous situations to be in when trying to carry a child.

For the surrogacy process, taking longer to conceive a child means losing more time and money for the intended parents and surrogate. It’s also more emotionally draining to have to wait longer. Screening potential gestational carriers to assess their BMI can help to avoid potential complications with the IVF process and ensure a smooth conception.

How to Calculate BMI

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute defines BMI (body mass index) as a useful measure of obesity and being overweight. The number is calculated using your weight and height. BMI serves as an estimate of body fat and it is a good gauge of your potential risk for diseases that are more common for overweight people.

The actual BMI number is calculated using a formula that divides your weight by your height to give an indication of body mass.

You can calculate your own BMI to understand your body mass. In terms of general healthcare, BMI is used to screen for weight categories that are more at risk of health problems including diabetes. For assisted reproduction, BMI is used to assess and qualify potential surrogate applicants.

The Risks of Being a Surrogate While Overweight

The wish to be a surrogate mother can be a strong one. Many woman around the world wonder if they can possibly continue on the path to becoming a gestational carrier if they aren’t a perfect fit for all the requirements. Some women wonder why there even has to be a weight requirement to becoming a surrogate.

As we explained above, a woman’s weight is an important part of determining the success of a pregnancy. As a gestational carrier, the intended parents you are carrying the child for want to have the best possible chance of success. They have endured months – if not years – of heartbreak before entering the surrogacy journey. What they need is a gestational carrier who has proven they can successfully – not to mention safely – carry a child to term and give birth to a healthy baby.

The weight of a woman can be a contributing factor in their ability to do that. Overweight women are more likely to run into complications during pregnancy, including;

  • Difficulties conceiving a child
  • High blood pressure, blood clotting, and preeclampsia
  • Staying pregnant past the due date
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Needing a Cesarean-Section
  • Difficulties during labor and birth, including having to remain in postpartum care for longer
  • Stillbirth and miscarriage
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Infections during pregnancy
  • And more

Women can reduce all of these risks by maintaining a healthy weight. That is why surrogacy professionals are strict in regards to the BMI of surrogates. Intended parents wish for their child to be carried by a healthy woman. Being obese means that you’ll have trouble finding intended parents that are willing to match with you and use you for their journey.

Remember that, for surrogacy, taking longer to conceive means having to invest more time, money, and emotional energy for the intended parents and their surrogate. Screening potential surrogates for BMI’s under 32 helps to avoid potential complications with the in-vitro fertilization process. We want nothing more than to create the safest scenarios for our surrogates and the highest rate of successful outcomes for intended parents.