Becoming a surrogate for a friend or a family member is a wonderful and selfless thing to do. You might have seen your friend or family member struggle to become pregnant for months or years. All you really want is for them to have a child. They also may have asked you to become a surrogate for them. 

However, before doing so you should give it some serious thought. While you will be providing a priceless gift to them, it can permanently affect your relationship if you’re not fully prepared. The surrogacy process is complicated because of the legal, emotional and financial aspects associated with it. You should highly consider using a surrogacy agency to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. 

Before starting your journey as a surrogate for your friend or family member, there are some important things to consider. We’ve put together a list of things to think about before making your final decision to embark on this incredible journey. 

What are the surrogacy laws in my state?

Surrogacy laws do vary by state. Fortunately most of the surrogacy laws in the U.S. do not have any additional requirements for those surrogates who are related to the Intended Parents.  As long as you and the Intended Parents are both committed to the surrogacy process, your ability to complete a surrogacy journey in your state will not be impacted by your relationship. You will also not be the child’s legal mother, so you won’t have to worry about parental responsibilities once the child is born. To fully understand the legal implications, you should speak with an attorney who specializes in reproductive law before becoming a surrogate for a friend or family member.

Am I prepared for the challenges of the surrogacy process?

It is incredibly humbling to be asked to be a surrogate for a friend or family member, but it is also a huge commitment. The process usually takes at least a year between the screenings, medications, legal procedures and pregnancy before the surrogacy process is finally completed. 

Most of the surrogacy process, is usually the same whether you’re a surrogate for a friend, close relative or a complete stranger.  The only difference is that you won’t have to wait to be matched. It’s best to use an agency, such as Physician’s Surrogacy, to ensure all of the necessary steps are complete and the process goes smoothly.  

Surrogacy is an emotionally and physically demanding process for you and the Intended Parents.  You have the benefit of a strong relationship with the Intended Parents from the beginning. Before committing to the process, both parties should speak with a professional and learn more about what all will be required of you during this journey.

Keep in mind that the surrogacy process will test your relationship like it’s never been tested before. If it’s your sibling that’s asking you to be their surrogate, old feelings of sibling rivalry can come back. They will be incredibly grateful to you, however there may be feelings of jealousy that they’re not able to have a child on their own. The dynamic of your relationship may also change. You will now be the surrogate mother and they will be the Intended Parents. However, you should not be pressured into doing anything you’re not comfortable with just because you have a close relationship. 

In addition to the emotional aspects of the surrogacy process, there are other requirements as well.  You will have to go through an extensive screening process before your journey can even begin. This includes a medical records review, medical screening, psychological evaluation, and background check. Once you’ve completed the screening process, you will sign a legal agreement and begin the IVF process.

If you are using the eggs of the intended mother, you will both undergo fertility treatment at the same time to ensure that your cycles are in sync. This will include self-injectable medications. For the intended mother, the medications will be used to stimulate her ovaries to develop mature eggs for fertilization. You will be taking medications to prepare your uterine lining for the embryo transfer. 

Once the eggs are retrieved and fertilized, you will undergo an embryo transfer. Once the embryo has successfully implanted and a pregnancy is confirmed you will continue to be closely monitored during the remainder of the pregnancy. 

Should I go with a surrogacy agency or independently?

Women who have decided to become a surrogate for a friend or a family member have already found their Intended Parent match. It is usually common that they don’t see the need for the assistance of a surrogacy agency. However, the benefits of a surrogacy agency are much more than just matching the surrogate and the Intended Parents, especially if you are going through the surrogacy process for the first time.

If you decide to go through the surrogacy process without an agency, you and the Intended Parents will be responsible for all the steps. This includes all the coordination between the doctors, attorneys and the hospital. It can be more difficult than you anticipate. Many surrogates and Intended Parents find the guidance that a surrogacy agency provides allows them to focus on the most important things – staying healthy. A surrogacy agency also provides the necessary mediation required for all aspects of the surrogacy journey, which you might feel uncomfortable discussing with your Intended Parents (friend or family member). Many agencies, such as Physician’s Surrogacy, will also provide an attorney which can save both parties time and money. 

Do I get financial compensation from my friend or family member?

Sometimes, a woman may feel uncomfortable taking money from a friend or a family member. The Intended Parents may see it as an advantage to use a family member or friend since they won’t have to pay an agency fee. You may want to be a surrogate for them altruistically at first, but it’s important to consider all the pros and cons.  

It’s normal to feel awkward about receiving compensation, but it may help prevent further complications. You might not understand the commitments of the surrogacy process until you’ve actually started it, and you might regret your choice to decline compensation. It is also possible that you may even feel taken advantage of because of the sacrifice you are making.  On the other hand, the Intended Parents may feel in debt to you. This might lead to a feeling of discomfort and guilt that can complicate your relationship.

Before you and the Intended Parents decide to go ahead with altruistic surrogacy, you should consider consulting an attorney.  They can help you agree on the compensation amount that you are both comfortable with with. This will  avoid any future discomfort. 

Do you clearly understand the unique circumstances of being a surrogate for a friend
or family member?

In addition to the compensation, there are some other things to consider when being a surrogate for a friend or family member.

You need to understand that your existing relationship will not remain the same after the surrogacy process. That’s because it is an intimate and life-changing process.  You will be forever bonded by this shared experience.

Even though you have a close relationship with the Intended Parents, you will be required to set clear boundaries with them.  Since you have a close relationship, the Intended Parents may demand things that you are not comfortable with, but you have the right to continue with your regular life. Honest communication is important to ensure that you don’t feel like your privacy is being encroached upon.

It is also important for you to realize any potential risks before starting the surrogacy process. A relationship can quickly become complicated and damaged if you don’t take the proper steps. 

The best way to achieve this is by working with a surrogacy agency.  With professional help, you can understand the challenges ahead of time and get support with difficulties that you may encounter. A surrogacy agency can not only ensure a positive surrogacy experience, but they will also help you maintain a healthy relationship with your loved one.

Remember, you shouldn’t commit to the surrogacy process until you’re ready, no matter what your relationship is with the Intended Parents.  If you and your friend or family member are prepared to take the next step, then you can call us at 858-342-3327 or visit us www.physicianssurrogacy.com to speak with a member of our team.