Dear Honest Surrogate...
Deciding that you want to be a gestational surrogate is a huge deal. You start dreaming of what the process will be like and who your intended parents will be. You can’t wait to make someone’s dreams come true. Then the dreaded qualifications questions happen and you realize that you might be disqualified from being a surrogate. Keep in mind that only a small percentage of women who apply to be a surrogate ever actually become a surrogate. The strict restrictions put on surrogates, by fertility clinics, is done to give the intended parents and the surrogates the best possible chance for a positive outcome.
Dear Honest Surrogate: I contracted genital warts in high school and it has been a black cloud over me ever since. I have had two healthy pregnancies and births with no flare-ups during the births. I really want to be a surrogate but I am worried this will disqualify me from pursuing this dream, will I ever be able to be a gestational surrogate for someone? - High School Regrets
Dear Regrets: We all have things from high school that we wish we could go back and change, don’t we?!?! Having HSV-2 can make the surrogacy process more difficult. It is true that some fertility clinics won’t work with surrogates who have HSV-2. There is a slight risk of passing the disease on to the fetus in utero or during delivery. Most doctors will require you to have a c-section if you have a flare-up during the time of the birth. It is also much harder to find intended parents to match you with. Gestational surrogacy is all about having the lowest possible risk pregnancy and birth so anything that can increase risk makes the process more complicated. Don’t lose hope though, there are surrogates out there with HSV-2 who have had successful surrogacy journeys. Keep looking for the right agency, fertility clinic and IPs for you!
Dear Honest Surrogate: I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during my last pregnancy. It was my second pregnancy. I had normal blood sugar levels throughout my first pregnancy. I never took mediation for it and was able to control it with diet and exercise. Both of my pregnancies and births went smoothly and my kids are very healthy. Does this disqualify me from becoming a surrogate? - Diabetes downer
Dear DD: A gestational diabetes diagnosis doesn’t necessarily automatically disqualify you from becoming a surrogate. Some fertility clinics and/or agencies will not accept any surrogate applicants who have ever had that diagnosis, even if it was controlled by diet and exercise. The search for the right agency or finding the right intended parents to self-match with might take longer than someone who doesn’t have that diagnosis, so prepare to be patient. Some things that aren’t a big deal during our own pregnancies are a big deal during a surrogacy pregnancy. In the surrogacy world, we look for the lowest risk candidates for the safety or the surrogates and the baby/babies. Do some research on agencies to see if there is one that is a good fit for you.
Don’t just assume you are disqualified from being a surrogate because you read something on the internet or talked to someone outside of the surrogacy world who said you would be disqualified. Call agencies, call fertility clinics, ask questions. Things are run very differently from clinic to clinic and agency to agency so do your research.