What is BMI?

BMI is short for body-mass index. It’s a measurement of a person’s body fat, calculated using their height and weight. If you don’t already know your BMI, you can check it on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services National Institutes of Health website using the BMI calculator.

If Your BMI is

  • Less than 18.5, you’re underweight
  • 18.5–24.9, you’re of normal weight
  • 25–29.9, you’re considered overweight
  • 30+, you’re considered medically obese

What BMI is Ok and Who Decides?

Most intended parents are already working with a fertility specialist, and the same physician will be the one who performs all of the initial treatments, including IVF and the embryo transfer. It’s this doctor who will set his own guidelines for health and weight requirements. Most doctors prefer to work with women who have a BMI of 33 or lower (some say 31-32), though others will provide treatment for people with a BMI of up to 35.  Considering the average American woman is 5 feet 4 inches, she’d have to weigh 192 pounds to qualify, having a BMI of 33.

Why Does BMI Matter?

BMI is a very reliable indicator of potential complications, risks and health problems a woman might face throughout the surrogacy process, and given the very delicate nature of surrogacy, it’s important to minimize these risks as much as possible.

If Your BMI is Too High

It takes longer to become pregnant. Generally speaking, it takes women with a BMI of 35 or more twice as long to become pregnant. Equally, it takes underweight women four times as long.

You’re more prone to gestational diabetes. Even though any woman may have gestational diabetes, women with a BMI over 30 are three-times more likely to have it.

You’re more likely to have high blood pressure. Women with a BMI over 30 are more likely to have issues controlling their blood pressure throughout a pregnancy.

The risk of preeclampsia increases. Women with a BMI of 35 have double the risk of developing preeclampsia, compared to those with a BMI of 25.

The baby has a higher risk of numerous complications. High birth weight, miscarriage, stillbirth, and birth defect rates all climb with the gestational carrier’s BMI.

Labor can be more difficult. Overweight surrogates tend to labor longer. Due to the larger size of the baby, there’s an increased risk for C-section, and there’s a higher chance there will be anesthesia complications or that the surrogate will hemorrhage.

How Do I Become a Surrogate with a High BMI?

The best way to lower your BMI is to consult with a physician to see whether or not you’re experiencing any problems that may be exaggerating your BMI, and for ways to get healthy quick! Some health conditions like early-stage diabetes may prevent you from being able to lower BMI effectively.

If nothing is holding you back from a health standpoint, you can always reach out to our team to speak with a surrogate for a consult or for words of motivation!  We even have surrogacy support groups to help foster a healthy community for past, present and future surrogates!

Interested in learning more about surrogacy at Hellobaby Surrogacy? Check out our parents page for information about becoming a parent through surrogacy or our surrogate page to learn about becoming a surrogate! You can also follow along on our Facebook and Twitter as we share updates, resources, and client stories daily!

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