Surrogacy Within the Family
If you're having trouble trying to conceive and carry a pregnancy, and a close friend or family member offers to be a surrogate, it can be a dream come true. Not only can it mean thousands of dollars in agency fees saved, but it can also strengthen or create new bonds between you and the special person who becomes your surrogate. However, because of the close bonds that already exist between you and a potential family surrogate, this can lead to a more complicated situation than having an agency surrogate. Here are some things you may want to consider if someone you know and love offers to be a surrogate:
- What role will the surrogate mother play in the child's life? Will she feel she has a special bond or relationship with the child? How do the intended parents feel about this?
- How do both parties feel about issues regarding prenatal care? What will both parties do in the event of a disagreement?
- What will you do if there are serious disagreements regarding child rearing after the birth?
- What safeguards can you use to ensure the well-being of your relationship with the surrogate mother during and after the surrogacy process?
When surrogacy comes from within the family or a close circle of friends, it can be tempting to keep things casual. However there are several important steps you need to take when dealing with a surrogate whom you are already close to:
- Obtain legal representation - a lawyer will be able to inform all parties of the legal processes involved and review the agreement keeping every one's best interests in mind
- Sign a contract - outlining the terms of the surrogacy outlined in clear detail
- Have the surrogate undergo physical and psychological evaluation - an independent assessment can help the surrogate take a careful look at whether this is the best choice for all involved
- Settle money matters - though the surrogate may be doing this as an act of love, she will encounter out-of-pocket expenses and the intended parents may be uncomfortable not compensating her
- Undergo counseling - counseling will help both parties voice their expectations and concerns and explore their motivations and how this may affect their relationship. All unresolved family or relationship issues should be resolved before surrogacy is attempted
It may feel weird to prepare a contract, obtain legal representation, or put your friend or family member through psychological evaluation, but though you may fully trust this person, no one knows what emotions and complications may surface later. It is best for both sides to be prepared and have the terms of the surrogacy clearly laid out. Both parties will feel more comfortable in the long run if precautionary steps are taken to outline exactly what's expected.
All terms of the surrogacy should be clearly recorded and motivations openly discussed. Make sure to keep the lines of communication open with your family surrogate and recognize that this a life - and relationship - changing decision on both sides and it should be treated as one. Surrogacy within the family has the potential to be a beautiful and meaningful experience if proper steps are taken to ensure the lines of communication are open and the terms are fully discussed.