Surrogacy 101

You Asked: Can I Be a Surrogate If I've Had a C-section?

Written by Caroline Shannon

April 18, 2023

A C-section isn't necessarily a dealbreaker. Here's why you might still qualify to be a surrogate.

If you've been researching surrogacy for a bit now, it won't come as a surprise that becoming a surrogate involves a thorough intake and screening process. After all, you are applying to become a gestational carrier! In other words, surrogacy is a BFD and you want to make sure you have every measure possible in place to ensure your health throughout the process.

But the screening process might also make you wonder about certain factors that may keep you from becoming a surrogate, including past pregnancy complications or a prior C-section. For instance, can you be a surrogate after a C-section, and if so, what would that even look like? Keep reading for more details.

What is a C-section?

If you’ve had a C-section—or cesarean delivery—then you already know all about this. But for those who are reading and not quite familiar with the procedure, a C-section is a surgical procedure in which a baby is delivered through surgical incisions made in the abdomen and uterus. The procedure is typically performed while the carrier is under anesthesia, and recovery time can vary depending on the individual case.

According to the World Health Organization, the ideal rate of C-sections is estimated to be between 10 percent and 15 percent of all births. However, the actual rate of C-sections is much higher in many countries, with some reaching rates as high as 50 percent or more.

In the United States in 2021, 32.1% of live births were cesarean deliveries, according to the March of Dimes.

Can I be a surrogate if I’ve had a C-section?

Your C-section history won't automatically prevent you from becoming a surrogate. However, it's crucial to consult your physician to see if any complications could arise during a future pregnancy.

The main reason? Because the best experience for a surrogate, IP(s), and baby-to-be ensures everyone is healthy and cared for along the way, including prior C-sections that might affect a surrogacy pregnancy.

Related: What to Expect from the Surrogacy Intake and Screening Process

So, what else disqualifies you from being a surrogate?

Before we dig into surrogate qualifications, let us remind you that no matter if you become a surrogate or not, you’ve already checked a major box—being a deeply caring person who wants to give back. That makes you, well, kind of a rockstar human. 

That said, there are some reasons you might not qualify to be a surrogate. In fact, there are five major ones we often run into when we are chatting with potential surrogates. Keep reading to learn more.

1. You receive government assistance. If you or your dependents receive government assistance, you will not qualify as a surrogate. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, government assistance includes (but is not limited to) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), workers' compensation, and more.

2. You are not yet done having biological children. Because of the myriad issues that can occur during any pregnancy, this one is in place to protect what you still might want in the future. If you are still building your family and want to become pregnant, we don’t want surrogacy to keep you from doing that.

Related: Can I Be a Surrogate If I Might Not Be Done Having My Own Kids?

3. You’ve had previous pregnancy complications. You’ll find surrogacy is not an option if you’ve had past pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia, pre-term labor, gestational diabetes, and late-term miscarriage.

4. You are taking medication for a psychiatric condition. Your mental health is paramount whether you’re considering becoming a surrogate or not. Antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or other prescription medications may help you to navigate your day-to-day better (and we fully support that!), but taking any of the above means you will not be qualified to become a surrogate.

5. Your BMI is above 32. Like age, the qualification that your BMI is less than 32 is in place to protect you and the baby. 

The bottom line.

The ultimate decision of whether or not you can become a surrogate after a C-section is up to your healthcare provider, a measure that is put in place to protect all involved parties who may be involved in the surrogacy journey.

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