If you have been researching becoming a surrogate, you have probably come across a list of health requirements that you need to meet before proceeding on this wonderful journey. And BMI is an important one of them. But what exactly is BMI, and why does it matter? What is the standard BMI requirement? And how can a high BMI lead to complications during a surrogacy pregnancy? Find the answer to all these questions and more below.
What Is BMI
The term “BMI” stands for body mass index. It is a measurement of the amount of fat in an individual’s body based on their weight and height. Most surrogacy professionals and agencies require that a woman’s BMI falls within a certain range before they are accepted to their surrogacy programs. Therefore, as a prospective surrogate, it’s important that you know your BMI before you begin your surrogate application process.
Calculating your BMI is simple. You only need to determine your height and weight and then use a calculator to find out your BMI according to this formula:
BMI = (703 x weight in lbs) ÷ (height in inches x height in inches)
For example, let’s say you weigh 100 pounds and are 5ft 6 inches tall. Your BMI= (703 x 100)/ (66 x 66), which is equal to 16. 1.
Generally, if your basal metabolic index (BMI) is
Why Does BMI Matter in Surrogacy?
For many intended parents, surrogacy is a financial and emotionally taxing journey. Many of them have experienced difficulty becoming pregnant or having a successful pregnancy before turning to surrogacy. It is, therefore, important to reduce the potential risks during surrogacy by ensuring that the surrogate mother is as healthy as possible. And one reliable indicator of a person’s health (yes, you guess it right) is BMI.
A surrogate’s BMI can predict the health issues that she is likely to have during the surrogacy pregnancy. We will talk more about this later on in the article.
BMI Requirements for Surrogacy
There are certain BMI requirements that women looking to become a surrogate mother need to meet before they can carry another person’s baby. But while the requirement differs from one surrogacy agency to the other, most of them abide by the guidelines stipulated by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). According to the ASRM, a prospective surrogate needs to be healthy and has a BMI in the range of 19 to 33.
This prevents most women who are underweight or obese from becoming surrogate mothers.
In surrogates, maintaining an optimal BMI is crucial for ensuring proper reproductive function and hormone regulation. An imbalance in high and low estrogen levels can affect the menstrual cycle, ovulation, and overall fertility.
However, it is good to confirm with the agency to be sure of their specific BMI requirements for surrogates before moving ahead.
A High BMI Can Lead to Complications During Pregnancy
A higher BMI in the surrogate can cause the following issues during a surrogacy journey:
Gestational diabetes is a condition where a woman who is not diabetic pre-pregnancy has elevated blood sugar levels when she is expecting a baby. This type of diabetes can cause fetal macrosomia (when a baby is considerably larger than normal), increasing the risk of a C-section delivery. Although any woman can have gestational diabetes, the risks are significantly higher in women with a BMI of more than 30.
Preeclampsia occurs when a woman develops high blood pressure and swelling in her hands, feet, and legs during pregnancy. It is a serious medical condition that poses health risks to both the surrogate and the child. Women with a BMI of 35 have been found to be twice more likely to have preeclampsia when pregnant than those who have a BMI of 25.
A More Difficult Labor
Overweight surrogates usually spend a lot more time in labor. Since the child tends to be bigger in size, a Caesarian delivery may also necessary. Besides, a surrogate with a high BMI can also have anesthesia complications or hemorrhage after labor.
Other complications that can occur due to a high surrogate’s BMI are hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, blood clotting issues, and infections during pregnancy.
That aside, studies have shown that being obese can reduce the chances of a successful IVF treatment. Researchers have also linked BMI to lower fertility in females since it can lead to ovulation problems. Lastly, a high BMI can result in IVF cycle failures and increase the risk of pregnancy loss.
A healthy BMI is essential for a safe and successful surrogacy journey. That explains why it is a crucial surrogate health requirement for surrogacy agencies and professionals. However, if you are looking to become a surrogate, there are certain lifestyle changes you can make ahead to optimize your BMI and increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy, such as doing exercise, eating healthy, taking a balanced diet, etc.