Navigating Weight Management for Surrogacy: Weight Loss Drugs, Health, and Safe Practices

A woman runs, her silhouette states= phrases related to health, weight loss, and surrogacy

Becoming a surrogate is an amazing sacrifice to help others expand a family. While the screening process can be rigorous, becoming a surrogate all starts with the initial application! The application screens for surrogate requirements including emotional, mental, and physical fitness for what lies ahead.

While weight and body mass index (BMI) are critical parts of the approval process, let’s face it, these are concerns for many of us. A recent study by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) confirms a recent uptick in the request for weight loss medications so, it’s no surprise that it’s a hot topic for potential surrogates as well. 

Most surrogacy agencies and IVF clinics require a BMI of about 35 or less to qualify as a surrogate so how are applicants meeting the requirements? We recently had a conversation with Dr. Carrie Bedient, Reproductive Endocrinologist at Fertility Center of Las Vegas about weight loss medications and safe practices for surrogates and we’ll be covering the details in this blog post!

Weight Loss Drugs: A Potential Pitfall

Weight loss medications like semaglutide and Liraglutide (brand names Ozempic and Victoza) are becoming increasingly popular. They work by mimicking hormones that promote satiety (feeling full) and reducing appetite. While these drugs can be effective, Dr. Carrie Bedient, a leading fertility specialist, expresses caution regarding their use for surrogates.


“There’s limited data on the safety of these medications during pregnancy,” Dr. Bedient explains. “There needs to be more research done on this topic. The potential impact on fetal development is unknown.”

It is especially important to have open communication during the surrogacy process. Intended parents and agencies should inquire about any medications, including weight loss drugs, a potential surrogate might be taking.

Surrogates undergoing fertility cycles are recommended to explore natural weight management strategies alongside a qualified nutritionist. This can include mindful eating, portion control, and personalized exercise plans that accommodate hormonal changes.

Stress and the Hormonal Roller Coaster

Surrogacy carries a certain amount of uncertainty, which can contribute to stress for surrogates. Dr. Bedient emphasizes the link between stress and weight gain.

 “Stress hormones like cortisol can increase appetite and cravings- managing stress through relaxation techniques, open communication with intended parents, and seeking mental health support when needed is crucial.”

Understanding the Biological Impact

Dr. Bedient further sheds light on the biological side of the equation. 

“Hormonal changes during pregnancy, particularly an increase in progesterone, can significantly affect appetite and metabolism. This is completely normal, but it’s important to be self-aware and identify personal triggers.” 

She compares it to depression, where medication might address a biological imbalance.

Weight Loss Drugs & Pregnancy: An Open Question

While data on the effects of weight loss drugs like semaglutide on pregnancy is limited, manufacturers recommend stopping these medications at least two months prior to conception. Dr. Bedient offers a ray of hope: 

“Hormonal changes during pregnancy and postpartum can lead to mood improvements, potentially reducing cravings and aiding weight management naturally.” 

The Takeaway: A Holistic Approach

Lastly, we recommend that you take a holistic approach with your health and involve your local healthcare professionals. Weight management should combine physical and mental health strategies, with clear communication about medications throughout the process. BMI (Body Mass Index) cut-offs will be considered by surrogacy programs, but weight management strategies should prioritize healthy habits over quick fixes.

While weight loss drugs offer a tempting solution, their safety in pregnancy remains unclear. Open communication throughout the surrogacy process is essential to ensure both the well-being of the surrogate and a healthy pregnancy. More research on the interaction between weight loss drugs and pregnancy is needed to provide clearer guidelines for the future. If you have any questions or need further guidance, please reach out to us. We are happy to assist you in the process and provide you with guidance on your journey.