Much information about older women acting as gestational carriers might be misleading for those who are just beginning to learn about the fundamentals of surrogacy. Many agencies prefer candidates for the role of surrogate mother to be under the age of 40.
Reach out to a surrogacy expert to learn more about your options if you’re interested in becoming a surrogate mother after menopause.
Mothers who have gone through pregnancy and raised their kids feel compelled to help other couples trying to start their own families. Some grandmothers and great-grandmothers even offer to carry their grandchildren.
Where does this trend toward using older women as surrogates come from? As some articles suggest, is it possible to become a surrogate mother after going through menopause? What are the risks involved with postmenopausal surrogacy? This article addresses all issues related with surrogacy after menopause.
Can You Be a Surrogate After Menopause?
How old a surrogate can be is a complex question. The potential surrogate’s health and capacity to carry a baby to term are crucial factors. There have been cases in which postmenopausal women have borne children for their intended parents, although this is not ideal.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) suggests that a gestational surrogate should be no older than 45 years old, and many practitioners in the field adhere to this suggestion. While these guidelines acknowledge that a more senior surrogate, one who is 45 or older, may be utilized in certain circumstances, they also stress the need to keep all parties fully apprised of the dangers associated with pregnancy in women of advanced age.
Once a woman reaches menopause, she stops producing eggs entirely, making it impossible for her to conceive normally. While it’s true that eggs have a finite lifespan, the availability of an egg donor means that conception may still occur. Therefore, after menopause, it is theoretically possible to be a surrogate mother. However, most hospitals are unwilling to perform the treatments due to complications.
Thus, a surrogate mother in her sixties is an uncommon sight. She could only participate in surrogacy if a fertility clinic permitted her to do so in an unassisted pregnancy. It would be best if you met the qualifications to be a gestational carrier by the surrogacy clinic and the surrogacy agency.
Further, you must have had a previous pregnancy of at least one child to qualify for a surrogate pregnancy. Candidates must also pass the medical screening and have at least one successful pregnancy of their own child to be eligible as prospective gestational surrogates.
Becoming a Surrogate Mother After Menopause
Even though surrogacy experts seem to impose age limits that exclude postmenopausal women, tales of recognized surrogacy with older women continue to be shared and uploaded over the internet.
Talking to a surrogacy expert is the best method to determine whether you are eligible to be a surrogate after menopause since every surrogacy experience is different. Considerable weight should be given to the advice of your reproductive endocrinologist and your personal and medical history.
However, in most cases, a surrogate mother cannot be a woman who has entered menopause. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends limiting surrogate selection to women aged 45 or younger.
After menopause, a woman can no longer have children by natural means. A woman’s menstrual cycle will cease once she reaches menopause. Her ovaries will cease producing eggs, and her uterus won’t start preparing for a safe pregnancy. A woman is considered to have entered menopause if she has gone 12 months without having her period.
Surrogacy specialists try to minimize complications when a surrogate reaches menopause by instituting age limits for surrogates younger than the typical onset age of menopause.
Although, if a surrogate mother is in menopause and otherwise healthy, she may be able to collaborate with a reproductive clinic that offers autonomous surrogacy. Suppose you want to become a surrogate after menopause but are unsure of your medical eligibility. In that case, we recommend you consult fertility clinics or your primary care physician.
The Function of the Uterus
While the safety of such late-term surrogacy is questionable, it is now feasible for women who have gone through menopause to get pregnant with the help of hormone supplements and donor eggs.
The uterus continues to react to hormones forever. Pills, injections, or vaginal creams containing hormones are necessary after menopause.
Getting pregnant later in life is more of a problem for the condition of the eggs and the ovaries, which would typically offer those hormones. Still, in the case of a surrogacy process, the biological mother donates the egg. Experts argue that the synthetic hormones provided before IVF should be sustained during the first trimester before placental hormones take control.
In most cases, when the mother is older, the health of the gestational mother becomes more of a priority. There are higher risks of hypertension, gestational diabetes, and spontaneous abortion.
The volume of fluid around the blood arteries, known as vascular volume, grows considerably during pregnancy, putting additional strain on the heart.
An elderly heart lacks the muscular reserve of a younger one, making it incapable of pumping blood at such a high volume. The risk of hypertension is more significant in elderly women since their blood vessels are less elastic. Contrary to popular belief, someone at 61 can appear healthier than someone at 49. Hence, the answer to the specific question is subjective.
The Risks of Being a Surrogate Mother After Menopause
There is a logic behind why surrogacy agencies demand prospective mothers to be beyond menopause. Late-term pregnancies, particularly those that occur beyond menopause, pose more risks for the mother than pregnancies undertaken by younger women. Additional dangers arise when a woman is carrying a kid for another person.
While it is possible for women to conceive after menopause with the help of a donated egg or embryo, they often have more difficulties throughout the pregnancy. Women who are surrogate mothers throughout menopause are at increased risk for pregnancy-related diabetes, high blood pressure, premature birth and cesarean section, malformations of the placenta, miscarriage, and hard labor.
If you’re carrying your kid, taking that chance is one thing. However, following menopause is not a good time to be a surrogate mother. Please remember that the intended parents have likely gone through much before considering surrogacy. They desire a child so severely that they are willing to take all precautions necessary to increase the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy and delivery. This is why many parents-to-be choose a younger, healthier gestational carrier. That would be a woman in her twenties or thirties who has already shown she can safely carry a pregnancy.
Independent surrogacy may be the way forward for you. Maybe some of your close friends or relatives have asked you to be their surrogate mother. They know all about the difficulties of surrogacy after menopause. It is possible to complete a surrogacy without a surrogacy agency if all parties agree and meet all necessary medical procedures. Be prepared for the difficulties and commitments of independent surrogacy before you embark on this path.
The Moral and Emotional Challenges of Surrogacy After Menopause
Though the prospect of a grandmother giving birth to her grandson may seem like a genetic nightmare. However, the fact that some women did it successfully meant that the likelihood of abnormalities was fairly low. This agreement may have ethical and emotional reservations.
Is it moral to put an old mother through the strain of becoming a surrogate? Is the grandmother’s mental health at risk if she carries her grandchild and gives them to their birth parents? Well, it all depends on the arrangement and the parties involved. Whether the process was aided by a surrogacy agency or without, the success all depends on the parties involved.
Gestational moms might develop an attachment to the kid throughout pregnancy. They may be reluctant to give up the child after delivery, even if it is not biologically theirs. This is only one of the many emotional issues that can arise during a surrogacy arrangement. There may be connection concerns even if the surrogate is a close relative, like a sister, rather than a stranger.
While continuing to act as a surrogate after menopause is not impossible, experts often don’t recommend it. This is because the probability of having a difficult pregnancy increases as a woman ages. Another issue is that older women have far less success than younger women when using a surrogate to conceive. You should discuss the decision to employ a surrogate mother after menopause with a reproductive doctor. Professionals in this field can evaluate your unique dangers and provide solutions for the surrogacy journey.
While many believe that a woman may still be a surrogate after menopause, others disagree. Surrogates say that postmenopausal women face the most stringent age limitations for this procedure.
Generally, the minimum surrogate age requirement is 45 years old. Several factors are at play here. But one of the most important is ruling out potential surrogates who may have been menopausal. Parents trying to have a family will often choose a younger, healthier gestational carrier if they have the option.
Whether menopause has you wondering if you can still be a surrogate, the answer may be yes. You may have options if you decide to pursue surrogacy on your own. A surrogacy expert can tell you whether this is a realistic option.