When it comes to determining if a woman is eligible to become a surrogate, there are legal requirements, agency policies, and fertility clinic requirements she must comply with.

Legal Requirements
Under New York Law, a woman must meet the following criteria to become a surrogate:
• At least 21 years old
• US citizen or legal permanent resident
• Single, married with her spouse participating, or married but legally separated if her spouse is not participating (check out our blog on surrogates’ spouses: https://www.nysurrogacycenter.com/surrogacy-blogs/role-of-the-surrogates-spouse/)
• Successfully complete a medical screening (see Fertility Clinic Requirements section below for what is considered during the medical screening)

Agency Policies
The legal requirements set the minimum bar for who can become a surrogate. Each surrogacy agency will have its own additional requirements it feels are necessary to protect both the women applying to becomes surrogates and the intended parents they are matching with surrogates. Here are the NYSC requirements:
• Must have had at least one full term pregnancy (37 weeks) without significant complications
• Must not have had more than five prior deliveries
• Must not have had more than three C-sections
• Must not have had more than one miscarriage
• Must not have had more than one still birth
• Must be in good mental and physical health
• Must have a BMI below 35
• Must not have ever been diagnosed with Hepatitis B
• Must not have any STDs or HIV
• Must not have any unresolved or ongoing issues with eating disorders
• Must not have any prior issues with severe post-partum depression
• Must not routinely consume more than one alcoholic beverage per day
• Must be drug-free (including marijuana)
• Must not smoke cigarettes
• Must not have gotten a tattoo or body piercing with the last twelve months
• Must have no prior indicated findings of child abuse
• Must have no disqualifying criminal convictions
• Must not be on probation or parole
• Must not be a current victim of domestic violence
• Must not have travelled to any country or area identified by the CDC as being at risk for Zika infection within the last 12 months (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information)
• Must be willing to submit to an HIV/STD screening, a comprehensive medical examination and a comprehensive mental health screening
Some agencies will not work with potential surrogates who are on any type of public assistance. However, this is not a legal requirement. For New York surrogates, the law requires that they be warned that they could lose their eligibility for public assistance if they receive compensation as a surrogate. This is certainly something to be considered by the surrogate, but NYSC does not automatically disqualify potential surrogates on this basis. We do, however, want to make sure that our surrogates are motivated to be surrogates for appropriate reasons and are not feeling financial pressure or coercion to do so. For that reason, we have any surrogate who is receiving public assistance go through a “mini” psychological screening with one of our social workers before she is cleared for matching.
Fertility Clinic Requirements
Each clinic will have different requirements, but most base their requirements on the guidelines from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (https://www.asrm.org/). Those guidelines include that the surrogate is/has:
• Between 21 and 45 years of age
• Healthy
• Stable social environment with adequate support
• At least one uncomplicated, full-term pregnancy that resulted in delivery of a child
• No more than 5 prior deliveries
• No more than 3 prior C-sections
• No STDs or HIV

As you can see, NYSC includes these guidelines in our criteria in hopes that our surrogates will not have any issues being medically cleared by the Intended Parent’s fertility clinic after they are matched.