"I can't believe that just when I want to help someone else as a surrogate and give the ultimate gift I am rejected by 3 agencies because my BMI is too high! What is the deal here? I was 42 lbs overweight with my last 2 kids and everything was just fine! I think I'll go indy!!" Oh, you just don't know how many times I have read this, heard it, or have talked about these 'weighty' issues. If you think I am quoting Y.O.U. believe me, I am not. You just happen to fall into a very large category of rejected surrogate applicants.
Agencies, for the most part, are not run by doctors or nutritionists however, they do take their direction, when it comes to medical qualifications, from the Reproductive Endocrinologists (RE's). It won't matter if you "go independent" or through an agency, when it comes to weight, the scale at the RE's office will be the deciding factor. Many clinics are very strict and will not accept any surrogate over a 30 BMI. Some will make exceptions for 10 or 15 lbs over that but the majority will reject you at least until you are under their weight limit. So basically the agency is saving the Intended Parents time and money by not accepting you into their program. (It costs the agency or the IP money the minute you step foot into the Dr's office for a medical exam.)
A BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight.
A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy.
A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight.
A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.
It doesn't feel very good, does it, to be called obese. Because that is what it means when your BMI is over 30. So we all know that obesity is a huge problem in America and the "side effects" of being obese are numerous. The agency doesn't want to put your health in jeopardy, nor do they want the RE's office to think that they find women who are obese acceptable as surrogates. Women who want to become surrogates need to be as healthy as possible and taking care of your body is high on the list.
If you don't know this already one of the side effects of obesity is...guess...premature birth risk. "A new Journal of the American Medical Association study found that obesity increases a woman's chance of having a preterm baby, especially when her body mass index is 35 or higher. The study's authors speculate that having too much fat may inflame and weaken the uterine and cervical membranes. Whatever the reason, it can have devastating effects. Premature birth is the leading cause of infant death and long-term disabilities." Quoted from ABC News.
So, if you really want to be a surrogate then help yourself first and get into the best shape you can now. Don't judge how your own pregnancies went because a surrogacy journey has many more medical layers and a lot more money and people involved. Most of all, don't take this 'rejection' to heart. This IS something you can control, change and be better off once you do.
Check out the first of this series: What is Happening at the Surrogacy Agency-A Sneak Peek Behind the Scenes of the Matching Process