Yes, you can be a surrogate mother if you have had a c-section.
That was a simple answer. Six months after your c-section, you can come in and apply to be a surrogate mother. A c-section does not interfere with your qualifications. We will have you complete an application and put you through all the appropriate tests to make sure you qualify and, if you do, that you are ready to receive the intended mother’s embryo or the embryo of an egg donor when the time comes.
But what about multiple c-sections. Is there a limit?
It is generally not recommended to have too many c-sections. With each procedure, new risks are introduced, both for mother and for child. Each time you are cut open, new scar tissue forms, and that can pose an issue for proper implantation of the egg in the lining of the uterus. Obviously, this will differ from one procedure to the next, so your situation will have to be evaluated on its own.
Increased numbers of c-sections can also increase the risk of bleeding associated with the conditions of placenta accreta, placenta increta and placenta percreta. There are other risks with these three conditions, such as premature birth and delivery complications. Sometimes bleeding can be life-threatening, and also can result in a blood transfusion or in a hysterectomy. These are not conditions to take lightly.
Bladder and bowel issues that are uncommon on first-time c-sections, are much more common on repeat c-sections. These are likely the result of adhesions binding the bladder and the uterus together that develop after a c-section, and causing problems in the next pregnancy.
All these conditions are real, but it is not meant to scare you. Many women have multiple c-sections with no complications or with minimal (manageable) complications. However, fertility clinics want to be on the safe side and ensure the health and safety of their surrogate mothers and the babies they carry. There are many cases of women having 3-4 c-sections, but four is pretty much the cap that most fertility clinics will allow, and many of them will cap it at two. We are a little more strict, capping it at two previous c-sections.
The clinic is not the only payer involved. Your GP or your obstetrician might tell you when enough is enough, even if you feel ready to go with one more. You might also find it challenging to get matched after three c-sections. Intended parents might not be willing to take the risks involved after multiple c-sections. You certainly do not want to go into any significant medical procedure with risks involved.
So, yes, you can be a surrogate mother if you have had a c-section, or even 2-3 c-sections. But each clinic and each insurance company will have its own fixed limits, and the clinic and your own doctor might also stop you at a certain point. Just because we cap it at four previous c-sections does not mean that in your particular case we would approve it that high, for instance. In addition to any ceilings, we and the other medical partners are going to look at your medical situation on a case by case basis and stop you if the risk seems too great.