Surrogacy 101

How to Become a Surrogate: 8 Things to Consider Before You Apply

Written by Julia Gytri

October 27, 2022

Some qualifications might surprise you. 

If you’ve landed here, chances are, we already know you—or at least, we know your type. Well, let us clarify: We know what type of person you are, which is to say that you’re deeply caring, whip-smart, and have a deep-seated desire to give back. Did we get that right? Our extensive experience vetting surrogates means that we can spot a good surrogate a mile away—and these women all tend to share certain undeniable character traits. Do-gooder? Check. Incredibly responsible? Check. Hyper-communicative? Check, check, check. 


See? We said we already know you, and we kinda do.

We’re right there with you.

At Nodal, we’re building a robust community of exceptionally qualified surrogates who want to help grow families while receiving education and support from experts. We’re here to advocate for you at every step of your journey, starting with the application and screening process.


That said, you’ve already checked one of the most significant boxes on the surrogate requirement checklist: being altruistic. While that’s a great start, it’s not enough to get you across the family-facilitating finish line. There are several other significant factors to consider as you contemplate offering your services. And just to be prepared, these criteria might surprise you. 

Surrogates should be between the ages of 21 and 43 years old.

This rule is in place for several reasons. While 44+ is hardly considered “old” in cultural terms, when we look at pregnancy through a medical lens, women over the age of 35 are technically considered “advanced maternal age.” (We know it’s a horrible term—we hate it too.)


The data supports that, on a population level, pregnant women over the age of 35 are at a significantly increased risk of adverse outcomes for both the baby and the surrogate. For babies, advanced maternal age can play a role in preterm birth, stillbirth, miscarriage, and low birth weight, among other serious issues. 


But this guideline is as much in place to protect you: as women age, pregnancy increases health risks. 


There are case-by-case exceptions to this rule based on individual health status and genetic factors, which is why our upper cap is 43. But overall, this age range is standard practice and is in place to help us prepare for safe, successful pregnancies from the very beginning.

Related: You Asked: What Disqualifies You From Being A Surrogate?

A previous successful pregnancy and you must currently be parenting at least one of your children

On a practical level, this indicates you can successfully carry children and have psychological readiness. More importantly, however, we do not accept first-time carriers to protect your safety. Pregnancy is an incredibly physical and emotional process, and your first experience with it should be a personal one from which you learn about how you best thrive throughout.

You must reside in a surrogacy-friendly state.

Unfortunately, this excludes women living in states like Nebraska, Louisiana, and Michigan as well as anyone living outside of the United States. Make sure you have a basic understanding of your state’s laws around surrogacy as you consider your options.

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) must be lower than 32.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is another guideline to protect both you and the baby you’ll potentially be carrying. Studies show that babies of obese mothers are at greater risk of miscarriage, premature birth, or experiencing birth complications, congenital anomalies, and even stillbirth. Intrauterine exposure to obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing obesity and metabolic disorders as babies grow. As a surrogate, it’s essential to know that pregnant women with obesity are at an increased risk of developing the following: gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and venous thromboembolism. They may also require induced labor or cesarean sections, which pose their own set of serious medical risks.

Related: How to Calculate Your BMI

Financial stability is important.

This criterion serves as a layer that helps avoid any potential sudden risks to the pregnancy or unforeseen issues. To qualify as a surrogate, you cannot participate in any government assistance programs, including cash assistance or welfare, public housing provisions or Section 8 housing, or food stamps and SNAP benefits.

A clean bill of health is absolutely critical

If you have already checked the box of successfully having and parenting a child of your own, this rule is an obvious no-brainer, but clarity and transparency are our strong suits. The severe, negative effects of drinking, smoking, and/or drug use on a fetus are universally understood and backed by extensive research. 

A willingness to travel for appointments.

As much as we would love to hold your hand throughout your entire journey, our ample available resources, unfortunately, don’t include a dedicated personal driver! Brainstorm and arrange to have one or more options for accessible, reliable, safe transportation to and from your doctor’s appointments.

On that note, we want you to have a strong support system.

We know how strong you are, but the surrogacy experience is challenging, not just for you but for your loved ones and the Intended Parents with whom you’ll be working. Each match brings a unique bonding experience, but it is always a great idea to have your own system in place as you undergo immense physical changes throughout your pregnancy. Have open, honest conversations with your loved ones about what you are doing and how they can best support you.

So just to recap, the ideal surrogate candidate: 

- Is 21-43 years old
- Has experienced at least 1 successful pregnancy, with no complications
- Currently parenting
at least one of those children
- Lives in a surrogacy friendly state 
- Has a BMI of <32
- Does not financially rely on government assistance in any form
- Does not smoke, use drugs, or drink alcohol

- Can travel to appointments independently
- Has a reliable personal support system

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated support team by:

- Live chat
- Email at

If you’re ready to apply to become part of our game-changing network, we’re excited to meet you!

Apply Now

Keep Reading